John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 7th, 2001, 5:22 am #21

Learning to live and walk among the addicted while remaining free ourselves takes patience and dedication. Getting our ashtrays back and our pockets full of addiction tools is one of the easiest things we can ever do. Our healing can be destroyed with a snap of the fingers, as fire meets white, and smoke meets healing. It's over, it's done, the addict is back! Freedom isn't free! If we want to keep it then we can never take it for granted! When it comes to my addiction, I'm not one bit different from you. I'll always be just one puff away from three packs a day - and then I'll stay that way, as long as the decay doesn't kill. Is that what life's about? God be with us! YQB John
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

May 14th, 2002, 10:07 pm #22

This thread is good for me - it helps to be reminded to care for my quit.

Although these days its a lot easier to do than all the energy invested in the first few weeks - I still remind myself every day that just for today I've made a decision not to smoke. I accept myself as a nicotine addict - and for me "just one" is just not possible. And I've learnt here at Freedom that I can care for my quit no matter what is happening in my life. I like that ~ "caring for my quit" ~ it's something I can do every day to care for me. I'm glad it gets easier.

yqs mirigirl
another nicotine addict
free and healing
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

May 16th, 2002, 7:27 am #23

congratulations, John, on your three years of freedom and on leading the way.

grumpy
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AMD33 (gold)
AMD33 (gold)

June 15th, 2002, 1:25 pm #24

This thread has been so important to me. I have subscribed to it, so whenever anyone posts to it, I get an email with the subject line: Caring for our Quit.

Just reading that subject line reminds me that I need to pay attention, even if I haven't been back to visit Freedom for a little while. Even though I have more than six months now, I am just one puff away from a full fledged habit. That email, Caring for Our Quit, always seems to come through just when I need it.

I caught myself trying to negotiate with the law of addiction this week for the first time in a while. I was at my new job and things were very very tough. I kept thinking about a nearby store that I knew carried my brand. I pictured myself going over there and buying a pack. I would just have one, I reasoned, and I would throw the rest away.

I don't know how many times I've told myself that lie before and acted on a trigger that would have passed in a moment or two. Back then when I negotiated I found myself stuck with my full fledged habit again. "Just one" is a lie.

And everytime I get that email, Caring for Our Quit, I recommit to my quit. I force myself to remember how bad it was before I was free. And I think about how hard it was to break free again once I gave in to my inner junkie.

I am so very grateful to be a member of Freedom

Thank you everyone

yqs,
Jessica aka AMD33
Celebrating Freedom for Six months, three weeks, three days, 7 hours, 54 minutes and 1 second. 2053 cigarettes not smoked, saving $538.88. Life saved: 1 week, 3 hours, 5 minutes.
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Suekickbutt (GOLD)
Suekickbutt (GOLD)

June 15th, 2002, 3:00 pm #25

I want to subscribe too!(if it's possible). I found this thread particularly helpful today - I had one those days for some unknown reason You know, looking inside shops as youwalk past, at their display of ciggies. Telling myself that it would be "fun" (fun? FUN??) to just have one and see what it feels like.

Sue

I have chosen not to smoke for 3 Weeks 4 Days 5 Hours 55 Minutes 57 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 757. Money saved: A$231.01.
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murphying (Gold)
murphying (Gold)

June 15th, 2002, 3:32 pm #26

Hi Sue - I think it's quite normal to have occasional problem days so early in your quit. It's kind of like you relax a bit once you get through the first two weeks and there's that demon just waiting for a chance...the sort of "maybe I can now become a social smoker" line of thinking!
Your quit will be fine Sue as long as you remember that it's ALL the cigarettes you used to smoke...not just the one you think you want. You hang in there girl - you've done so well and congratulations on those nearly four weeks! I'll be looking to help you celebrate your green soon.

Ingrid
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 19th, 2002, 12:42 am #27

Quitting nicotine for just one hour is a pretty darn big deal. It's the very first baby step toward reclaiming control of your mind, body, health and life. Take pride in that hour, nurture and care for that hour and then delight in watching it grow into two hours of well deserved rest for two innocent lungs! Take pride in those two hours. Be sure and make a record of the reasons why you'd like to live the balance of your life free from nicotine. There's only one simple rule if you'd like to watch your healing grow into three hours - no nicotine whatsoever for the next 60 minutes! Baby steps are doable! We STRONGLY encourage you to continue your education as knowledge truly is power!
John - a very comfortable and content ex-smoker !
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 12th, 2002, 10:00 am #28

Free Relapse Insurance
How much would you be willing to pay for an insurance policy that would guarantee that you'd never relapse and that you'd remain nicotine free for the remainder of your life? Sorry! There is way on earth to 100% guarantee that a former smoker will not take that one little puff that leads to full blown relapse. Although there are few guarantees in life, there is a way to substantially enhance our chances of NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF! But how?

"Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it." In no situation is this phrase more applicable than with drug relapse. Personal relapse insurance is nothing more than a present gift of future memory. Some day down the road temptation "will" come your way. If you had to rely upon your memories of how to do high school algebra in order to prevail over temptation, would you be successful in resisting or would relapse occur? Thank the Good Lord that we don't have to remember algebra in order to remain nicotine free, but we do need to accurately document the history that is now or about to occur!

Our minds are conditioned to remember the good times, not the bad. It has to be that way, otherwise we'd each be so depressed that facing a new day would be an overwhelming challenge. A vivid picture of all the pain and hurt of all our yesterdays is a heavy burden to bear. Why would an ex-smoker's mind want to vividly recall the frustrations, anxieties, worries and feelings of bondage and worthlessness associated with continuing smoking. Pack after pack and ashtray after ashtray, the lies to hide our addiction and the faint hope we once had of ever gaining our freedom. As a father who twice witnessed what the word "labor" really means, I'm convinced that all women would only have one child if they were forced to remember the true pain of childbirth.

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to make a DETAILED list of all of the reasons that helped motivate you to quit smoking. Sure you remember them today, but you will NOT remember them all in a year or two from now when you just may need them most. We encourage new arrivals to go ahead and type your list of reasons right into your 1st Post - Diary. That way you'll always have quick access to them here at Freedom.


Also, spend a few minutes and take the time to write down a detailed description of a "Day 2" or "Day 3" crave in all their full-blown glory. What were the craves like? How long did they last? How did they make you feel? How did you react to them? What did you do to cope? Would you like to experience week one over agin in a year or two? Why not? What was it really like?

Our minds are conditioned to remember good times, not bad. Pain, hurt, misery, craves, bad health, worry, wheezing, the true pain of childbirth, coughs, fights with loved ones, stress, or even foul odors are not things that our mind wants to try and remember. We relish and replay our good memories, while suppressing and forgetting the bad. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget the motivational reasons that caused them to endure "Glory Week" in the first place. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget what it was really like! The mind forgets but inked paper doesn't!

Every now and then we see a new post on our message board at Freedom in which a member who is in beyond month two of their quit will tell us that they've had a terrible day and have been experiencing craves. If you closely read the remainder of the post they will also tell you that things are much better now and that they rarely have any crave. Which is it? Are they having craves or aren't they? Is it still bad or are things getting better? The truth is that most simply are not sure exactly what they are feeling. The truth is that by month two or three, most of us have forgotten the true intensity of "Day 3" or "Day 4," took no notes, and have no point of reference to describe or catalog what our minds are now experiencing.

Often the quitter in month two or three isn't experiencing craves at all. What they are experiencing are smoking related "thoughts." Two different animals altogether! "In my mind I thought about having a cigarette today and the thought was so vivid that I could almost taste it" -vs- "I encountered another powerful crave trigger today that caused my body to shudder, that generated such unbearable anxiety that my mind grew cloudy, I craved to the point of hurt, I began sweating, I became irritable, restless, I wanted to climb every wall in site, I was frustrated and it seemed like it would never go away."

Just like the thought of buttered lobster or a hot apple pie that is so vivid that you can almost taste it, a "thought" doesn't harm us and it can be pushed out of our minds almost as quickly as it arrived. A passing "thought" is NOT a crave, but if your mind no longer remembers what a true crave feels like, a "thought" can be mistaken for a crave.

The test of quitting isn't in forgetting all your memories of having smoked, it's in avoiding relapse by accurately documenting "why you were willing to endure nicotine withdrawal" and "what true nicotine withdrawal was like."Most of our recall of the details of "Glory" Week (the first 7 days) will have perished by week three. You'll still be having craves but by comparison they'll be very few and far weaker in intensity (although they may not feel weaker). If you have nothing to compare them with then you won't get an accurate picture of your true progress. Your mind will falsely begin to believe that things are simply not improving. Instead of recognizing a sea of lingering "thoughts" for what they are - "just thought" - you'll likely confuse them with a full-blown crave.

The risk here is acting upon your erroneous belief and taking it to the next logical step, falsely believing that you can now handle one little itty bitty nico-fix without relapsing and reviving your entire addiction in all its nasty glory.

