Freedom's History, Policy & Staff

John (Gold)

2:38 AM - Aug 10, 2000#1

Freedom's History, Policy & Staff
HISTORY - One of our wonderful new arrivals has asked if we could share a bit about Freedom's history and the expectations that we have for our members. We've never done this but it does seem like a fair and reasonable request. Maybe we can get our other co-founder, Joanne, to chime in and share her perspective as well : ) Well, here it is - the good, the bad and the ugly. Where do we start?

Freedom from Tobacco had its birth on September 8, 1999. Today, as far as we know, we stand alone as the only on-line nicotine free "Cool Turkey" (cold turkey) support group in the entire world. Why cold turkey? Isn't that discriminating against folks who want to quit using nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum, patches, sprays and inhalers)? No, there are scores and scores of on-line support sites that advocate or make welcome the use of NRT. No one is being forced to be here. We don't dispute those studies that conclude that NRT's gradual nicotine reduction method is "EFFECTIVE" in helping 1 in 10 NRT users remain tobacco free after one year. We do dispute leaving 9 of 10 behind.

Here we admit that we are nicotine addicts. As nicotine addicts we also admit that any future use of nicotine will cause us to relapse, regardless of how long we remained nicotine free. We've come to understand that there is just one rule that we need to follow to forever remain free from our addiction - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF ! Here, self-motivation, in-depth addiction education and the caring support of fellow nicotine addicts, offer hope to all in need. Freedom, like NRT, has never made a single smoker quit smoking. Only strong desire can do that. Instead, we feed desire, we educate desire, we nourish desire and then we stand back and watch desire take flight.

Last September, Joanne and I, whose quits were both born at another on-line site (Blairsville), co-founded Freedom for one simple reason - we thought we could help others. Looking back, I don't know who we thought we were, thinking that we knew enough to help others, yet still we ventured far from the nest. My cold turkey wellbutrin assisted quit was not yet 4 months old. Joanne, my mentor, had 8 months of cold turkey under her belt and to me she was one of the most experienced and caring quitter that I had ever met. Joanne brought along her loving heart, those big hugs and the sincerest genuine compassion that you're ever going to find. I brought my "power of positive thought" message that I "thought" would cure the entire smoking world. With such a team, how could we miss? Well, little did we know, just how little we really knew.

Three months earlier, on June 15, 1999, a story written by Sue Landry, a newspaper reporter with the St. Petersburg Times, was published. It told of the final days in the life of Bryan Lee Curtis, Jr., a two pack a day smoker who had just turned 34. It contained a powerful picture of Bryan on his death bead that was taken just 64 days after he was diagnosed with a quick spreading form of lung cancer (small cell) that is reserved almost exclusively for smokers. Having been quit for just one month, I read Bryan's story and it hit me hard. "That could of been me!" "That could of been me!" I just couldn't get his picture out of my mind.

I e-mailed Sue Landry and thanked her so much for sharing Bryan's inspiring story. To my surprise, Sue wrote back asking if she could interview me (a recent on-line quitter) as part of a follow-up piece. Two follow-up stories were published on June 22nd and I found myself referenced in both (John R. Polito). These links to the two stories.

All of the sudden Bryan's death took on even more significance in my life. In that Sue inked Bryan's story with the promise that it would be retold and shared with the world, I immediately started construction a web site to ensure its preservation without any commercial involvement. By July 15th Bryan's story was being featured and shared at I've shared this as background for my motivations and continuing involvement. In listing on-line support groups at WhyQuit, I put Freedom's link first in hopes of attracting new members.

Back at Freedom, things were pretty slow going for the first month or so. I remember Joanne visiting chat rooms across the internet where she stood upon a soap box and begged smokers to pay us a visit. I just covered my eyes. Believe it or not, she did it! Between her efforts and those who arrived via WhyQuit.Com, smokers started showing up! At first, running a new support group seemed like an extremely rewarding way to invest our time. A simple thank you every now and then was all the fuel we needed to keep us rolliing along. Although we didn't known much about quitting, we sure did know how to hug a smoker to death. It didn't take too many months before we started realizing that we were hugging many into relapse.

