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"FILLING THE PAGES" by Eric (repost)


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#1 patti1953

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:17 PM

To all the newbies.... Trying to figure out what to do with yourself and all the extra time you have now since you do not smoke is a critical part of your quit journey.
Following is a post by Eric (a.k.a. ucanquit) called "FILLING THE PAGES".

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FILLING THE PAGES by Eric

A common topic a quitter might talk about since they quit smoking, is the fact that there seems to be void in their life now. Now that they're not smoking it feels as if the days have grown longer and they are unsure of how to fill this time. Sometimes this can actually put stress the new quitter, because this is so unfamiliar to them.

Cigarettes have been so deeply intertwined in their life for so long, that the new quitter is constantly being reminded that they no longer smoke just from everyday activities.

They may ask how do they unwind after work now that they don't smoke? How do they deal with stress, now that they don't smoke? How do they punctuate finishing a task now that they don't smoke?

For the smoker, that cigarette after finishing a task was like putting the period at the end of sentence. Now that they don't smoke, daily tasks can just feel like a long running sentence with no punctuation.

The cigarette was also like the smoker's pause button. If they needed to concentrate on doing something or were under a stressful situation. They would step back, smoke a cigarette and think about how to resolve the problem. Now that they don't smoke, there doesn't seem to be a pause button for the quitter. That magic button that says" Whoa give me a minute" is now gone. Now they are just left with the situation and a very unfamiliar way that they now have to deal with it without the cigarette.

One thing that should be pointed out though, is that we have lived our lives and dealt with stress DESPITE smoking, NOT because of it.

There was a fellow quitter that was talking about this and it was really stressing her out. She was having a hard time dealing with stress and everyday scenarios without smoking. She was getting discouraged about this and felt that her life just felt kind of empty since she quit. She felt that there was now a void in her life.

One thing she said though, that I thought was an interesting way to look at it, was that she said that since she quit smoking, was that she felt she now had to rewrite her life.

When I read this, for some reason it reminded me of someone writing a screenplay about the day in the life of a smoker. This is what it might say.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SMOKER.

Dear (anonymous)

I'm just making this up, but let's just say this is how your typical day when you smoked would look like.

You wake up. Smoke a cigarette. You get ready for work. Smoke a cigarette. You have breakfast. Smoke a cigarette. You get in your car and drive to work. Smoke a cigarette. You get to work. Smoke a cigarette before going inside. You go to coffee break at work. Smoke a cigarette. You go to lunch. Smoke a cigarette. You go to second break. Smoke a cigarette. Maybe something stressful happens at work. Sneak out and smoke a cigarette. After work, as you drive home, you smoke a cigarette. You get home and unwind. Smoke a cigarette. You cook dinner. Smoke a cigarette. After eating dinner. Smoke a cigarette. Have a glass of wine or beer and of course smoke a cigarette. Watch TV. Smoke a cigarette. Get ready for bed. Smoke a cigarette. Before going to bed. Smoke a cigarette.

Let's say that it took 5 pages to write the screenplay "In the daily life of (anonymous)."

Now that you don't smoke, you're not so much rewriting your daily life, but more of editing out a lot of useless dialog in your screenplay that isn't needed to tell the story.

The problem is that now after all that editing, what use to take 5 pages to tell the story, now only takes 3 pages. Now you still have 2 blank pages that you're carrying around with you and you don't know what to do with them. This can cause anxiety. You have been so used to writing your daily life with 5 pages that writing it with only having to use 3 pages feels like there is a void in the story.

Really take a look at the dialog that you edited though and put that down on the 2 remaining pages.

Here's what it would say: Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. etc, etc.

You can see how useless this dialog is. It doesn't even help tell your story and on it's own it makes no sense. It's just repeated blabber.

You have two choices now. You can either take these pages and just throw them away, because you no longer need them anymore. Or you can take these two remaining pages and add something to your story. Something that maybe you've wanted to add for sometime now, but just have never done it, because this addiction was taking up those two pages. These two pages are no longer being wasted on telling the story of your addiction. They are now yours to tell any story that you wish to tell.

It isn't so much that since you quit smoking, that there is a void in your life. It is more that smoking created that void, because it took away from you. That was YOUR time being wasted, it was NOT being filled. Now that you have freed yourself from cigarettes, don't think of it as leaving a hole in your life. Think of it as giving back the endless possibilities of living life as YOU again.

Also don't think that you need a cigarette to deal with life's stress.

It isn't that you were able to deal with stress better when you smoked. It's just that you've done it for so long that way, that you are having to relearn how to do it without cigarettes. It's new and unfamiliar. Smoking under stress was a combination of relieving withdrawal, but it also gave you a minute or two to reflect on what was causing the initial stress.