If you treasure your new life and this wonderful gift that you've worked so hard to give to yourself, then take the time now to protect it. Make sure you put your words of "insurance against relapse" in a place where you can quickly find them. Make more than one copy. Leave one copy in glove compartment, one in the desk, one in the kitchen and one in your purse or wallet. Last, but not least, make yourself a promise to read each and every word that you'v written, before picking up any nicotine delivery device and before ingesting nicotine into your precious body. Don't allow yourself to get so far into the forest that the trees all look the same and discouragement begins to fill your mind, as you falsely come to believe that nothing is improving. Take the time now to pick up a free map and compass so that you'll know exactly where you are at all times! The next few minutes are doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John : )
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF !
Last edited by John (Gold) on March 2nd, 2009, 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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skye (silver)
skye (silver)

October 20th, 2002, 9:19 am #29

Janet-

Thanks so much for bringing this up. I, too, have subscribed to it since it really targets everything I need to hear, to do, and to remember. I think I'll print it out too. Heck, I should probably tattoo it on my forehead. Thanks.

Sharon
10 days +
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AMD33 (gold)
AMD33 (gold)

October 21st, 2002, 12:49 am #30

Janet,

Thanks for this!

Over the last year and a half I have been laid off twice, unemployed for long stretches, and started two new high pressure jobs. Lots of other stressful things have happened too. But this thread has kept me where I need to be. I know I cannot have just one (even though I've thought about it from time to time).

If I have one, I will have them all -- and it won't fix any of my problems. It will only add to them.

Tomorrow I am coming up on 11 months of freedom from tobacco. It's such a relief to be free.

Thank you Janet and everyone at Freedom for continually reminding me that I am not the exception to the rule

,
Jessica, aka AMD33
Celebrating freedom for ten months, four weeks, 19 hours, 17 minutes and 38 seconds. 3328 cigarettes not smoked, saving $873.50. Life saved: 1 week, 4 days, 13 hours, 20 minutes.
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Pelican1(Bronze)
Pelican1(Bronze)

October 21st, 2002, 8:25 am #31

Comming up on day 11, I have been reading everyday somtimes all day long it seems, and these threads have been the one thing that has kept me free from falling, thankyou,,,,but today especially right now I can't seem to shake this crave,,,, I have drank enough water to float a small ship,,lol
My house hasn't been cleaned this intensly in a long time,,,so there are some really wonderful things happening I love not smelling like an ashtray,
and I really like the idea of not being a slave to cigs., every 20 minutes

Ya know I just talked my way thru that crave,,,yea!!!!
Thankyou all for the threads that keep me in line with the truth
Pelican
1 week 3 days 23 hours
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MareBear GOLD
MareBear GOLD

October 22nd, 2002, 8:04 am #32

Funny this thread should come up today. It's the only one that I chose to have replies emailed to me, because you never know when you're going to get complacent (complacency is funny that way ) or when something is going to happen that will make your junky mind snap awake and into action. I found out this morning that I've had a miscarriage (I'm not saying this to solicit sympathetic responses, I have a great support group at home for that ) and if I wasn't on my toes about my addiction I believe I'd have smoked one or two packs by now. But even though I did think about a cigarette, I never actually craved one and I never considered trying to procure one. I thought about cigarettes, but not about actually having one. It simply isn't an option. This is my first major life situation since ending my relationship with nicotine, and I believe I'm healthier emotionally as well as physically because of it.

Nicotine doesn't solve problems; it creates more!

MareBear

Not a puff for: 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. Cigarettes not smoked: 2918, saving me $452.39.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

November 14th, 2002, 7:08 am #33

Chris asked in another post why someone with a ten year quit would relapse. It isn't all that uncommon as some of our members can attest. Anyway, I hope this explanation helps a bit Chris.
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joyous1 Bronze
joyous1 Bronze

November 26th, 2002, 5:57 pm #34

This is definitely a keeper. Thanks
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

December 6th, 2002, 2:53 am #35

As we move further into the Holiday Season I hope that each of us will employ a bit of extra caution in safeguarding our quits, health, and very possibily our lives from all holiday risk factors! To keep my freedom I need only follow one simple rule - Never Take Another Puff!
Happy Holidays Freedom! John : )
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

December 18th, 2002, 11:33 am #36

If there is any one month of the year when we found more excuses for not quitting than any other month it was probably December but our logic was flawed. What better month that to give ourselves a loving gift or remind ourselves of the wonderful healing happening inside than December? What better month to meet, greet and defeat so many different types of triggers than a month that causes us to confront so many different aspects of life? This is a wonderful time to begin our new life and also a wonderful time to celebate this very special gift. Happy Holidays Freedom! John : )
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

January 4th, 2003, 9:37 am #37

Just a great thread that I haven't read for a while....