When a member made their first post after relapsing, we showered them with so much comfort and so much affection that it made relapse just a normal and acceptable part of the quitting process. It almost seemed like some would relapse just to feel the tremendous support and warmth generated by their act. Our relapse rate far exceeded our success rate. Oh it wasn't any worse than what we witnessed at all the other boards, but this our board - this was FREEDOM - and the hurt slowly grew as by March over 100 members had been left behind. Although many felt that we should be happy about the few who were making it, our frustrations grew. Our hugs and positive attitudes were simply not cutting it.

The body count was frightening. Going back through old posts almost felt like walking through a grave yard of deceased friends. For every success story around here there were at least seven or eight relapses. Was quitting some sort of race were there was only 1 winner for very 8 losers? It sure seemed like it. When God finally sent us Joel back on January 20th, we were starving for truth. I knew that I didn't have the strength to continue to watch this much longer and I felt that Joanne growing discouraged too.

It was almost like Joel picked-up Joanne's bleeding heart and my dying spirit, as he cradled us both while feeding our hunger and nursing our wounds. Why was this guy here? What was a professional smoking cessation instructor of 30 years, with a wonderful on-line library that was filled with years and years of wisdom, taking us under his wing? Why did he care? Why?

I quickly learned that all of Joel's thousands of clinics had been cold turkey but I still didn't see the harm in NRT and he didn't push his ways on us. We took from his library want we wanted and he was always there to answer our questions. When Joel arrived our motto was "Smoking Is Not An Option" and it appeared at the end of hundreds of posts. I remember the day when Joel mustered the courage to correct us. His post told us that we were wrong, that smoking again was ALWAYS an option for every quitter. He told us that the only way to quit and stay quit was to "NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF." I thought about it and I laughed. How corny can you get! It seemed he was missing the entire point of our mantra. It only took watching a dozen or so more relapses before all of us saw light and discarded the "OPTION" in favor of NEVER."

One thing that was starting to become a bit more obvious to us was the pattern of nicotine withdrawal pains being experienced by our NRT users at three and four months into their quits. Their posts were usually labeled as some sort of "terrible day." Often they were associated with attempts to stop using the nicotine delivery device. These, "I'm having terrible craves," posts were devastating to the moral of cold turkey quitters in the middle of "**** Week." Imagine the thought of "**** Week" lasting for three full months instead of physical withdrawal peaking at 72 hours and then beginning to gradually subside. Still, we were not making the connections nor were we asking the right questions.

I think it may have been subtle hints by Joel in reply to our continuing frustrations and/or some of his clinic articles that briefly mentioned high cold turkey success rates, but I began to silently dig into the literature so as to not offend Joel, as I still didn't see any harm in NRT. The first thing I did was to use the "Quitting Aids" links page we'd put together to visit the official home page of all the NRT quitting aids. I was searching for the studies that they used to show the long term (one year) success rates of their products. I was shocked to find that NONE of them shared any study data whatsoever, nor did or gave any specific success rates. They just kept echoing the t.v. commercials in saying that NRT was "effective" and that it doubled your chances of quitting. But doubled what?

What we found blew us away. When Joel was confronted with all this he simply said that he waited for us find out for ourselves, as too many of our members were playing with nicotine and he didn't want to make waves. I've attached below a a quick summary of what we learned. The only thing I'd add to it is that we adopted a tough love approach to relapses that teaches rather then cuddles and that challenges rather than hugs. I hope this gives you some perspective on how Freedom came to be and what led us to "Cool Turkey."

