Mandevilla
Mandevilla

April 9th, 2011, 11:49 am #51

Neal - congratulations on 3 months of freedom!!!  You are bronze and it is a grand party with plenty of great company.

Your remarks throughout your journey - in all the threads - have been great to read.  You have a terrific way of saying things.

BRONZE and BEYOND!!  That's where we're headed! 

Keep up the great quit!

Lisa
quit 1-1-11

schmaltz
schmaltz

April 9th, 2011, 12:33 pm #52

Glad to see another 40+yr smoker reaching a important milestone. I wonder what it was in the beginning of this particular year that sparked us all into action.  Anyway glad to see you in bronze and can't wait till silver and gold .

Craig

Herman1331
Herman1331

April 9th, 2011, 3:57 pm #53

Neal,Congratulations on BRONZE!!  THAT IS AWESOME.  Keep up your great quit and can't wait to congratulate you on silver.  NTAP
Laura


NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

April 9th, 2011, 6:41 pm #54

The Real Me Vs. The Junky
For my Bronze celebration I would like to tell a lighthearted story of my quitting smoking experience / adventure. I’ll let you figure out the analogies. My quitting experience boils down to an internal fight between the Real Me, desperately trying to surface, and the Junky, A.K.A. - my Subconscious, my Executive Assistant, my Prison Guard. The Junky is that little voice in my head, I’m sure you all know the one, that has always come up with all those creative relapse excuses.

The Real Me has been gone so long that he was small and weak and all but forgotten. The Junky has been in charge of the Nicotine Roller Coaster, which meant he ran everything.





For over 40 years, from the moment I woke up, until the time I went to bed, he would tell me what time was mine and what time was his. He always had most of the time, and the schedule was always changing. There were his normal times - upon waking, after meals, working outside, talking on the phone, driving, taking a walk, and before bed. There were also all the unexpected times when he needed to put all my emotions up in smoke. If I was stressed, I had to stop and smoke. If I got angry, tired, hungry, lonely, happy, or sad, I had to stop and smoke. If I drank alcohol or had something to celebrate, I had to stop and smoke.

The Real Me was pushed so far into the background that I could hardly see the light thru the trees. The Junky kept me right where he wanted me, buried in the jungle with lies and use rationalizations. Withdrawal would be too painful, you couldn’t live a good life without nicotine, nicotine was a big part of who you are, you would lose yourself without nicotine, you would always have urges to smoke, and you would be miserable. Why punish yourself with trying to quit, just leave things as they are. The list of lies and excuses were never ending.

The Real Me still wanted so badly to surface and be free from the deep, dark, jungle. I tried and tried and even enlisted the help of gums, lozenges, patches, inhalers, E-cigs, and dip. I found myself in worse shape then when I started. Not only was I still buried in the jungle, but now the lozenges were growing vines around my legs, and I could barely move.

I finally decided it was time to take a deep breath, plant my feet, put my head down, and fight for my life. The Junky was also fighting for survival. He liked being in charge, and he would use every trick in the book to remain in power.

The Real Me went on-line and found Why Quit.com. I started to read about Bryan, Noni, Kim, Deborah, Brandon, and Sean. The vines started to loosen their grip. I read Nicotine 101 and the vines fell off of my legs. I started reading the One Puff Files, and leaves started to fall from the trees. I read Never Take Another Puff, and Freedom From Nicotine - The Journey Home, and so many leaves were falling that I could start to see the blue sky thru the trees. All of the Junky lies were now being exposed. I joined Freedom From Nicotine and some of the small trees started to die and fall down.

I heard a noise and looked back, I saw John and Joel both carrying chainsaws. They said, let’s start carving a path and get you out of here. They cranked up their chainsaws and started cutting on the two biggest trees standing in front of me. I looked back again and saw Marty, Joanne, O Bob, Joe J. Free, Denny B., Suzie, Kattatonic1, CWZ, Doc24747, Chasnfireflies, and all of the oldbie veterans carrying axes. They said, we’ve already been through this, we know the way out, just follow us. They walked in front of me and started chopping on several different trees, bushes, and shrubs. Then came Tagsgirl, JimH, Juan Carlos, BSKing, Puffanomore, Sarah, Mary, and Lucie. Behind them were Lisa, Jeffreyrw, Greg, Laura, Kelly, Craig, Wendy, Endura, Lara, Bev, Stella, and a whole lot of others (sorry I couldn’t name everyone). They were carrying saws, hatchets, pruning shears, machete’s and even large knives. They said, we all would like to get out of here, and we will be happy to help you too. I started to feel overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and well being; I did exactly as they all said, and worked with them to get out. I felt better and better as each tree was cut down.

