17 September 2008

In Time

Plenty of time left to quit? Such thoughts are very likely to prove both deadly and wrong. Nicotine addiction ignorance costs half of all smokers an average of 13 years of life. Try to imagine nearly five millions tobacco victims each year. Imagine having a 50% chance of already knowing the cause of death that will appear on your death certificate.

Bryan started smoking at age thirteen. A 34 year-old Marlboro Light smoker, Bryan thought that because his mother still smoked that he had plenty of time left to quit. He was wrong. This is a photo of Bryan with his two year-old son, Bryan Jr. It was taken on March 29. The photo below was taken just 63 days later on June 3, the day Bryan died. It shows the aggressiveness of smoking induced small cell lung cancer. In Bryan's hands is a copy of the picture of him with his son.

In Time Quit Smoking

In Time Stop Smoking

Nicotine has physically rewired your brain growing millions of extra acetylcholine receptors in eleven different regions. Your mind is now de-sensitized to its own natural neuron-chemical flow. Quitting is a temporary journey of readjustment where you allow the time needed to restore natural sensitivities, where you break subconsciously conditioned links to smoking triggers and where you allow your conscious mind time to move beyond the years of smoking rationalizations you created in order to justify that next nicotine fix. When quitting there is no such thing as smoking just one. Like alcoholism, it is all or nothing.

Although your nicotine induced dopamine and adrenaline high reflects alert intoxication, chemical dependency upon nicotine is every bit as real, deep and permanent as alcoholism, crystal meth, or heroin addiction. Once hooked the remaining questions become, on which side of the bars will you spend the balance of life, what quality will your life have and how long will it last?

14 September 2008

Set Your Mind to Find Freedom

Set Your Mind to Find FreedomBe patient with yourself and allow for as much time as you need to heal from this addiction. However, there is important step in finding freedom from nicotine addiction that is just as important as practice and time. It involves your mind-set. I'm sure you've heard about people who still struggle years and years after quitting. They are the ones who say they "still miss smoking" 20 years down the road. That's a fearsome thing to hear, but do not let it throw you. The reason they are in that position has to do with the fact that they never did the work to change what cigarettes meant to them.

Along with using patience and time to help you reprogram your associations with smoking, you must also revise the way you think about your cigarettes. The path to freedom has to do with shifting your attitude to smoking, and the way to make that mental change is through education. Educate yourself by reading everything about nicotine addiction. It will help you set up new meaning that cigarettes have for you. Once you do that, the mental chains of this addiction will begin to break down for good. You'll truly be free, and believe me, it is a great place to be.

I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever - I will never smoke again. How can I be so sure? I've changed what cigarettes mean to me. Tobacco is now equal to death and slavery in my mind. Smoking has lost its attraction completely. Read about nicotine addiction and do the work to change the way you identify cigarettes. They are instruments of death. They deserve nothing more than your disdain. Do not look at quitting tobacco as a sacrifice. You are not giving up anything of value. Quitting smoking is a gift. Change your mind and you will find your freedom.

Same Reason for Relapse and Inability to Quit Smoking

Same Reason for Relapse and Inability to Quit SmokingIf you think that you relapse to smoking after quitting because you do not have strong mental defense to beat back the cravings of the nicotine, then you are wrong! Cravings and relapse have equal roots. When smokers smoke cigarettes, their minds set tons of reasons why they are doing this, while smoking is the greatest threat to health, wealth and welfare of smoker and his family members.

If smoker are not able to remove all this reasons from this mind and heart, he will not be able to successfully quit smoking. Even this person is managed to quit smoking, the state of non-smoking is too hard for him, because he still has many reasons to smoke, but doesn’t smoke just because of willpower. This mismatch will transform to the stress with relapse as most likely outcome.

To successfully quit smoking you need to know more about smoking addiction; why smoking cigarettes never helps you, and have clear-cut understanding why you are smoking. Really, these are very simple tasks for non-smokers and very hard for smokers. Smokers believe that smoking helps them, when they need to concentrate or to relax; non-smokers know that smokers are just feeding their addiction. If you think that cigarettes are your best pals, please, do not try to quit. Instead, change your mind at first.

11 September 2008

Trying to quit smoking is the hardest thing I’ve ever done

Maura Tierney - Trying to quit smokingStory by Maura Tierney. Maura Tierney stars in NBC's ER and recently appeared in Playwrights Horizons' Three Changes. Soon, Maura will be leaving "ER" in it's final season, in which she has had a permanent role for 9 years playing nurse turned doctor, Abby Lockhart. Maura was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2001 for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series for this role.

