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Living Nicotine FREE

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This is an old post of mine that still resonates with me and I thought to stash in in my blog so it is easy for me to locate.


Nicotine stimulates the reward path in our brain
and by replenishing ourselves with nicotine, we were rewarded with Dopamine.
Many times a day we went from the panic of,

'I've gotta have a smoke'


'Ahhh', the brief relief of satisfying addiction.


We were jerking our own chain every twenty minutes or so....for years.


When quitting nicotine, that dance of our reward system shuts down. 
It's a shock and we miss the consistent rewarding rush of dopamine.
Our brain doesn't understand where all the feel good stuff went

so, it is essential to amplify rewards, to jump start our natural pathways for the release of Dopamine.


The physical act of rewarding ourselves is crucial for the brain to access Dopamine.
It took me a moment to wrap my head around this,
The Physical Act of Rewarding Ourselves, Is Crucial For The Brain To Access Dopamine.


Our friend, bakon, is a big advocate of rewards, quite rightly, too.
Celebrate your first moments, days...your first weeks and months. The first year, the next...


This can take the form of exotic holidays,  paid with the ducats you were giving to Big Tobacco,
to simple gifts to yourself, a new book, a magazine, a film...
ooh ! plenty of excellent chocolate passed these lips
(dark chocolate, apple, almond, banana, strawberry, salmon, beet, watermelon and pumpkin seeds also stimulate Dopamine).


Choose activities that make you feel pampered like the perfect bath, an afternoon nap in freshly laundered sheets, a candle lit dinner.


Getting through difficulties and experiencing your triumphs are all opportunities to reward yourself.
Keep in mind, you are not spoiling yourself, you are re-training your brain to deliver dopamine as an honest reward.
Like quenching your thirst with a long tall cool glass of water.


Celebrate as the hours go by, while the body adjusts to the new normal.
A normal of being rewarded with dopamine but, naturally, of course,
the way it was before we allowed nicotine to control our reward system.


I remember the first day that I forgot to think about smoking or not smoking,
wow ! this is what being nicotine free feels like !
I was so happy and celebrated by purchasing a small tree,
a Sweet Viburnum full of blossoms, a living reminder of my freedom.


My continuing reward is the luscious freedom I appreciate every single day.
I am in better health and free-er in spirit...
Tell me what your rewards have been, my nicotine free friends, what are your rewards now ?


p.s.  Along with Dopamine, we can hack into our other happy chemicals to improve the quality of our lives.

All are accessible through Meditation;  taking time for slow, measured breathing.  letting thoughts slip away.
Exercise and laughter induce the release of Endorphins, 
Oxytocin flows with orgasm, giving/receiving gifts.

Serotonin gets you high when sitting in the sun, hanging with friends and by reflecting on your accomplishments.




Three years ago, I quit smoking on a whim which quickly grew into a personal challenge to myself.

A trip out West, where cigarette smoking made you an instant pariah,

an aeroplane coughing fit and a horrible cold precipitated this life changing decision.

I quit Cold Turkey not wanting to mess about with quacks or, spend dosh on NRT's.


My ignorance about nicotine addiction was absolute, in fact,

I likely didn't 'believe' in addiction or some such denial tactic.

Although, while in California, I joked, 'I'm going outside to shoot up' when taking smoke breaks

and the ever handy/ever ready e-cig led me to vaguely acknowledge a problem with nicotine.


Possibly, the intermittent change of delivery systems pushed me to think a little.

It certainly jacked up my nicotine levels.

But, denial was my running partner and cigarettes were crucial to my personal identity

or, so I thought.

I smoked. Everywhere. All the time. For upwards of 45 years...a staggering amount of time.


24 hours into my 'whim', my search for information began online.

I had no idea what to expect and soon learned horrifying truths.

Watching terrifying movies about big tobacco stirred up my anger.

I saw heartbreaking films about tobacco's slow and lurid torment

and was encouraged by writings and videos from Alan Carr and Joel Spitzer.

Reading personal testimonial threads of success or challenge strengthened my resolve

and I studied addiction till my eyes bled.


Denial no longer comforted me as the truth seeped in. I was a nicotine addict.

Daily, I would count my cigarette money, mark time in a minutely obsessive way

and write short updates of my mood on a calendar.

Insane, Terrible, Crazy Bad, Awfully Horrible, Crap, Miserable persisted the first week.

I slept as much as possible.

Often, a swirl of mental anguish enveloped me but, it passed.

I ate Satsumas.


Facing the truth of my Addiction, the quit gathered momentum.

I remembered how to breathe !

Oxygen was now my drug of choice. It was startlingly refreshing. It sharpened my mind.

It calmed me down.

During craves or taking breaks I breathed handfuls of conscious breaths.