(Hi Jessica!)
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 13th, 2003, 9:59 pm #38

The Final Truth
A twenty year smoker who averaged a pack a day and took eight puffs per cigarette lit 146,000 cigarettes and sucked warm nicotine laden smoke into crying and decaying lungs 1,168,000 times. Over one million puffs!

Where do the memories of those one million puffs go after we quit smoking? Where are they now? How many of those one million puffs made our mind say "aaah" as they immediately helped restore our falling blood-serum nicotine level? Where did all of our "aaah" memories go when we quit? Were they true? Did new nicotine bring us a sense of replenishment and stimulation thousands upon thousands of times? Absolutely!

Unless replenished, the amount of nicotine remaining in our blood stream would be reduced by half within two hours. Although most of us hated our bondage, there is no denying that each of those 146,000 nicotine fixes helped - to some degree - bring relief from constantly falling blood serum nicotine levels that were carrying each of us closer to experiencing those first sign of early chemical withdrawal.

Yes, each and every fix played a vital role in restoring our minds to a level of comfort upon which we had come to depend. We created our own artificial sense of nicotine/dopamine normalcy, our own addiction comfort level that each year may have required a bit more nicotine to sustain. Yes, each fix brought the addict in us a true sense of comfort -- from the pains of our own addiction -- and yes all those memories still remain, but one important thing has changed, our mind's chemical need for more nicotine ended within 2 weeks. Within 3 weeks our brain and restored a4b2-type acetylcholine receptor counts in at least 13 different brain regions to those seen in non-smokers.

If you could go back through old Freedom's 1999 and 2000 relapse threads (before our relapse policy began evolving) and read all of the descriptions of relapses that occurred beyond week two, they sound strikingly similar. They read like this:

"I tasted a mouth full of warm smoke, I remembered the smell, I felt dizzy and wanted to cough but I didn't get the sense of satisfaction, that sense of relief, that I'd expected. It just didn't come!"
Those thousands of enticing memories in the relapsor's mind told them to expect a sense of relief and satisfaction" but their body had adjusted to life without nicotine. Although nicotine did stimulate their brain's dopamine pathways, their brain wasn't in a state of dopamine deprivation, they were feeling no early anxieties that needed quieting and the expected sense of relief wasn't there. It didn't arrive. Unlike when the thousands of replenishment aaah memories in their mind were created, there was nothing missing and there was nothing that needed replenishing. So what happened next?

Well, sadly, most of us couldn't help but continue believing in those thousands of memories created by an actively feeding drug addict. We kept searching inside that cigarette or the next. Soon we borrowed another or bought our own pack and it wasn't long before we again had our addiction churning in all its full-blown destructive and deadly glory. We could then look in the mirror and say to themselves, "see, I was right, smoking did bring me a sense of relief!"

Until we fully appreciate that our memories of our "perfect aaah smokes" were created during a cycle of our chemical dependency and that we must once again be active addicts in order to experience that same sense of relief, the memories of prior fixes elevating our sagging blood serum nicotine level will continue inviting us home. Yes, the memories are true but only for active addicts in need a fix.

Regardless of whether the next few minutes are your most comfortable yet or in the end prove to have been the most challenging of this entire temporary journey of readjustment, they will be doable! There is only one rule - no nicotine from any source - Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long Freedom!

John
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 16th, 2009, 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

February 24th, 2003, 10:10 pm #39

Protecting and Renewing
Our Reasoned Quest

What allowed us to skip all those once mandatory nicotine feedings that continue to build on our quit-counters? Strength, willpower, strategy? It would be natural to think that it's a combination of the three but none of us are stronger than our addiction, as is clearly evidenced by our inability to live the nicotine addict's dream - to control the uncontrollable.

Yes, we can each temporarily muster mountains of willpower but can willpower make any human endure a challenge that they lack the core motivation to complete? If we are incapable of using strength to control our addiction and we can't "will" our chemical dependency into hibernation, then what remains?

Strategy begins with honest simple motives that desire and emotion gradually build into one or more reasoned motivations. The successful quitter finds ways to protect and safeguard their reasoned justifications for wanting to be free, so that they remain robust, alive and available to fuel the patience needed to transition this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the law of addiction - one puff, dip or chew of nicotine equals relapse - with well-protected core motivations.

The intelligent quitter realizes that if they allow their motivations to die that it is highly likely that their freedom and healing will die along with them. The intelligent quitter finds ways to recall and revive their once vivid memories of the horrors of dependency and their dreams of freedom so as to re-fuel their motivations.

