A New Thinking Process to Get Started

I’ve decided to try something different. I always thought of quitting as such a difficult and negative process. Well, who would want to do that when you’re constantly thinking of it in such a hateful way? So I’ve decided to think of it in a positive manner. I mean, after all, it’s a good thing I’m quitting right? Read more

My Quit Date is Like… Right There.

It's day five since I posted about the bribery from my husband. As I sit here enjoying what will hopefully be one of my last cigarettes on my back patio, I wonder if I'm truly capable of doing this.

Sure, you put your mind to something, and anything is possible. However, even though quitting seems like a nearly impossible task, I've quit things before. Men, sports, jobs, drugs. The question is, can I successfully do it again? My house is a construction zone as we are redoing the kitchen, dining, and living areas, and I'm stressed. Is this something I want to take on right in the middle of this huge project? When my kids are on my last nerve, confined only to one family room (that's completely crowded with all of our kitchen and living room stuff), and their bedrooms?

Then again I'm just making excuses.

I know what I need to do. I need to quit cold turkey. I need to just bite the bullet and do it. I don't need the nicotine. What I need is to be around for my kids. So,

Step one: I've picked my quit date.

Step two: There's that matter of actually quitting. And I'm supposed to do that the day after tomorrow. Oh boy.

Step three: I need advice! For those reading this, do you have any tips on getting through the initial cravings? I think my next post will likely have to be all about how to get through cravings. Yep, time to do a little research, so I can be fully prepared!

Now for the return back to my house, if you want to even call it that. It's more like construction zone. Until next time.



*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

Baby Steps and Bribery

Day one of truly contemplating quitting smoking is happening. Right now. I am actually thinking I can finally do this, well, maybe. I've been smoking since I was seventeen. I'll be twenty-seven next month. Something about smoking for ten years just doesn't sit right with me, but let's be real, that's not what's motivating me to quit. And what actually is, surprised me. But before we get into that, let's get some history.

I'm me. Mother of two, wife of a firefighter, and adopted daughter from a stereotypical Brooklyn Jewish home (but we transplanted to south Florida when I was a kid). Long story short, I didn't know I was adopted until I was eighteen, and I didn't find out in a traditional way. I had a few rough years with rehab, bad guys and drugs, but got my crap together about six months before I met my now husband. In 2010 we had a little girl, and this last January we had a little boy. Then I got my tubes tied. One little me is enough. We are praying my son is like my husband.

Anyway, I obviously was smoking when I met my husband, though I told him I wanted to quit. Six ears later, he still periodically comes up with new ways to try to get me to kick the habit. Yes, I quit, for the most part, while I was pregnant (I am not proud nor ashamed to admit that). But this summer he actually may have found a way to get me to quit, or so I think.

A few days ago he came to me with a proposition. He said "Baby, What about if I give you $150 a month, that's all yours to spend on you, not the kids, me or anyone else, just you." Of course my eyes light up until I realize wait, this is his newest scheme to get me to quit. So of course I played dumb, and asked "I love this idea. What's the catch?" And then came the answer, "You quit smoking."

So here I am. Staring at my bitten fingernails, chipping toe polish, sad wardrobe, and thinking, $150 a month and I can get my nails done. Toes done. New clothes. Anything I want without having to worry it would bust our budget this month, or feel bad because I should get the kids yet another new fancy outfit. Money to pamper myself some, or go out or do whatever I want with and all I have to do is quit smoking. I finally have a carrot dangling in front of me to actually get me moving on the quitting process that I have honestly wanted to do for some time now.

So, I think I'll try it. I mean, my kids need a mom and I don't want to be on one of those "Quit Florida" commercials with a hole in my throat.

How Convenient Stores are Helpful in Eradicating Smoking

The law makes it so that many eager smokers aren’t able to obtain their nicotine. In its own way, closing off the bridge to the addiction is surely helping many individuals to quit or never smoke to begin with. I worked at Walgreens for about six months, and do you know what I loved? I loved that it is against the law to sell cigarettes to minors. It doesn’t stop there.