Admittedly, there were gruesome moments.

'FREE YOUR HEAD', I would growl, spitting Fire and sucking air through a cinnamon stick.

There were primal screaming showers, squeezing the last drops of hot water from the tap.

It was a fight for Freedom and I wasn't turning back.


Then, miraculously it seemed, days on the calendar were left blank.

I was just getting on with my new life.

Embrace The Suck, I learned from our friend, Sarge.


Day 10, 'Slightly Not Terrible'

Day 14, 'Rough but Bearable, Satsumas ! '

Day 20, 'Better'

There were some dips.

Day 25, 'Ugly not Terrible'

Then there was just the count of days and accumulated dosh.

Day 40, 'Strong urges, got busy moving furniture around'

Day 50, 'Hard'

Day 70, 'Better and Better' was the last entry.


In retrospect,

70 days was an incredibly short time to Free My Head

from an addiction that lasted 40 some odd YEARS.

That is incredible value for time/discomfort vs. a whole new life of Freedom.

I also had about $600 cash for my 'trouble'. My habitual cough disappeared.


As the months crept by, craves disappeared or became trivial aggravations,

triggers became unimportant.

No, that is wrong.

Triggers and craves were very important

because they reminded me that I was hungry or thirsty, emotional or, tired or...something.


This wasn't about nicotine anymore.

This was my body trying to contact me,

an important communication that had always been pacified by sticking a cigarette in my mouth.

H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonesome, Tired)

became a guide to listening to what my body/spirit required.

This concept was life changing.


More quantum changes followed

~A growing inner confidence based on Truth instead of bravado.

~Denial has languished as a coping strategy and is transforming into a signal to investigate.

~Freedom from addiction became a reality to be nurtured and protected.

~Taking breaks with a few conscious breaths to center myself has become a habit

and helps maintain focus on the task at hand.

~My Compassion grows with this experience. I am a kinder human (well, mostly).


After 10 (?) months continuing to lurk and learn,

I decided to join The Quit Train and thank these fine people.

From my very first post, I felt welcomed and encouraged in my quit.

Today, on my Three Year Anniversary, I send a welcome to lurkers out there.


Thinking about quitting smoking ? Made the decision to quit ?

Starting your journey free from nicotine ?

Lurk to your hearts content and learn all you can about your addiction.

It is a colossal step to admit you have an addiction

and are ready to stop believing your own lies, the lies of an addict.

Take it !

This is a fortuitous opportunity to get right with yourself and a chance to save your own life.


Perhaps, you will be enticed to sign up and join this ragtag assortment of Nicotine Free people.

People who understand the struggle with nefarious nicotine and

are interested in helping others succeed in conquering this addiction.

Becoming a member will help keep you accountable and also be of service to others,

simply by your shared experience.


To Everyone here on QTrain, successful quitters with years under their belts

and sparkling, shiny, brand new quitters,

all of you continue to help solidify my freedom from the slavery of nicotine.

There are not many gifts greater than this and I am ever grateful.

Thank you so much.





9 (now 10) Ways To Use This Forum To Help Yourself and Others Quit Smoking

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


1. Learn about Nicotine Addiction

~Watch Joel Spitzer Videos HERE

~Read Allan Carr's, 'Easy Way To Quit Smoking' HERE

~Browse through THESE pinned QTrain threads

and other threads filled with our quitting testimonies

~Watch THESE Big Tobacco Documentaries


2. Know You Are Not Alone In Fighting Nicotine Addiction.


3. Start a thread HERE to Introduce Yourself


4. Get a TICKER to monitor your Success


5. Start a BLOG to your document your journey and provide a reference for you and others.


6. Start Threads about any Challenges you are facing AND any Successes you are celebrating


7. Post Frequently

~ Post on other's threads to support quitters on their journey

~ Post an SOS if you hit a wall or if you are close


~ Post a Pre-Response to your own SOS to remind yourself why you Quit.


~Post in The Lounge for fun and distraction and start new threads.


8. Commit daily to NOPE.

~This helps you stay accountable to yourself

and a daily reminder that just One Puff will re-awaken addiction.


9. Add your quit date to our Calendar


10. Commit to an active year on the Board to insure a solid quit. HERE



Please, QTrain, add what you will to this list !



"...the only thing I will add.....

All roads lead to Rome...cold Turkey is not for everyone... There are patches ,gum,tablets...

As long as you don't smoke ...nicotine is a poison....

It's a drug...you have to fight for your freedom..."



"... I believe that becoming active in this forum and The Other Place helped me remain a nonsmoker. It was my #1 quitting tool

After you quit and come by everyday, you start to get attached to the forum. You will not want to let everyone down so if you are tempted,

it may just give you the pause you need to get over the urge. "




"...I recommend watching 3 of Joel´s videos every day, and to spend at least a few minutes every day here, twice a day,

reading any material that may be of interest to you.