If you're under stress and where the times you would smoke a cigarette, what I would do is stop. Step back and give yourself a moment just like you would do when you smoked, but now breathe deeply, calm yourself and focus on what you need to do to alleviate what is causing the stress.

Don't feel that if you're under stress that you have to attack it head on because cigarettes are no longer there to buffer what it happening. You can very easily do this without smoking. You can step back and give yourself a moment to collect yourself and you can do it without cigarettes. They are a useless middleman and you know that cigarettes don't relieve stress. They only relieve withdrawal. They don't deserve that kind of credit.

You should be proud of yourself, because you have taken your pages back.

The pages are yours now. Fill them any way you choose

Eric
  • Beacon, SickofCigs9813, Kate18 and 4 others like this
Take care of you, Patti
Not One Puff since March 2, 2008

#2 SabrinaCasandra

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:00 PM

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Bookmarked! What a wonderful post to put in my tool box!
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“May your day be fashioned with joy, sprinkled with dreams, and touched by the miracle of love.”
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#3 Lynda Jacobs

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

Thank you so much, Patti, for this post. I'm on day 17, and yes, I'm at the state where I feel the void in my life.
Lynda
Quit Date: March 22, 2009

#4 AnneMarie09

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 12:07 AM

bump for sheila
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"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." ~ Dolly Parton
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Quit Date: 18th July, 2009.

#5 HCKX

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 03:50 PM

Love this!!!
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Heidi

#6 AndyB

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 02:58 PM

To be honest, I don't feel the way as above. I would smoke a cig and write a song. I would smoke a cigarette and mediatate for a few minutes.
These days, although I am happy with my lower nervousness, I am angry at my extra 10kgs that just happened within one week. I am not happy about not fitting my pants anymore. I only have two pairs to wear now. Two pairs of pants in my closet as I don't want to spend money buying more just to have weight disappear on me .... not happy that my oesophegus is coming out my throat and medication doesn't work so I need to go to a hospital and have somehing stuck down my throat ... I haven't written any poetry, haven't had my meditation time, haven't had any desire to practice my new clear voice in song ...

I don't feel optimistic like the author. I will keep my quit, but I am not happy at the side effects. It's a bit boring, too.
I feel that I used to fill the pages more then.

I am happier for not smoking, as it's a big deal. Just a bit deflated I guess.
I mean, I'd like to spend that extra 800 bucks I have down there on the counter, but, it's the same old s***, and I haven't got extra money, you know?
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From Nov 2nd '09
url=http://sincemylastcigarette.com/]Posted Image[/url]

#7 patti1953

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 03:23 PM

Hey Andy,
Congrats on your 82 days of freedom. Maybe the following article will fit you better. If you think you can or you think you can't, you are right. You CAN for sure.


BELIEVING IN THE CIGARETTE by ERIC (from the NEWBIE PACKAGE on the Main Board)

I used to believe that quitting smoking was the hardest thing that I have ever tried to do. I used to believe that I was a hopeless addict that would die a smoker.

I have tried to quit smoking so many times that I have lost count and every single failed attempt only added validity to what I already knew.... that quitting smoking was impossible.

It wasn't until I learned about nicotine addiction, that I realized something. It wasn't necassarily quitting smoking that was so hard to do. It was quitting believing in cigarettes that was hard to do.

See, I used to believe in the cigarette.

I used to believe that cigarettes kept me calm. The truth though, is that nicotine is a stimulant. Everytime I smoked a cigarette, it raised my hearbeat by about 20 beats more a minute. Smoking constricted my arteries and not only that, but the carbon monoxide from the cigarette was basically poisoning my blood's ability to carry oxygen. Creating an even greater strain on my heart. How could I be calm, when I was putting this kind of strain on my body over 40 times a day, everyday?

I used to believe that cigarettes relieved my stress. Little did I know that smoking created a lot of stress. The whole business of smoking is relieving an anxiety that the previous cigarette created.

After each cigarette that I smoked and the nicotine metabolized. Nicotine being able to fit my adrenaline locks, pumped adrenaline though my bloodstream leaving me with a slight fight or flight feeling. I was left with a heightened anxiety, an antsy feeling that I didn't like. My mind and body were being fooled into thinking that something was wrong, like I was in danger when in reality there was nothing wrong. My subconscious figured something out though. Smoking a cigarette would relieve that anxiety. Not knowing that it was being tricked and also looking out for my best interest. It would say " Smoke a cigarette and you'll feel better." So I would smoke a cigarette, relieve that anxiety and start the whole viscious cycle over again. The only stress I was relieving, was the stress that the previous cigarette created.