Maura has also starred alongside some of the biggest actors in Hollywood, with films such as "Forces of Nature", with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, opposite Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding in "Instinct". Alongside John Travolta and Emma Thompson in "Primary Colors", and opposite Jim Carrey in "Liar, Liar". In 2001 she was seen in "Scotland, PA", written and directed by her now ex-husband Billy Morrissette. Her most recent movie roles are "Baby Mama", with Tina Fey, "Finding Amanda" co-starring Matthew Broderick, and Will Ferrell's fun basketball flick, "Semi-Pro".

You can currently see Maura in Nicky Silver's play "Three Changes" alongside Dylan McDermott, in a limited run from August 22 to September 28. ER's 15th and final season starts late September. Maura will appear in the first three episodes.

I grew up in a haze of smoke. No one in my family concerned themselves too much with nicotine addiction and its attendant diseases. My father lit up at the dinner table and puffed away in the car with the windows rolled up. (The car, incidentally, was a Plymouth Duster without seat belts or a working lock on the passenger-side door. It wasn't unusual for that door to fly open when we made a left turn; on two such occasions, my sister and I were catapulted out. The phrases "child safety" and "secondhand smoke" didn't get much play in my house.) But this blithe attitude wasn't particular to my family. My high school, an all-girl's Catholic school in a suburb south of Boston, had its very own smoking lounge. A note from your parents - authentic or forged - was all you needed for permission to smoke the day away. Hey, it was the early eighties.

I took my first drag off a cigarette at the ripe old age of eight. My grandmother went to the bathroom, and I stole one of her butts from the ashtray. I lit it, took a quick puff and snuffed it out before she even returned. Then, when I was about 13, my best friend, Adra, and I started smoking at her house after school. Both her parents worked, so we basically had two full hours every afternoon to smoke our heads off. For the next six months our schedule was as follows: School, 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. Chain-smoking, 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. Homework. Dinner. Bed. Repeat.

Adra and I tried every brand of cigarette: More, Virginia Slims, Marlboro, Camel, Kent. Back then, you could just walk into a drugstore and buy a pack without an ID - cashiers assumed you were buying them for your parents. This is how two scrawny eighth graders marched into various convenience stores and bought enough cigarettes to pay a Philip Morris executive's salary for a year. Then Adra moved away. With my underage smoking headquarters closed down, I was forced back into clean living until my freshman year of college, when I majored in dance at New York University.

Smoking was my life

Nobody smokes more than dancers. Dancers don't eat food; they inhale cigarettes. By the time I graduated, I was up to a pack a day. After NYU I moved to Los Angeles. I began working as an actor and discovered I was wrong about something: Nobody smokes more than dancers except actors. And makeup artists. And camera operators. And directors. The truth is, as exciting as film and TV work is, there can be stretches of downtime. Cigarettes fill them. They're something to do when there's nothing to do. They turn a moment into an event.

And when I can't have one, I'm f - ked. I've found myself doing things I'm not proud of, like, say, digging through the trash for a butt. Or smoking through bronchitis. Or telling people who try to bum a cigarette that I don't have any left when actually I do. At times it feels that smoking runs my life. During a five-minute break at work, I've had to make the decision: Should I pee or should I smoke? I've tried doing both at the same time, and it's not very satisfying. There's been only one time in my history when I didn't smoke or even think about it: About 12 years ago, my brother was hit by a car and ended up in a coma. For a period of six or seven days, he was so sick my family couldn't leave his bedside. But the moment he showed signs of recovery, so did my urge to smoke. I stood in front of the hospital next to patients attached to IV poles who were also smoking. I thought, look at those poor bastards - as if I had no experience with that same lack of self-control.

In 2003 New York enacted the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants. I didn't mind, actually: It forced me to smoke less, at least when I'm having dinner with friends. But I did start to notice that, one by one, everyone around me started to quit. My castmates on ER quit. My mother quit. Even my father, who'd smoked two packs a day for I don't know how many years, quit. He told me he had just picked a date and done it. If only I were a "pick a date and do it" kinda gal.

My best pals

I have tried to quit - a few times. But I usually give in at around day four, when I'm weeping at the drop of a hat and considering eating my steering wheel. In Martin Amis' book The Information, the main character, who's having a midlife crisis, talks about smoking a cigarette in between each cigarette. When I'm stressed, that's exactly how I feel. I've considered getting hypnotized; I've considered taking antidepressants; I've considered getting acupuncture. But I haven't done any of those things. Part of the reason could be that on one level, being a smoker is tied up with my identity, which is absurd. I also have this misconception that cigarettes are my little best pals. When I'm upset, they comfort me. When I'm anxious, they calm me down. When I'm tired, they wake me up. It's a great little drug, nicotine…until you try to give it up.

