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Brief description: Old enough to know better, young enough to want to do it again.


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Chronological Elder's List

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The info screen says I've been a member since 2009.  I came on the site then but didn't stay, didn't quit.    I've thought so many times about quitting, done a few quits with the longest being 9 months.   Blamed that relapse on my sister because she broke her hip (the addictive brain/reasoning doesn't work well).  This time I feel different about quitting.   It doesn't feel like I'm giving up something, it feels like I'm getting something.

August 5, 2013.  That is the day of my forever quit. 

About me?   Well, I'm old enough that I am going to semi-retire (work 2 days per week) starting in October, 2013.   I have 2 grown sons.  I have 2 older sisters.  I have 2 cats.  I'm passionate about my work, love mystery books (Patterson, Kellerman, etc.) that I "read" via audio books when I'm in the car.  Oh, I also am LOVING  my Ipad and have now become addicted to Candy Crush Saga and a few other games.   At some point I may have to find a support site for that but it is helping me get through my addiction to nicotine.

I give all the glory for my work, any successes I may have to God and prayer.  I have alot of people praying for me right now and that is where I feel the strength.  I also am finding strength, information and support from this site.  I hope I can offer some of that to others when I get past the newbie stage.

9/4/13    30 days today!!    When I started this I knew I "wanted" to "try" to quit.  I had such a big fear of failure (again).  I said that in one of my first blogs and was promptly told that fear would be my failure.    I took that to heart.

I also was told that in being afraid to tell people I was quitting I was leaving the door open to failing.    I took that to heart.   I started telling people I had quit and even posted to my Facebook wall when I had 1 week smoke free.

I've learned so much since I've been coming here each morning (and sometimes at night).     Words:    choose, not try-----decision----not giving anything up, but gaining---I'm worth so much more than a cigarette.     These are only a few of the pearls of wisdom that I've taken to heart.

So many great people.    I won't even begin to name them as I couldn't.     I learn something each and every time I come on here.   

I'm learning about myself too.    I teach clients everyday that feelings are feelings and ok to have, but I've always fought that concept myself.   I heard when I was little "what have you got to cry about?" so I learned not to cry.   If anger was shown it meant going back and shutting the door 10 times quietly or maybe getting the wrath of my parent.    So, I learned not to cry, not to feel anger.     I'm  learning now that I have those feelings and that smoking pushed them aside and down.   They are there.  They are real.    Now I'm trying to learn how to show and express them instead of going off by myself for a smoke.

I have supporters.   A woman in my building asks each time she sees me what day I'm on, tells me she is praying for me and gives me a hug.    Pastor at church asks me most Sundays and gives me a hug as he tells me he's proud of me.    Both my older sisters told me this last week that they are proud of me (and I don't smell anymore).    And more.     But the biggest pride is what I feel in myself.     With each day I wake up I can say "Today is day ____" and I feel proud.    Not the kind of pride like I could never fail.   That is a realization and why I need to be aware and conscious each moment.    But I don't minimize that I have worked on doing this and that is a source of pride.

No, smoking doesn't solve anything.   There is still stress, life goes on.   And today I am proof that I can go on without the crutch of a cigarette!

Four weeks, one day, 23 hours, 56 minutes and 49 seconds. 449 cigarettes not smoked, saving $154.11. Life saved: 1 day, 13 hours, 25 minutes.

9/17/13   Had a really tough day yesterday.   The craves hit me from the right, then hit me from the left, then smashed right down on my head.   And I don't know why.   There was no particular stress, there was no major conflict, there was no one blowing smoke in my face.   They just attacked.    I talked to myself, I distracted, I prayed and I came online and posted.   And I got tons of support and encouragement via responses, PM and message board.  It made me feel good that people cared and showed me that the EX is there when we need it.   Ultimately it is up to me to "keep em away from your face" but I know that when I reach out someone will be there.   So, if anyone is reading this I hope you remember what you have in you and what you have around you.    Just sayin'.