The amount of time you invest in yourself and your quit in the beginning,

is proportional to the degree of understanding the process of quitting smoking and general happiness that you will have as a non-smoker"



"...You need to commit to a year coming here. And I will add you need to be active for that year. Post. Socializing and helping others"


Commit To A Year HERE


Nicole Diver


"...Staying active is critical because you are held accountable to your new online quit fam.

Not so easy to give up and think no one will notice then.

Your life is literally what's at stake. Plus it's fun!"


Please, Take Your LIVES Seriously


In 'real' life and here on the QTrain, I see people being careless

about their lives and their quit,

like they have all the time in the world !

'I'll quit next week, maybe tomorrow, I'll quit again sometime'.


Are they not understanding how dangerous smoking is ?

It's a friggin' Slow Suicide !

The ramifications are Horrible.

This is no joke.

Ask our beautiful friend, Doreen !


I, too, used to be casual about quitting, casual about smoking.

so, it is no surprise to see others in Denial.

I wasn't listening to any kind of Sense, or Logic, or TRUTH, either.

Then, suddenly, I 'got it'

and thanks to the information here,

I educated myself about Nicotine Addiction.


After that, there was simply no other choice

except to Quit and be Quick about it !

I would no longer live as a Slave, or die as one either !


I wish I could give that Eureka moment to everybody struggling with addiction

but, I don't know what happened or why.

At a certain point, I listened and Understood

and I give this to you,

Understand your addiction, and Be Free of it.

Your Lives are Precious.


Darling, Darling,

Nicotine Free Creatures !


You may remember, back in January...

I stopped posting after falling backwards off my stoop, waking in hospital stitched and concussed.

All has been well for a while now (I won't be needing any more head wounds, fgs)

although, it did take longer to recover than expected, reading was especially tricky.

"...old age is no place for sissies" (B. Davis)

However, here we are together again and I am delighted... ney, jubilant, to announce a fete.


Hurry ! Hurry !

It's time for a Soiree, a Fais Do Do !

Put on your glad rags and dancing shoes, the Band is about to blow us away.

Somebody uncork those lovely French bottles of bubbly delish.


Please, won't you join me in celebrating

T W O Y E A R S of F R E E D O M !

(the crowd, whipped into a frenzy, yowl and cheer like lunatics ! )


Never, ever thought I would quit but, did so on a whim and still holding tight.

It feels like a done deal but,

I dare not court complacency and

Remain Ever Vigilant .

Addiction doesn't disappear...we have it forever

and never know when it will rear it's ugly head.

We only have Power over it and Choice.


I cannot imagine re-introducing myself to the Slavery of Nicotine,

I know too much now.

For sure, understanding that 'one's too many and a hundred ain't enough'

helps to keep me gloriously Free


the freedom really is Glorious, innit.


In the early days, along with NOPE,

I chanted,

'free your head, Free Your Head, FREE YOUR HEAD !'

(often in saucier language).

I still do.


That was/is the biggest hurdle...

switching up the patterns, re-wiring my brain.

Exciting work.....Change.

As the wise ones say, 'It is a Journey'.

It isn't much about Nicotine anymore

but, the lessons learned are invaluable and applicable to a myriad of situations in my life.


I was thinking the other day about The Stockholm Syndrome

(where empathy is felt by captives toward captors),

reminiscent of nicotine addiction, eh ?

Your cheroot was your bestest friend.

Our constant companion, Nicotine.

I don't miss that Bastard.

That Liar, that stinking Thief !


I sure used to miss it.

Missed it every damn 20 minutes of my smoking life.

Why, we were inseparable for 45 years !



romantic notions about smoking are easily quelled by my Free-er mind

but, lemme tell you,

without the stash of information provided by QTrain,

my denial over addiction would have stayed perfectly intact


without Each and Every One of You,

sharing experience and support,

I would have failed to keep my quit.

Of this, I have no doubt.


Y'all are often in my thoughts,

I am So proud of everyone gaining their own Freedom

and sincerely appreciative of all the good work here.

Thank You, one and all.

I Thank you So much.





Riffing on H. A. L. T




I have read about the acronym, H A L T,

in recovery paraphernalia

and have used it to a great degree of success

in changing my patterns

from a nicotine addict to a Free person.



Having a Crave ?

H. A. L. T.


Are you

Hungry - Thirsty - need a deep breath of Oxygen ?

Angry - Happy - Emotional ?

Lonesome - Bored ?

Tired ?



In many, many instances, when I would reach for a smoke,

my poor body was actually trying to alert me that it needed attention in some way.

My addiction silenced these natural signals.