Not only that, but whenever I was under stress. It caused a physiological reaction that caused nicotine to get pulled from my bloodstream. So now was I not only under stress, I had a compounded problem of being in drug withdrawal. So I would smoke a cigarette, "feel better" and think "Oh, smoking helped me relieve some of my stress." The reality is though, it did nothing but relieve drug withdrawal. A compounded anxiety, that should have never been there in the first place. Nothing changed after smoking that cigarette. What ever caused my initial stress was still there. The only difference was that I had temporarily pacified the monkey on my back.

I used to believe that smoking made me happy. Sadly, smoking causes a form of depression. Sure, I can say that smoking releases dopamine, BUT that is only part of the story. Being the amazing machine that it is. My brain needed to regulate how much dopamine was being released. It couldn't regulate nicotine as it was a foreign substance(poison). So it had no other choice, but to turn down it's own sensitivity to releasing dopamine. My own natural neurotransmitters were being hijacked, forcing me to rely a lot more on the cigarette just to "feel good" or more accurately, feel nicotine normal. The truth was, I was happy DESPITE SMOKING and not because of it.

I used to believe that smoking was social. This makes me laugh now, because how can smoking be social? Was it social when I had to put my life on hold to put a stop to drug withdrawal? Was it social when I had to wash my hands, because I was embarassed about stinking like a cigarette? The only time that smoking was even remotely social was when I smoked around other smokers and that was because misery loves company.

I used to believe that cigarettes were the perfect companion to alcohol. Besides stress, this one was a doozy for me. Oh how I used to think, " If I only smoked when I drank. I would be a happy smoker." Even though this illusion was much craftier than a lot of the other ones. It was still an illusion.

The truth is that much like stress, alcohol created a physiological reaction that pulled nicotine out of my bloodstream at an accelerated rate. Unlike like stress though, whatever anxiety I was feeling from drug withdrawal was being masked by the intoxication from the alcohol. So even though I was relieving an accelerated drug withdrawal, I wasn't aware of it, because I wasn't feeling the anxiety that stress causes. I still love my beer and it sure tastes a lot better now that I don't have to chase it with a cigarette.

Whenever I quit smoking and saw people smoking. I used to believe that they got to smoke and I didn't. The truth is, Smokers HAVE to smoke to "feel normal". They HAVE to smoke to keep the anxieties of not smoking at bay. They HAVE to smoke keep the compounded problem of drug withdrawal from happening 20, 30,40 time plus a day. They do not GET to smoke. Thankfully I no longer HAVE to do that.

I no longer believe in the cigarettte. I used to. I used to belive that cigarettes did something for me. I know better now. They only DO TO ME.


Probably a quitter's biggest obstacle is fear and a lot of times that fear has a double edge sword. The fear of failure and the fear of success. We don't want to fail, because we want to finally rid ourselves of this addiction, BUT at the same time, if we succeed, that means that we will never "get" to smoke again.

Don't be afraid to quit smoking. Don't fear relapse. You can never relapse if you don't smoke and smoking again is aways YOUR choice, not some "Nicodemon's".

Don't be afraid to succeed either. Being successful doesn't mean that you'll never GET to smoke anymore. It means that you'll never HAVE to smoke again.

I read a quote in a book a while back that really stuck with me.

It said " Fear is only misguided faith."

Quit putting faith in cigarettes and you might be surprised how much easier quitting smoking can be.



Quitting smoking is a temporary adjustment, but it just that....TEMPORARY. FREEDOM IS FOREVER!!!

Be patient with yourself. This really is the greatest gift that you are giving yourself. Sometimes it just takes a little time to unwrap it.


Eric

I Freed myself 7/7/04


  • SickofCigs9813 and Maureen like this
Take care of you, Patti
Not One Puff since March 2, 2008

#8 AndyB

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:57 PM

I found that article hard to read. I got stopped on an incomplete sentence, "Being the amazing machine that it is". Continuing with it though there are some interesting tidbits. However, the writing is a bit stocatto and shouty for me, You HAVE to GET free! Now that I have extra hours I have more opportunity to savor our language. I should like for an article written in the old way, the telling of a story that lets you see the answer without it specifically telling you.
From Nov 2nd '09
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#9 slocum

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 10:48 PM

Staccato would be the correct spelling. :)
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#10 patti1953

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 10:50 PM

Maybe you could write your own quit smoking article, AB, and then share with the rest of the board.

Congrats on your quit !!! Keep it alive !!! Not One Puff !!!
Take care of you, Patti
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#11 jahausa

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:45 AM

I feel you. Sometimes I read these articles and I think, "what a load of propaganda, quitting smoking sucks." And I did also gain 8 pounds I don't need and am overweight for the first time in a decade, And I do feel bored.