9/24/13     Today I am 50!!!   Days free that is.    When I started this back on day 1 I never would have thought I could get to 50 days!   But it's here and I'm not stopping now!  I've learned so much.  And I was so surprised that I didn't wind up curled in the fetal position my first few days, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.    I used the ecig with the Chantix at the beginning and when I had gone a whole day without the ecig I figured I would see if I could go 2 days.   Then it was 3, etc. etc.   Now it has been 2.5 weeks since I used it.    This week I've started cutting Chantix dose in half, only taking it in morning.    No noticeable difference.    Next week I'll cut it to 1/2 pill.      I'm happy.     Now I've got my eyes set on the 2 month marker.

10/5/13   2 months!!!  Feel good about this.   Want to share something I've been remembering lately:

A number of years ago God gave me a picture of what the healing journey looks like.  I’d like to share that with you today.
When we begin our journey we feel alone.  The path and everything around us seems dark and fearful.  We step timidly, uncertain of where or how to go.  We can see nothing around us.  Then we hear a voice ahead of us saying “look out for that hole”, “don’t trip on that big rock in front of you”.   We get a little more confidence to follow the directions of the unseen guide ahead of us.  
A ways down this path it seems to get a bit brighter or at least less dim.  In addition to the unseen, but encouraging, voice ahead of us we can make out figures walking alongside of us on this road.  We can’t touch them, we don’t really know them.   But they are giving occasional words of encouragement, “come on, we can do this”, “just follow the directions from ahead”, “I won’t give up if you don’t”.
Farther down the path it is brighter.   We can see the dips in the road, we can see obstructions and avoid them.   We feel more confidence.  And when we glance behind us we can see those who are struggling in their walk.  So we encourage “look out for that hole”, “don’t trip on that big rock in front of you”.
How long each stage of this journey takes varies for each of us.  But if we keep on the path we will make it to the next point towards healing.
This is The EX.  If we listen to those who have gone before and give encouragement to those who walk alongside we will not be alone and as fearful of where we are going.   When we have the EX-perience we will be able to help those that are coming after us.

11/13/13      100 days!!!   Triple Digit Club!!!  I really did not think I would make it to this day…of course I wanted to, but didn’t think I could.    I just went back and read what I’ve written on my profile page so far and then went back and read the first month of my journey.  I can read the “want to”, but unfortunately I know that woman who was writing those blogs and she did not have the confidence in herself or this process.    So, I set little goals….1 week!!! 30 days!!  2 months!!!   And then….and then….dare I????? Could I?????    OK, let’s chance it….let’s get to TDC and see how we feel!       Now I’m there!    And how do I feel?     I could list all the positive adjectives in the dictionary and it wouldn’t be enough!    I feel “powerful” today.   But I also feel grateful…for all the people on this site who have supported, encouraged, pushed and prodded me.    (In reading some of my early blogs most of the people are still close by, but it makes me sad to see that some are no longer around.)  I feel cautious…because I know that with my addiction I am only a tiny, baby-step away from smoking again if I don’t keep my guard up and my head on straight.   I feel convicted to reach out and help when I can, to offer that support, information and (yes, if needed) tough love.     And I feel committed to go farther along this road, to continue to learn, grow and expand the person that God intended me to be.      So, my next goal will be……6 months!    I will celebrate 6 months on February 5, 2014….and I’m hoping the reward I will give to myself will be attending the Orlando trip!          Big ((((hugs)))))) and love to all my EX family here……couldn’t have done it without you!    