I was required to ask for ID if anyone requesting a package of cigarettes looked under the age of 35. What this means to a smoke-free advocate is that even minors who looked over 21, and would fool your average employee, wouldn’t be purchasing cigarettes from me. Young adults who looked to be in the early twenties, who normally don’t get carded in their local stores, and would leave behind or forget proper identification also wouldn’t be buying any cigs. They would often behave as if they thought it was way too much of a hassle to go to their cars, or they simply left their identification at home. At the end of every shift, many people went smoke free, unwillingly. It was, however, to their benefit, because smoking kills.

Preventing smoking is just as good as quitting smoking. Policies like the ones that Walgreens have, are inspiring. I believe that education and awareness are key to realizing bad choices. My customers may not have been satisfied with their Walgreens service, but they left well aware that for the time being they wouldn’t be taking a drag. This is very helpful for someone involved in a support group for smoking. All it takes is a second to reflect, and it may change and encourage a better way of living.

It Sucks to Get Sucked in to Sucking Butts!

A friend of mine started smoking when she was going through a difficult time in a relationship and with other family stress. It started out as only a "once-in-while" thing, just as a quick and easy stress reliever. At every point along the way, she thought she could quit any time she wanted.

At first, it was only a couple times a week. That lasted about a year, and since the relationship issue and other stressors weren't resolved, the stress was still there. What had started out as something she intended to be a temporary thing, was at that point something that had gone on for a year.

It's amazing how quickly time flies, and how fast suddenly a year can go by. Not only had she not quit, but now she was up to twice a day instead of twice a week, probably spurred on by the fact that the stressors in her life had increased rather than decreased. Now, something that was supposed to be something to easily quit at any point she wanted to, had become a harmful habit.

Fortunately, when she was called out on the fact that she was increasing her habit, and was smoking twice a day, she realized what she had done, and with a lot of effort, and support, she was able to quit at that point. But I always think of her when I think about the addictiveness of smoking. It's so easy to get sucked in, and it's a slippery slope.

Don't start! Don't let tobacco trick you into thinking that it's just temporary and that you can easily quit any time. While it's true that YOU CAN QUIT ANYTIME that you put your mind to it (in fact, that's precisely what you need to do), it very quickly turns into an addictive habit that is NOT EASY to stop any old time you decide you're done. It will most likely take a huge effort, thus sucking more time, thought, and energy away from the important things in your life.

So the moral of the story is, don't get sucked in, in the first place. Find support for dealing with the stresses in your life. Find healthy ways to combat stress. Don't be fooled into thinking that you are stronger than this addictive substance Because it's powerfully addictive, so don't get sucked in, because sucking butts sucks!



*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

The Day I Finally Bought an E-Cigarette and Read the Funny Manual

Today, I finally bought an e-cigarette. Since the website has a particular brand that it is promoting, I will not mention the name of the one I bought. I purchased the e-cigarette, along with my regular supply of Marlboro Lights Gold that I routinely buy every grocery day. The decision was impulsive, it's true. The thought process that lead me to it was simpler. It only cost 250 pesos or $6, more or less. But Danny, what about the health consequences?

I didn't do much research, as price and taste were the only things on my mind. Now before you criticize me, I'd like to tell you that the same thing is on my mind whenever I purchase my regular cigarettes. The same thought process subliminally courses its way from my head to my fingers which then reaches for my wallet. The formula was simple: A + T + Hq = Buy Affordable (A) + Taste (T) + Help me quit (Hq) =Buy.

 The sales lady didn't even do a good job of trying to sell it to me. “Sir, since you already opened it, you're already going to buy it,.” she said in a matter of fact way. I was like, “Ummm, okay. I just wanted to try it but okay.” It tasted like burning plastic. As an experienced smoker, this was my initial impression of it. I promptly told the sales lady my opinion. “Sir, that's because the butt of the cigarette is made of plastic.” I sometimes wish that I could do that trademark Elvis Presley smirk. (See "Pawnshop Chronicles", starring Brendan Frasier.)

I had my own, but it didn't quite have the same desired effect. She promptly got a bottle of some liquid, sprinkled it in the opened red cartridge, and gave it back to me. I tried it again. This time, it tasted like chocolate. What a trick.