The one day at a time philosophy that allowed us to make early cessation manageable by focusing only upon the task at hand will naturally seem to grow a bit less significant as the periods of extended comfort begin to build. You'll read message after message from long-term Freedomites who know the law of addiction but who have gone for months and months without a single challenge.

But they do not return to Freedom and read the concerns and struggles of our newest arrivals out of a sense of boredom. Nor are their honest gifts of hope without benefit to them. They are here, for the most part, because they deeply love their freedom. Their intelligence - and sometimes a brief encounter with a memory driven urge - have called them home to renew and invigorate fading memories of one of the most amazing journeys that most have ever made.

Each of us are 100% guaranteed to continue free today if we'll only maintain and protect that horrors and hopes of our original day #1 dream to ... Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!

John

P.S. If just getting starated I recommend that you post to our parades as often as time permits. Celebration damages and destroys negativism. It fuels the spirit!


Last edited by John (Gold) on February 16th, 2009, 2:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 11th, 2003, 7:05 am #40

For Lydia
Lydia, the further along our quit evolves the fewer daily reminders we have of just how bad things once were. The stink that was us is long gone and so is the cough, the wheezing, our yellow fingers and that extra layer of body oil that came from 4,000+ burning chemicals. When's the last time you had to jump in the car and head for the nearest nicotine merchant? When's the last time you badly needed to smoke but couldn't, stood outside in the cold but didn't want to, or dreamed about quitting but doubted the possibility? When is the last time you pulled hard earned money from your purse and paid to destroy a little more of your excess lung capacity? When is the last time you felt like a social outcast? Once vivid memories of living life from inside a pack are vivid no more.

It's good you've returned to recharge your batteries! If you did make a list of reasons for quitting I encourage you to read it through the eyes of lady who wrote it. There is no such thing as just one and there is still only one rule - Never Take Another Puff! John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 8th, 2003, 6:39 pm #41

What if Freedom was a Heroin Recovery Forum?
What excuse would you find acceptable?
Imagine, for a second, that Freedom is a heroin recovery support group instead of nicotine. Picture each of us as recovering heroin addicts and none of us smokers. When a "great" EXCUSE for relapse comes along what would we each consider putting into our blood stream? Nicotine? No, the thought would never cross our minds. Instead, we'd reach for heroin as we sold our minds on the belief that we could handle "just one" fix and now had the "perfect" reason for injecting it. The recovering alcoholic, the cocaine addict, they'd each reach for their own substance and similar junkie thinking.
All dependency experts agree that the ability of a drug to produce an intoxicating type high is not a measure of its power to create permanent chemical dependency in those who use it. In every drug comparison research study that I've been able to locate (three so far) nicotine has ranked first in "dependence" when compared to heroin, cocaine or alcohol. We can either use this information as another "excuse" or as "motivation" for getting serious about taking our lives back. It will never be easier than it is today to keep our addiction under arrest.
This isn't new information either. The first study findings made headlines in 1988 when the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Koop, proclaimed to the world that nicotine was addictive in the same sense as heroin and cocaine. Science has come a long way but there is still much to learn.
We would later learn that the Surgeon General's study findings were only 25 years behind what the tobacco companies had long known. Today we can read industry documents from 1963 declaring that "Moreover, nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug." Addison Yeaman, Vice President and General Counsel, Brown & Williamson.
Today we can read industry research papers teaching tobacco industry executives that exact same information that we're all doing our best to share with you here at Freedoma. For example a 1972 Philip Morris document prepared by William L. Dunn, a senior researcher, says ...
"The cigarette should not be construed as a product but a package. The product is nicotine. Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle for nicotine."
Today scientists are just beginning to understand how addictive substances interact with and alter the brain's normal dopamine delivery circuits to give each type of addict a bit different "aaahhh" sensation. We don't need to become brain scientists in order to taste victory in our lives. All we need to do is remember the most important lesson of all - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
No excuse justifies drug relapse - none!
Last edited by John (Gold) on March 2nd, 2009, 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 3rd, 2003, 10:28 am #42

Last edited by John (Gold) on February 16th, 2009, 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 11th, 2003, 9:58 am #43

Whether the easiest or most challenging of your entire journey home,
the next few minutes will be entirely doable!
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 16th, 2009, 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 28th, 2003, 6:37 pm #44

There's only one rule - no nicotine today, NTAP!
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adnil
adnil

July 30th, 2003, 9:25 am #45

Thanks, I'm still smoke free!! And so is my son, he quit a week ago & I was able to share what I learned with him. He said, Wow, I didn't know one cigarette would put you back on the adddiction. He quit before and now understands it. Thank you, so.... much!!
Last edited by adnil on March 2nd, 2009, 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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