Three months, one week, 20 hours, 55 minutes and 6 seconds. 1498 cigarettes not smoked, saving $513.30. Life saved: 5 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes.
I knew I wanted to quit.    But I knew I had tried several times and failed and didn’t want that to happen again.   So, I re-found this site (had come here before but wasn’t ready to commit).     “This time---this time I’ll do it right” is what I told myself.    So, I listened to what the people who had some time said in their blogs.   I listened to those that sounded confident (NOT COCKY) and followed their advice.    “Don’t use negative words”, “Believe in yourself”, “Want this more than you want anything else today”, “Keep them away from your face”.     
I got through Hell Week with no scars, Heck Week had a couple of rougher days than Hell Week but made it through that too.     Then, oh no……the dreaded NO MANS LAND!     Now I began to fear.   “You won’t have the same Atta Girls that you had at the beginning” (true), “You may feel confident and secure in your quit but craves will blindside you” (true), “Stay alert, awake and on guard” (true), “You’ll get through it”.  I HAVE!!!    I am at the end of NML.
I know that I still have to watch what I’m doing, I know I can’t take my smoke free days for granted, I know that some days I’m more fragile than others.    I read and LISTENED to Giulia’s blog yesterday.  Quit Maintenance.    She is 1 of the Elders that I believe and believe in.    I would like to list everyone here that has “been there” for me but that would be impossible.     I have met and connected with many people here and made some good friends.     
Look, there are some of my friends waiting for me just over the line….I see their hands stretched out to pull me into the light!!!
My next goal:     On 2/5/14 I will have 6 months smoke free!!!!    On 2/7/14 I will get on the big bird and fly to Orlando where I will get to meet some of you, put a face with a name, get hugs and also (Tommy promised) some Krispy Kremes!
I couldn’t have done this without so many of you!
Love you,     Sharon     130 days of Freedom!
2/5/14      I just keep saying to myself "I can't believe that I made it to 6 months!"  And I really can't.    I've quit for short times before but not this long.   When I first came on here I said that I had quit once for 9 months....well, after I got thinking about that I realized that I LIED....sorry, didn't mean to not be totally honest.    I thought it had been that long but then when I looked back and started figuring what was going on in my life at that time I realized that I hadn't gone 9 months, maybe 2 or 3.   It just felt like 9 months because I think I was doing some white knuckle approach to this.
This time I am informed.    I learned a lot about addiction before I actually quit....and then I come here to the EX every single day and pledge that I will not smoke for that day, I read the information that is posted from some of our local experts (Thomas and Dale to just name a couple) and I learn.....and it is working!
So, my advice to newbies and those who are not yet as far as I am:   learn about this, make a daily commitment to stay "clean" and in your journey of learning and staying clean....reach out to others.    Oh, get yourself in a firmer place than you were in your first few months....but then give  back.......pay it forward......collateral kindness......loving your neighbor on the EX!
And remember to keep (or develop) your sense of humor.....that will get you through those tough days.  
I've met some great people here that I consider to be true friends......

nurture those friendships as well.
OK, onward family......my next goal is 9 months (5-5-14)!     I hope everyone that celebrates with me today will be here to celebrate that day as well!
8/5/14      One Year Quit!

Good morning.     In my (blankity blank) number of years living on this earth there are some things that I never believed would come out of my mouth.     Now, I can’t tell you them because then they would be coming out of my mouth!        But there is one that I can share that I never, ever thought I would say:
I’ve been smoke free for 1 whole year!!!!!     That is 365 Days!     It is 12 months!    Or 8,760 hours!     Well, you get it!       1 whole year!!!!!
How did I do it?
I wish I could give some wise advice that all the newbies could read, take it and become smoke free from that moment on.    But I can’t
There are a number of things that helped me to get here.
First, sick and tired of being sick and tired!       Then, getting some education about what addiction to nicotine meant.       Then, finding this site (actually re-finding it, I joined in 2009 but didn’t do anything) and getting involved.        
I would like to repeat that………GETTING INVOLVED!!!!
I decided to succeed I would need to READ/BLOG/LISTEN to the Elders and the Wise Ones.    That is the same advice I always give.
And I have been on the Daily Pledge page each and every day to promise that I will not smoke for that day!      I don’t lie!
Blogging…….it works!
So, I give thanks to each and every one of you who have read and commented on my blogs.   I am grateful for those of you who have blogged and shared your victories and struggles and let me comment on them.
And I want to say I Love You to those of you who have taken me into your hearts, offered me encouragement and given me comfort during the painful times.   I won’t even begin to name names as I couldn’t get them all on here.      You know who you are……
I know I could not have done this without each and every one of you!
Thank you…….
One year, 7 hours, 17 minutes and 33 seconds. 5479 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,876.75. Life saved: 2 weeks, 5 days, 35 minutes.
8/5/15       2 year Anniversary!

In 2009 I came to this site because I was going to quit.     Just signed up …. And left.

In July of 2013 I came here and set my quit date for the very next day…..I got a message back from Admin to delay my quit date until I had read everything and followed the steps.          “Ha” I said to myself…..I don’t need to do that.      But then decided that my way of quitting hadn’t worked for 40+ years so maybe I should try something different.

I learned.      A lot!