STAFF - Let me briefly discuss our Staff structure and tell you a little about what each of us does behind the scenes. Freedom has three managers who establish group policy and select assistants - Joanne, Joel & Zep. Joel has taken responsibility for making sure that we have the literature necessary to give each of us a well rounded addiction education. I have responsibility for the keeping our links current and for putting together and updating our Start Date Page (with help from Joanne : ))). Joanne, by far, has the most responsibility. Joanne is responsibility for our daily updating of our Home Page, in supporting members support, in keeping track of each of our quit dates, including historical posting data, and in trying to track down long term members who sometimes disappear.

Freedom currently has 4 assistant managers, Linda (Grumpy), Randy (Cdnguy), Joy (Zarefah) and our newest assistant Kathy Christine. Randy is our graphics wizard and Linda, Joy and Kathy are Joanne's right arm. We selecting new assistants we look for folks who appear to have the time to devote to Freedom's mission and the desire to help others. No one at Freedom has ever received a single penny in connection with any service that has been given. Talking about pennies, we just retired Penny after months of wonderful service to Freedom. We don't expect any assistant to give more than a couple of months but we're having a bit of trouble shaking a few of them " ))))

P.S. We are always on the look out a JAVA/HTML expert, graphic experts and a webmaster or two : ))

MY BIO - Last, as requested, I'll tell a little about my background and maybe some of the other Staffers will do the same. My birth name is John R. Polito and I'm the father of two wonderful daughters, Carmen 20 and Amanda 18. The name Zep has nothing to do with a rock group. I fell in love with the word zephyr (a breeze from the West - born in the Rockies and now live in SC) and I added "istic" (characteristic of) to come up with Zephyristic, my unique December of 1996 internet name. Soon everyone was shortening it to just Zep and it stuck. I served in the U.S. Naval Submarine Service for 9 years (73 to 82) making 7 FBM patrols. After sea duty I went through instructor training and taught Poseidon and Trident missile and support systems to officer & enlisted students for 4 years. During that time I was certified as a Master Training Specialist. In 1982 to 85 I attended USC School of Law where I graduated Wig & Robe. I was in private practice from 85 to 00 here in Summerville.

I've also taught as an adjunct professor in the Political Science Dept. of what is now Charleston Southern University. My greatest joy prior to helping establish Freedom was being a community activist (library expansion/parks/campaign chairman/tree ordinances/cell tower regulation/highway safety/sight conservation). Today I no longer actively practice law, I closed my law practice in February, and I have no idea whatsoever where my future will lead. I do know that I greatly enjoy seeing smokers get excited about reclaiming their lives. Enough said - sorry to ramble! Breathe deep hug hard, live long, Zep
Cold Turkey/NRT
When a person addicted to nicotine completely stops putting all nicotine into their body, physical withdrawal from nicotine peaks within 72 hours, and withdrawal symptoms then begin to gradually subside. A blood test at 72 hours will confirm that nicotine is no longer in the blood system. By the end of their first week the quitter will notice that the frequency of their craves and urges has started to ease. But even though all nicotine is out of the blood their craves continue to occur.

Although physiological (physical) withdrawal from nicotine is complete, psychological withdrawal continues. Years and years of tobacco use has conditioned the user''s mind to expect to receive nicotine upon the occurrence off certain events, at specific times or when experiencing various emotions during the smokers day and life. Examples of these triggers that generate craves for nicotine may include things like: waking-up; having coffee; reading, typing or using the internet; talking on the phone; driving a vehicle; upon encountering the stress, anxiety or worry produced by work, finances or relationships; during celebrations or other joyous times; when around other smokers; during breaks from work, upon leaving buildings, while consuming beer or alcohol; after the passage of a certain amount of time without ingesting nicotine; or even in association with funerals, births, weddings or romance. While still a smoker, when one of the smoker's triggering events is encountered, the smoker would reach for their nicotine to satisfy the very minor crave generated by the trigger.