There were a few splinters and thorns along the way, I stumbled and tripped a time or two, and a couple of branches would occasionally spring back at me, but I never lost sight of where I was going. Eventually there was a clear path to Freedom laid out in front of me. We all stopped to admire the view.

 

 

I could taste the cool air deep in my lungs. This place even smelled better than the jungle, I could smell everything. There was a rainbow painted across the bluest sky, the sight of the crystal clear lake reflecting the distant mountains was breathtaking. The birds were chirping a happy song as we all marched along. John said that with a little help and some hard work all things are do-able. Joel mentioned to always watch out for stumps in the road, and that we would continue to stay out of the jungle as long as we stuck with our original commitment to never take another puff.

YQB Neal (Looking Better in Bronze!!!) Join me in getting out of the Jungle. There is a spot reserved for you on the path to Freedom. NTAP

I Quit living all the lies on 1/9/11

wwchi
wwchi

April 9th, 2011, 8:26 pm #55

Neal - what an AWESOME post! The imagery of the axes and knives cutting through it all to get free...FANTASTIC!!!  Congrats on Bronze...what an accomplishment!! :-)

Wendy

schmaltz
schmaltz

April 9th, 2011, 8:53 pm #56

Neal , now there is a posting. I'm sure it will be a "go to " for a long time . Well done . It speaks volumes in a few paragraphs .

endura
endura

April 9th, 2011, 9:01 pm #57

Neal! I loved your post. You do look awesome in Bronze! Congratulations! I am sure you will march on to GOLD(en). I am so proud of you...proud of all of us for commitment to free ourselves. It is so doable...only one rule...Never take another puff!Endura,  78 days free of nicotine, Gold Wannabee  : ) 

Herman1331
Herman1331

April 9th, 2011, 9:35 pm #58

AMAZING POST NEAL!  Brought tears to my eyes.  Thank you for that, anytime I find myself having a rough time I will come look at that post.  Amazing.Laura

Mandevilla
Mandevilla

April 10th, 2011, 12:07 am #59

Neal - Wow. 
What makes your story so very important is that it gives absolute weight to what this journey means.  We all know exactly what you are telling - and we are all nodding.  It just feels so very, very GOOD to read someone saying it.....saying it ALL.  The honesty of the fear, and the joy at surrendering to the highway home. 

Thank you for taking the time to post this.  It is a wonderful 3 month memoir.   
Onward, brother!!

Lisa
quit 1-1-11 and bronz'in together with you

time4me
time4me

April 10th, 2011, 2:16 am #60

Your analogy was so right on - we are cutting our way out of this addiction and it sure does feel great.  Congratulations, Neal, on bronze.  That is quit a feat, and in a couple of months I have no doubt that I will be joining you. 
Stella - I have stopped nicotine for 1 month, 2 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 1 second. I've not smoked 679 cigarettes, and saved $203.98.

LLJ
LLJ

April 11th, 2011, 7:47 pm #61

Neal,Brilliant, just brilliant.
I saved a copy of your story on my laptop. So powerful, so insightful...I know I will be reading your words often. 
Congratulations on becoming BRONZE!!! In the words of Billy Crystal, "You look mahvelous!"
Lara 

48 days of freedom and healing! 

NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

April 14th, 2011, 7:00 pm #62

Thank you Jeff, Lisa, Craig, Laura, Wendy, Endura, Stella, and Lara. You really made turning bronze a party to remember. Your kind words and thoughts always touch me. Keep it where it belongs, on the outside. YQB Neal - Quit all the lies on 1/9/11.

Doc24747
Doc24747

April 14th, 2011, 10:36 pm #63

Hi Neal
Sorry I'm late - been away.
Congratulations on getting to the three month mark. Six months and a year will follow for you too, I'm sure. You know now that we lived a lie and that education makes all the difference.
Enjoy the new you.

All the best

NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

April 15th, 2011, 8:01 pm #64

Doc,
No worries, your not late, I'm looking forward to celebrating Bronze for the next three months, each and every day. Neal

NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

May 2nd, 2011, 9:06 pm #65

I'm one week short of 4 months. Time has been flying, it seems like I turned bronze yesterday. Each day has been uneventful on my journey to Freedom. I still come on the site often, but not as much as I used to. I noticed on my quit meter that I have saved $560 so far. I'm getting paid to feel good!! I like reading the journals and supporting the newer members as time allows. I don't want to forget what quitting was like in the early days. Hope everyone has a great nicotine free day. NTAP. Neal

NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

May 9th, 2011, 4:28 pm #66

After over four decades of being a slave to nicotine, today I reach four months of Freedom. With spring and summer upon us I still occasionally have smoking thoughts as I encounter situations for the first time as a non-smoker. These thoughts literally only last one or two seconds, as I quickly replace them with "none today, one = all, or NTAP". I have really been enjoying all the extra time, money, and energy I have since getting rid of all the nicotine. I don't ever want to go back to where I was. Neal - Quit all the lies on 1/9/11

Jefferyrw
Jefferyrw

May 9th, 2011, 9:01 pm #67

Neal, you are doing a great job being an example for others as well as providing support.  Thank you for your commitment to NTAP!