I learned that I am an addict.     I learned that I can’t do “a little” smoking….It was going to be stopping totally OR continue and probably die from smoking like my dad.

I have learned so much.    I have met so many fantastic people.

When my 1st year anniversary was coming up I helped to form the “3rd Quarter 2013 Winners Circle”.      There were 24 people on that list!     Heard some of the older Elders say that was one of the biggest groups in a quarter they had seen.    All 24 of us made our 1 year anniversary!    

I just looked and there are still 16 of us that come on here (some more than others) and are still learning and supporting others.      

I’m proud of that number!

And I’m proud of myself……because here it is….my 2 year anniversary!!!

I never thought it would happen.

And do you know why it happened?    Because I came on here and followed a plan:     Read/Blog/Listen to the Elders and the Wise Ones.

I want to thank each and every one of you here on the EX who have helped me reach today.    I appreciate the “atta girl” and the “hang in sweetie” and who can forget the laughing and the “hanging out” down in Orlando.     I missed the Nashville but you can “bet your booty” that I will be in Las Vegas.

Every single one of you can make the 1 year, 2 year, etc….etc…..

My next goal:     THE    QUAD     SQUAD!!!

5/1/16          THE    QUAD       SQUAD!!!!!

How many times had I tried to quit smoking?       Gosh, I don’t know.   If I count the 1 day here or 1 day there…….maybe 50 times.     I know I thought about quitting a thousand or more times.      I did quit twice before.     For just a short time.       Then I would start and say “If Mary hadn’t broke her hip I wouldn’t have started…..” or some other stupid thing.        

I came to the site in 2009 and signed up.             Period.            Didn’t do any reading, writing or trying.

So, I kept smoking.    Prices going up.      Cough getting worse…..people would actually turn to look at me…..embarrassing!

Decided “enough is enough, there has to be SOME WAY!”      

So, came back to the EX mid July 2013.     I put in the very next day as my quit date and Admin came back and told me to not set the date for right then.    Suggested that I read the information, do the steps, read the blogs and (maybe) write some on my own.        I figured my way hadn’t worked so I would try this.

I read everything and I learned.     I learned that I was an addict.     It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough Will Power (!!!),  heck..I had known that for years.    I didn’t need will power, I needed to believe that if I gave in even ½ inch my addiction would be in full flare!       

I read the blogs, took what I needed and left the rest.     I looked at the people with time under their belt and wisdom in their words……they were called Elders……and I thought “THAT’S WHAT I WANT!!!”     

My quit day came.  August 5, 2013.     I started with baby steps and (look at me) I got through Hell Week, Heck Week, hit my 30 days…..then 90….then….well, you get it.     When I had 1 year I was so proud, my friends celebrated with me. 

I became active over time.       I pledged every single day that I would not smoke that day.     I reached out when I could.      I got to know some of the others and became real friends.    Even met some face to face in Orlando……I’ll never forget Tedy Joy shouting “Smorgy” across the lounge and Tommy having a box of Krispy Kremes for me.

Second Anniversary, still blogging, still pledging, now even conducting the Freedom Train.

THIS IS WHAT GOT ME TO TODAY!!!       KNOWING I’m and addict and that will never change.        KNOWING that I have to be involved and helping when I can.

Here I am:       Quad Squad!       Or as some have called it “Hitting the Comma!”

Thank you…….thank every single one of you for your words, your support, your love.

And guess what…….I’m staying……..I’ll be writing when I hit the Double Quad Squad!

3rd year Anniversary

From my profile page......day before I quit:

"This time I feel different about quitting.     It doesn't feel like I'm giving up something, it feels like I'm getting something."

Little did I know at that time that I would reach a 3 year anniversary!

I tell everyone that I finally "got" that I was an addict, not that I didn't have enough will power!

Also tell everyone that I owe any success in this to (first) God and then to my EX family.      I've learned so much from so many of you.

I've learned that it is not so important if my family is really supportive or not, my EXfamily "gets" it and teaches, encourages and loves me whether I'm acting silly, sad or sappy!

I thank each and every one of you for your help, your love and for "being there" when I've needed you.....sometimes even when I didn't know I needed you!

Newbies......you'll see the same thing if you give yourself and this site a chance!

OK, just gotta sing......Please join me!







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