But what happens when the nicotine addict quits using tobacco and stands up to their craves by refusing their mind's command to ingest nicotine into the body? As any nicotine addict will tell you, the triggered crave starts growing in intensity. During the 72 hours of nicotine withdrawal these craves can be very intense and feel like they are going to last forever. But, after 72 hours of nicotine withdrawal the intensity of the craves begins to gradually decline. If the craves are timed, each will be seen to last for only a few minutes at most. The hardest part of quitting is now over and the healing has begun.

When a particular crave trigger is encountered and defeated, encountering that particular trigger again will not normally generate a crave. The mind of the quitter has been re-conditioned to not expect nicotine during the occurrence of that particular event, emotion or time. Most triggers will be reconditioned with a single encounter but a few may require additional encounters before reconditioning is complete. As the former tobacco user encounters and defeats more and more of their trigger generated craves, the cravings gradually grow further apart and weaker in intensity. The amount of time required before withdrawal is substantially achieved varies from quitter to quitter depending on the number of psychological triggers they have created over the years, and how fast each trigger is encountered and reconditioned.

There is a tremendous difference between the intensity of the first 72 hours of withdrawal and the remainder of the time that it takes to recondition the triggers. When physical nicotine withdrawal is occurring at the exact same time that all of the psychological triggers are intact and attempting to induce nicotine ingestion, the hours become intense. But again, within 72 hours withdrawal has peaked, the blood is nicotine free, and the former smoker starts sensing an easing up. By day 90 the former tobacco user has encountered and reconditioned so many triggers that they should be experiencing some totally crave-free days.

Support - Getting through the first week of a "Cool Turkey" quit without ingesting any nicotine into the body is critical. On-line group support can help provide the new quitter with the knowledge, skills, understanding and compassion necessary to aid them through the challenges of the first week. The greater the involvement in learning from the group, interacting with the group, and providing support to the quits of other group members, the easier it will be for the quitter to maintain their vigor and resolve. The positive peer pressure generated by active participation in the group setting isn''t much different than the negative peer pressure that may have contributed to the smoker experimenting with tobacco as a teenager. Although family support is wonderful, if they''ve never been addicted to a powerful substance, it is often difficult for them to fully appreciate what withdrawal is like.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) now comes in many forms. Nicotine's delivery into the body can occur by means of nicotine gum that slowly releases nicotine when chewed (1984), by using adhesive nicotine patches that are placed on the body and deliver nicotine through the skin at a constant rate (1992), with nicotine nasal sprays (1996), and by means of nicotine vapor inhalers (1998). The theory behind all forms of NRT is basically the same - delay physical nicotine withdrawal for up to 90 days while giving the smoker time to recondition their psychological crave triggers.

The NRT television advertisements and commercials falsely imply that MOST smokers who use a particular NRT product are victorious in defeating their addiction. Nothing could be further from the truth. An exhaustive 1999 study found that the success rates for each of the above forms of NRT is basically the same. On average, only 22% of NRT users remain nicotine free at the end of THREE months (gum 20%, patch 21%, spray 24% and inhaler 24%). It only gets worse from there. The FDA patch approval study, and most other long term studies, have concluded that 9 out of 10 NRT quitters will relapse prior to one year.

When you subtract from NRT''s 10% success rate (1 in 10) from the percentage of smokers that the studies claim would have quit without using NRT (about 5 %) you are left with approximately 5% of all NRT quitters receiving any benefit whatsoever from NRT. That's 1 in 20 smokers being helped by NRT!!! In light of the dismal performance of NRT products, new literature from the U.S. government attempts to convince us that we should not define success "on the basis of permanent abstinence" from tobacco. Nonsense - utter nonsense!

Why do 9 out of 10 NRT users fail to succeed in quitting for one year? They fail for a variety of reasons. The most obvious reason is that ingesting nicotine into a nicotine addicted body delays physical withdrawal and causes the user to endure chronic withdrawal symptoms during the entire time that nicotine is being administered. Although NRT provides users with varying amounts of nicotine, none provide 100% of the dosage that the NRT user was obtaining from tobacco.

