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Blog Entries posted by Sazerac

  1. Sazerac
    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.
  2. Sazerac

    Simple Guide To Freedom
    In celebration of my Six Years of Freedom, I wrote this little piece,
    now at seven years I re-visit my commitment to NOPE.
      Sazerac's Simple Guide To Freedom
    Desire:   You must want to quit more than you want to smoke
    Decision:  Make the decision to live life without Nicotine. 
    Commitment:  Commit wholeheartedly to live without Nicotine  and intend on standing by your resolve.
    Choice:    Choose to never smoke again, EVER.  This choice will empower you in many, many ways.
      “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Education * 
    Thanks to Joel Spitzer, this site and lurking around the sphere, 
    I am still learning everything I can about Nicotine Addiction.
    Information is Big Power and I feel sufficiently armed to maintain my quit.
    Changing Focus.
    It took some doing but, s l o w l y, when junkie thoughts would drag me down, 
    I began to train myself to look at something beautiful or think of beauty in some way.
    This retrained my brain and also gave me a bump of endorphins.
    I use this technique during any moments of distress or discomfort.
    These are not nicotine related anymore, just moments of life.
    The concept of H.A.L.T. *
    (are you Hungry (thirsty), Angry (emotional), Lonesome (bored), Tired)
    Nine times out of ten, smokey thoughts weren't about nicotine at all,
    it was my body (poor thing) hollering at me to do something life sustaining for it.
    Now, the signals are very clear and not related to nicotine in any way.
    I also want to share the benefits of Breath.  Deep, calming breaths of Oxygen.
    An elixir to sharpen and focus your mind away from the patterns of addiction.  
    Rewards *
    Not only does rewarding yourself help re-wire your brain receptors,
    treating yourself well and being as kind to yourself makes life nice.
    A little spoiling goes a long way,  especially during rugged transitions of any kind.
    Quitting smoking has taught me much about myself and the human condition.
    The truth and honesty involved in making and keeping a commitment to myself has been profound.
    I know myself so much better.  I have exchanged an empty bravado for an inner trust and knowledge.
    I am grateful to everybody here, your stories, your triumphs and your lapses, too.
    ALL have helped me understand the hideousness of nicotine addiction
    and the Power of Choice, the Preciousness of Freedom.
    I am so proud to be part of this community.
    Y'all are beautiful nicotine free creatures, my friends.
    * Joel Spitzer's Quit Smoking Library
    * Riffing On H.A.L.T.
    * The Significance of Rewards
    To anyone beginning their journey, I would recommend this thread,
        10 Ways To Effectively Use This Forum To Stop Using Nicotine
  3. Sazerac
    I quit almost seven years ago
    and have become an advocate of Cold Turkey
    but, believe me,
    I support and encourage everybody in their precious quits.
    Any Quit Is A Good Quit.
    Seven years ago (and still seek today) I sought information
    (in a galaxy of  Misinformation)
    and was dismayed after googling around
    finding numerous instances of 'responsible experts'
    recommending to  NOT quit cold turkey.
    Health professionals are quick to prescribe NRT's which actually have higher failure rates than a Cold Turkey quit.
    What kind of idiotic advise is that ?
    Is this more Big Tobacco poisoning minds ?
    Big Drug companies pushing product ?
    Ignorance ?
    Then I found a great rap about this from our Friend, Joel Spitzer
    Quitting Cold Turkey was simple for me.  I considered it a personal challenge.

    No spending any more dosh on tobacco, vape or NRT.

    No schedule of tapering off.
    No teasing the addict that is me.

    It was clean.
    It was DONE.
    It didn't hurt.
    There were gruesome days, for true
    but,  pffttt...
    there will always be gruesome days about something or other.
    Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries, right ?
    I continue on this new fascinating adventure.
    Not One Puff Ever.
    Here is another video and resource page that debunks the notion,
    Isn't Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Too Dangerous?
  4. Sazerac
    (filing post in blog)
    Some quitters may have trouble with the never/ever part in NOPE  (Not One Puff Ever) or NTAP (Never Take Another Puff)
    To tell you the truth,  in the nascence of my quit, I  bluffed my way through never/ever land.

    I remember @Cristóbal and @El Bandito 
    qualifying never/ever with the caveat,  'just for today',  and that was the truth too, it is about here and now.
    As days and weeks passed I absorbed the truth about addiction.

    Once I clearly understood addiction is forever  
    and brain receptors immediately re-connect  to addiction after one puff,   
    I embraced never/ever/forever.
    If addiction was in my brain for the long haul, well, dammit, I was too...and I was going to Win !
    Originally posted July 2016 
    NOPE ~Never/Ever/Forever (including comments)
    here is a group discussion 'How Is A Commitment To NOPE Essential For A Successful Quit'
    two vids from our friend, Joel Spitzer
  5. Sazerac
    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.
    I would like to include our friend, Joel Spitzers'
    Do You Want A Cigarette....H.A.L.T.
  6. Sazerac
    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.
  7. Sazerac
    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.
  8. Sazerac
    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. Sazerac
    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.

  10. Sazerac
    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$$.
  11. Sazerac
    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!"

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