Initial impressions: It had too many wires and stuff. Now it only has one set of wires that could be plugged in a USB port, but for me, that's too much. Okay, I guess it needs to be charged. The e-cigarette is as heavy as 10 real sticks. Now, I work a green collar job. As a gardener/farmer, I oftentimes carry a pack of cigarettes with me whenever I work. Sometimes you'd find me like a duck with a stick on its mouth squatting on the mud, puffing smoke like there's no tomorrow. Such an image would no longer apply now that I have my e-cigarette. I'd look far more sophisticated.

It makes a funny wheezing sound whenever I sip it. I don't know whether this is a feature or an advantage, but I certainly wouldn't want the person sitting next to me think that I'm on something. I could compare the sound it makes to my asthma inhaler. Come to think of it, maybe they should include a ring tone, so wenever I sip it, would play the Game of Thrones theme song or something. It doesn't make me feel like a dragon. I am a pretend dragon. One of my triggers are people. I smoke when I am around people who stress me out. That's my weird defense mechanism. The e-cigarette does not make me feel like I'm a dragon. Because of its weird wheezing sound, it makes me feel like an asthmatic.

I have to buy mosquito repellants. One of the weird reasons why I smoke while working on the garden is I have this strange belief that the smoke from my cigarettes repels mosquitoes. I don't know if it really does that or if it just makes the nerves of my skin dull, but for me it works that way. I doubt that the vapor from the e-cigarette would kill the mosquitoes. It does not provide me with that “artificial warmth”. Remember when I said that smoking makes me feel like a dragon? That's also because the heat of the cigarette makes me feel warm inside. The e-cigarette does not achieve this. But In all seriousness, I still like it. If my little experiment works and I am somehow weaned from real cigarettes, I'm hoping that I could finally quit both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The thing that's working for me right now is that whenever I feel that pull, I could just reach in my pocket and grab my handy dandy e-cigarette.


Read the ridiculously funny e-cigarette manual.

Yeah, it’s All That

I had been an off-and-on smoker for perhaps forty years. When I smoked, (and there were long periods when I didn't pick up), I smoked cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. I always had the idea that I could take them or leave them. That worked for awhile, but as the years stretched on, I felt that ability slipping away into serious addiction. Funny how addicts can rationalize, deny, intellectualize, and use every other manner of defense mechanism in order to protect their addiction. A friend had smoked heavily during pregnancy and as a result her baby was born prematurely. He was so small that my wedding ring fit over his small hand. It was a miracle that he even survived.

Was that enough to get me to reconsider my addiction? Hardly. I was still smoking even as I ran competitive 5 and 10k races. Certainly incongruent, if not insane in some small manner. I had heard that nicotine addiction could be harder to break than a stubborn crack habit. I watched as friends and relatives died of heart disease and lung cancer. Lovely people reduced by chronic pulmonary obstructive disease to a state of barely functioning as a result of smoking. I certainly had some motivation to quit then, didn't I? I'd quit for awhile and then go back for no good reason. Sound familiar? It was then I had the great fortune to be able to work with alcoholics, cocaine addicts, and crackheads. A good number of these addicts are helped by a twelve step program in which the main rule is to stay clean for 24 hours.

Those in AA have a motto: "One Day at a Time". I noted that there are a lot of differing methods people have used to quit smoking- hypnosis, nicotine lozenges, cold turkey. I tried the cold turkey method, but I also used the principles and actions of the 12 step program as my support group in order to break this sorrowful cycle. I can now state that I have been smoke free for 8 months and feel a renewal of spirit and energy, a sublime happiness. May you find the method that works for you, but do it now. Make a call to 1-800-QUIT, get a hypnosis session, talk with your doctor. You will be serenely happy that you finally got free.

Big Thank You to BH and the Community

Hello everyone!

To the breathinghappy.com people, the community and the readers, on behalf of my family we’d like to thank everyone!

With my breathinghappy.com earnings from writing, I was able to take my family out last July 25. We had a blast. It was Ally’s 9th birthday and they rode a carousel. Mommy rode the carousel too!  Read more