I still catch myself these days...no, it is no longer a crave,

it is my body hollering for water or food

or something it really needs !

Now, groovin' in my new freedom,

when these signals come up,

my first thought may still be,

'Oh cigarette, dammit'

However, it is followed immediately by,

'No, not smokes...you're Hungry, baby !'

or, you're thirsty

or, you need to go sit outside and take a big gulp of oxygen and figure out what your body or spirit requires.



The piracy that nicotine practiced is still mind-boggling to me.

Allowing nicotine to take over my basic human needs of sustenance and comfort was a grave error on my part.

I am grateful my body is so forgiving .

I am grateful to be free.

Free and learning how to read my body's signals and remembering how to take good care of it.



So, next time you have what you assume to be a Nic fit,

have a think...what is your body really telling you ?

It won't be hard to figure out.


For me it has been obvious and I have to wonder,

how could I have neglected my body for so long ?

It is a miracle it survived.


Lifetime of Addiction


Lifetime of Addiction


I didn't want to hear this

but, I am now facing this truth.

Nicotine Addiction doesn't go away.

You can put it to sleep.

You can even put it into deep deep and deeper sleep for years !

but, it will awaken the moment you take one puff.

One Puff.


This is for your whole life.

Mind boggling, huh !?


This was the choice you likely didn't even know you were making

all those years ago when you started smoking,

I didn't understand the ramifications for sure.

But, it is the truth.

You will always need to be cognizant of your addiction

even when smoking is a vague memory,

because the moment you take a puff,

the moment you take One Bloomin' PUFF,

That's it !

It's all over and your enslavement will begin, again.


The tenacity !

but, you need to understand,

Nicotine is not as tenacious as You and Your Will.

You can quit. I know you can.

I quit and I am not a special snowflake,

I am a Nicotine Addict, just like you.


I have great resentment about my Nicotine Addiction.

Damn....I didn't know it would be so invasive.

I didn't know it was going to be a lifetime relationship.

I am so angry about this

but, it is a good anger.

It is a righteous anger.

It is an anger that will fuel my commitment to NOPE.

Not One Puff EVER.


Copping to the 'forever' part is a cold hard reality of the addiction.

At some point, I had to quit fooling myself and accept it.

It isn't just for today.

It must be forever.

If it isn't...I will continue to enslave myself.


Some feel their addiction is so strong they cannot quit,

This is wrong.

You have the power.

You always have the power to quit and you always have the power to stay quit.


Make the commitment to NOPE !

As our friend, Sarge, says, 'Easy Peasy'.

Easy ! not complicated ! This is not Rocket Science.

If you make that commitment to NOPE...you will not fail.

The simplicity of it ! The Beauty of it !

Not One Puff Ever.

Do it.

You won't regret it.


Have A Listen to Tex Williams, 'Smoke, Smoke, Smoke' , won't you ?




If I was ever without a cigarette between my fingers,

you would find one dangling from my lips since 1969 (?).

I smoked stogies I rolled mostly,

until I was working as a Deck Hand in the Gulf of Mexico which made rolling problematic.

I smoked tailor-mades, an occasional cigar.

I smoked snipes and dog ends.

I smoked walking, talking, bathing.

I work from Home and You know I smoked Inside.

I smoked cooking, cleaning.

I smoked on my stoop and in my courtyard,

I smoked in bed, you know.

I always smoked on the phone.

I smoked thinking and planning.

I smoked deciding which way to turn.

I drank at a smoking bar.

I smoked E-Cigs too, at the end there, just to wank up my nicotine.

Loved me that nicotine, baby.

(what Joy to 'smoke' in health food stores !)

I even smoked in Mill Valley, CA, where it is

Illegal to Smoke...OUTSIDE.


And then, last October, I quit on a whim.

Just to see what I was made of

(other than rank nicotine).

It was minute by minute

then hour by hour,

day by day.

You get the picture,

and my resolve HELD.


Now, at Ten months and change,

craves are strange little thought bubbles that don't belong to me,


when I try to paint.

That is what I 'do' and it is being a real bugger.


What if I can't paint without that junk ?

It feels so weird to hold a brush without a smoke.

Plenty of Fear (oh, JOY) to shut down

on this last (or current) no-smoking snafu.

I will buck up, quit my special snowflake whining and just get on with it FGS.

This week, I will.

Yep, this week.


Thank you for listening, and feel free to Kick My A$$.


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QuitTrain®, a quit smoking support community, was created by former smokers who have a deep desire to help people quit smoking and to help keep those quits intact.  This place should be a safe haven to escape the daily grind and focus on protecting our quits.  We don't believe that there is a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to quitting smoking.  Each of us has our own unique set of circumstances which contributes to how we go about quitting and more importantly, how we keep our quits.

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