Jeff - four months and one day Nicotine Free (121 days)
Since: 1-8-2011

NoNic4Neal
NoNic4Neal

June 16th, 2011, 4:28 pm #68

I got hit with some shocking news between the 4th and 5th month of my quit.  The good news is that I have remained, and will remain nicotine free.  5/24 - During a routine Doctor's visit I mentioned a swollen lymph node on my neck.  I had an ultrasound performed on my neck.  6/2 - I was experiencing shortness of breath and had a chest X-Ray performed and a C.T. scan performed to follow up on the ultrasound.  6/3 - The chest x-ray showed my left lung had a tumor and the chest cavity was filling with fluid, the CT scan showed small nodules around my lymph node and thyroid, I was admitted to the hospital.  6/3 , 6/4 - A barrage of addition tests were peformed, they did C.T. scans all over my body looking for any additional spreading of the cancer.  The fluid was drained from around my left lung, and a biopsy was permormed on the fluid as well as one of the tumors found in my belly.  I remained in the hospital for an additional week while they continued draining fluid from my lung and awaited results from the biopsys.  It turned out to be originating in my left lung and had spread to my lymph  nodes and stomach.  It is non-operable since it has already spread around my body, they called it Stage 4 Lung cancer (non small cell type) 6/11, 6/12 - Had to go back to the hospital, I had sever shortness of breath from my swollen stomach, they took a new CT scan  and found the cancer had grown significantly in the 9 days since they last scanned it.  They were already mentioning a hospice. 6/13 Recieved my first (very large) dose of chemotherapy and was released to home heath care.
Needless to say, there were a lot of emotions and preparations for me to deal with.  I wanted to continue to post my experiences in the hopes of helping people on here .  We have to always be vigilant and realize the deadlyness of this addiction we are fighting  I don't want any of you to experience the feeling I now get when my 9 year old daughter looks to me with all the Love in her eyes's.  I have no idea of what the future holds for me, I know because of the great people on this sight that I will face my future as a non-smoker. I thought after all these decades that I actually had the cigarette addiction beat, but it looks like it will win in the long run by taking my life much faster than it should have.  I will continue to post as I can.
Neal    Quit the lies on 1/9/2011

Herman1331
Herman1331

June 16th, 2011, 5:03 pm #69

Neal,I am so very sorry to hear about your news.  Please know that you are in my prayers.  There are a few members on here whom I feel a bond with and you are one of those people.  My quit brother, regardless of what happens know that yesterday, today and tomorrow you are an inspiration.  Please get better.
Your quit sister,
Laura I too quit the lies 01/17/2011

Joe J free
Joe J free

June 16th, 2011, 5:39 pm #70

Neal,

My thoughts and prayers are with you today.  I am so sorry your health has taken a sudden and unexpected turn for the worse.  These last few weeks have for sure been terribly stressful and you again prove that nicotine has no place in our lives when dealing with even the toughest circumstances we can encounter.  I'm hoping the chemo treatments can turn your disease and diagnosis around 180 degrees.  I hope also you are well enough soon to get out and feel the wind on your face on a ride in the afternoon sun.

With you in spirit.

Joe J

LLJ
LLJ

June 16th, 2011, 5:59 pm #71

Neal,You are an incredibly brave and strong person. Please don't give up. 
Your beautiful story of breaking free and uncovering the real you inspires me every day! I am thinking of you and praying for your health. 
Much love to you. 
Your Quit Sister,
Lara

Doc24747
Doc24747

June 16th, 2011, 6:45 pm #72

Wishing you all the best Neal.
Keep positive and strong.

All the very best

Mia
Mia

June 17th, 2011, 1:06 am #73

Hi Nick,
Thank you for sharing. You and your family are in my thoughts.  I am thinking of you all.

CWZ
CWZ

June 17th, 2011, 3:29 pm #74

Thank you for posting, Neal. I so wish things were different as my eyes well up. Praying for you and yours. Nicotine free and Free is the way to be! Always will be just one answer to nicotine, "None Today!"

CWZ Gold x 3

schmaltz
schmaltz

June 17th, 2011, 8:31 pm #75

Neal ,

 So sorry to hear , you and I both 40 yr.smokers - quitters at the same time . I'm cheering for you buddy ........

Craig