But then I think clearly about it. I go to someplace I can't smoke, and I don't spend the entire time waiting until I can leave so I can smoke. I sit around and hours go by and I don't even think of smoking. Instead of wondering how I could have run through a whole carton - 200 freaking cigarettes - so quickly.

Quitting smoking has sucked for me. It's getting better too slowly for my impatient self. But I know I am winning, and I know I can go go hours without wanting a cig. And I love that freedom so much.

Embrace the freedom. It's so real.
Josh

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#12 Eric

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:21 PM

LOL well sorry about my writing. It's a take it or leave it type thing. I think that there was another person on the board who was a teacher that corrected my sentence structure and reposted it somewhere. Well anyways, sometime during school I have to take English, so maybe that will help. :D

And for the record no HAS to Get Freee. It is anyone's choice to either smoke or not smoke. But if they do make the decision to not smoke. It is not a gray area. It is back and white no smoking. My posts aren't about people having to do anything. But if the person made the choice to quit smoking, it is far more easier to swim with where the current goes than to try to swim against it, which will cause suffering.

The worst thing that a person could do is quit smoking and then sit there and wait for something to happen, because nothing will. Except the mind will start to wander and create all kinds of uncomfortable, depriving, emotional thoughts that can make quitting terrible. I know this from my own experience as this is how all my past quits were...miserable.

If we're pissed off about quitting, then that's what we'll experience, conflict, but if we accept it wit the good and the bad it makes quitting much easier.

Take care,

Eric
  • Beacon likes this
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

#13 soul

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:02 PM

I believe that all things happen for a reason. I might not know what the reason is for a while, but i must trust that all will be well in the end. Of course that belief does not spare me completely from feelings like frustration, fear, anger, etc. I still have to learn how to deal with those feelings, walk through them accept them, accept the situation and move on. If i were in your situation, i will do my best to believe that it is better to have gained the weight right now than to lose excessive weight due to the onset of cancer caused by smoking, a weight loss i might never recover from and no pants would ever fit me. As for the situation with the oesophagus, i rather have some minor intervention to correct an already existing damage than to have tongue/throat cancer and the horrendous treatements related to that condition. If i were unable to write poetry i would learn to cherish my silence, knowing that it is but a pause in my creativity.

All happens with a reason and i must learn to accept it and walk through it.

Pardon my English, it is not my mother tongue.
  • lizasaidwot likes this

I am a puff away from a pack a day!!


SOUL

 


#14 Sally

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:11 PM

[quote name="soul"] If i were in your situation, i will do my best to believe that it is better to have gained the weight right now than to lose excessive weight due to the onset of cancer caused by smoking, a weight loss i might never recover from and no pants would ever fit me.

Good point. I never thought of it this way. Tomorrow is the big day for me and due to slight weight gain in the past, it's a worry of mine. I keep trying to remind myself that my body has to adjust and it is only temporary. Your thought gives me more ammunition. Thanks.

#15 soul

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:52 PM

Gaining weight kept me in the past from the Freedom i am now experiencing as a non-smoker and a non-nicotine whatsoever user/abuser. I have had to come to the realization that the amount of pounds or kilos i will allow myself to put on when stopping smoking is really up to me. I knew and still know that there would be and there still are moments when i feel hungry and have an incredible need to fill in that void. It can have a physiological or psychological source. What matters is that i can chose to eat a saltine or a donut. an orange or a chocolate, a carrot or a saussage. I can chose to sit,fill in my my pity pot and stay there just as i can chose to sit, fill in my pitty pot, get up and flush.

Whatever weight gain i have experienced during my quit, i can chose to take it off by creating opportunities to do so or i can just keep on feeding a different demon.................

What is important for me to know is that i have the power to change. I have the power to be helped and to help others.

I am a puff away from a pack a day!!


SOUL

 


#16 AndyB

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:44 PM

LOL well sorry about my writing. It's a take it or leave it type thing. I think that there was another person on the board who was a teacher that corrected my sentence structure and reposted it somewhere. Well anyways, sometime during school I have to take English, so maybe that will help.

I think I am being a knob Eric. Sorry, Bro. You are a big help to many people here who are trying hard to remove their addiction. Thanks for that.
From Nov 2nd '09
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#17 Eric

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:31 PM

Don't even sweat it Andy, it's no big deal. Thanks for the apology though I do appreciate it and I think you may be right. Some of my posts could use a polishing, I was only half joking when I was talking about when I take my English class.

Eric
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

#18 patti1953

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 03:37 PM

BUMP

#19 patti1953

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 11:17 AM

How will you fill YOUR pages today :D
Take care of you, Patti
Not One Puff since March 2, 2008

#20 gwilliams184

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:58 AM

I love this!




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