But recently I've decided my little pals are turning on me. It really started with vanity. A few years ago, I began noticing wrinkles around my eyes and mouth. I thought, Oh, no - I'm beginning to look like Aunt Evelyn! The aging process is traumatizing enough; I don't need to speed it along by sucking all the collagen out of my face. And it's not just about that. It's about being healthy and taking responsibility for myself.

I hate being a prisoner to these little pieces of paper filled with weeds. I hate being a hypervigilant freak about what I smell like. I hate stepping outside from any indoor occasion to get my fix. I hate that I'm one of the few who hasn't come to her senses. Every day I see young women smoking, and I want to go over to them and say, "Listen, please don't smoke - please!" But they won't listen. I didn't.

I've now been smoking regularly for 20 years. That's just appalling. I'm going to stop. I do have a plan actually. I'm going on vacation with my family, and my plan will start the minute I step off the plane. You see, I hate smoking in front of my niece and nephew. But when it comes to my smoking, they both seem to have developed psychic abilities: No matter where I sneak off to fire up, I eventually hear, midpuff, the scamper of their approaching little feet. Not only do I not want to be that weird, smelly, smoky aunt who sets a bad example, but at this point, I figure the tension of trying to quit can't be much worse than the tension of trying to hide my habit. I'm not taking any cigarettes, and I've loaded up on Nicorette. I won't be driving, so there'll be no steering wheels to eat. Everyone in my family has seen me cry before.

I plan on coming back from this trip smoke-free. And this much I know: I will be prouder of that accomplishment than anything I've ever done.

To Successfully Quit Smoking, You Need a Multi-legged Stool

To Successfully Quit Smoking, You Need a Multi-legged StoolThe stool or more correctly, the legs of the stool are a metaphor for what I feel is one of the most important aspects of quitting smoking - support. Picture if you will sitting down at the computer to write a letter on a stool with only one leg and how difficult it would be to remain on it. Sure, you can say 'If the leg is in the middle of the stool, balancing shouldn't be too hard.' True, but what say the one leg is attached to the outer perimeter as normal? Do you think it would be much harder to concentrate on finishing your letter if most of your attention is spent trying not to fall over? Probably very difficult, I would think.

Now let us add a leg to the stool. Does it become any easier to sit on? Of course it does. Now you only have to worry about the stool moving side-to-side or front-to-back, but not both so you only have to give it half as much attention. Much easier to concentrate on the task.

Let's now add the third leg, which by the way has been shown to be the most stable arrangement for a stool, and upholstery cleaning codes do we get. Right - perfect stability. We can now sit with complete confidence upon our three-legged stool and focus all our attention on our letter because we no longer have the fear of falling over (failure).

How does this metaphor relate to quitting smoking? Well, like the one legged stool, if you attempt to quit smoking on your own with no other support, it will be that much more difficult to stay focused. Why try to do it alone s upholstery cleaning there are friends out there who would be more than willing to help you. Adding another couple of legs to your efforts would be recommended to get more stability (support), but four, five or more friends would not be out of line either.

Although having five legs of support on a stool may look funny, having this number of support people at your disposal when quitting smoking is smart. However, be sure to inform whomever you ask to help you that they don't harp on or badger you about quitting, only to be there when you need their valued assistance. And if you are courageous enough, and I hope you are, make a pact with yourself that if at any time after you quit you are tempted professional furniture cleaners or someone else that having 'just one' wouldn't hurt, you must call all your 'legs' and say "Hi, it's me. I've decided to start smoking again." If you can make it through all of these phone calls and still believe that 'one' will not hurt, I would be very surprised.

Freedom from the cigarette will come once you have made up your mind and enlisted all the tools you can find, including the multi-legged support system.

04 September 2008

One More Cigarette

One More Cigarette You want to smoke and your mind always find the reasons to acquit smoking. You are not able to work without cigarettes, nicotine addiction force you to make a little break for a cigarette every time you have to solve any more or less important problem. You smoke – cigarette burn you life and health. If you think that smoking isn't bad for your health and for the whole life, you get no chances to quit.

You aren't free even when you smoke; you know that you will need next cigarette soon. If you are trying to quit smoking, your imagination and mind are trying to find reasons to smoke one more cigarette. Smoking will never help you to relax or to concentrate, you just cannot relax or concentrate without satisfied nicotine addiction.

Are you ever try to understand that your visits to doctor are connected with smoking? You know that smoking is dangerous for your lungs, but your whole life is worse due to oxygen starvation, and total impact upon your energy level. This influence is very gradual and unnoticeable, but when you are going to light up next cigarette, try to understand that exactly the same one will be your last cigarette soon. You just can choose - death or your decision to quit smoking will be the reason.