Further, unless the NRT user becomes addicted to the NRT delivery device, they will eventually stop using the device and be forced to endure some physical nicotine withdrawal at a time when most have already spent their energy and resolve in just getting to the recommended cut-off time. By comparison, the "cool turkey" quitter defeated their physical nicotine addiction during the very first week of withdrawal.

Consider this. There has never been a single study comparing nicotine fed quitters (NRT) to nicotine free quitters (72 hours). If there was, Cool Turkey would blow NRT completely out of the water. Such a study will never be done as it won't give doctors anything to prescribe and it won't give NRT makers the billions of dollars they hope to reap. There isn't a dime to be made in cold turkey quitting.

In almost all NRT comparison studies in which a "placebo" is given to the cold turkey group, the placebo contained a small amount of nicotine. Some studies call it a therapeutic dose. I've got a nicotine patch study here in front of me that states that the placebo patches contained 13% of the nicotine that were in the nicotine patches. Another one that states that placebo gum contained < 1mg of nicotine. I can't help but think that these so called scientists have either missed the boat or have never been addicted to nicotine. If you feed any quitter a small amount of nicotine, they never become nicotine free at 72 hours, but instead are placed in serious chronic withdrawal. Why do they lace the placebos? I have no idea but it has become the norm and apparently no one is questioning it. If you feed crumbs to one group and feed the other well, which will starve to death first?

No quitter in the history of the world ever quit because they used an NRT product. They quit because they had the resolve to quit. A one in ten success rate might be deemed "EFFECTIVE" by the United States Government but it just isn't going to fly here at Freedom. as we refuse to leave the other 9 behind.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:52 PM - Jun 23, 2009, edited 1 time in total.


8:36 AM - Aug 10, 2000#2

ZEP, thank you for taking the time to write this...I enjoyed reading it very much. Will we be hearing from the rest of the staff at Freedom as well? Hope so. Thanks again...I think it is wonderful what you and Joanne have done! You just want the best for your family! :>))

GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

9:31 AM - Aug 10, 2000#3

To Joanne and Zep.....

big hugs and thanks for being brave enough to attempt the undertaking you have....for without your determination and zeal in helping others this community would never have gotten off the ground.

Me, old grumpy, well on January 3, 2000, after smoking for 41 years and a few half hearted attempts to quit during that time, my husband and I decided that it was do or die time for us.....In our late 50's, we realized that time was flying faster than the speed of sound and we did not have many more opportunities to quit before our health was in serious jeopardy....unbeknost to us....changes were taking place in our bodies. They were caught just in time, I hope.

I spent my first five weeks of my quit at another quit smoking site and while it saved my life and got me to see that I could not only quit, but really and truly enjoy it, I did not care for the way that it was run. Too many threads on silly topics unrelated to smoking, and to many failed attempts where people did not really take quitting seriously, brought me to Freedom. Sat here reading for a couple of weeks until Joanne coaxed me out of hiding....somewhat like she has done to other members here. The rest is history. Once I started talking, they could not shut me up!

In 1963, I graduated from Ohio State University Dental School with a degree in dental hygiene. Stopped to raise my family and worked only one day a week for a couple of years. Have a son and two daughters....all have degrees in different fields....son is a chemical engineer for Eli Lily Pharmaceutical and heads their production safety, older daughter is a social worker and works with abused children and my baby, Susie, has her degree in Criminology and is a police officer for a large suburb of Cleveland. After a year and a half, she has just been promoted to investigator and recieved a gold badge......she is working undercover and loves it. Going back to school at night to get Law degree or Biology degree for forensics. Have four beautiful granddaughters....all out of town.

I live in a suburb of Cleveland where I manage a CVS pharmacy in one suburb, and my husband of 36 years is a pharmacist, for Rite Aid in another.

Both here and at work, I enjoy interacting with people. I am, and always have been a people person. And in both places I tend to do a lot of mothering....even when I get angry at work.....they say ok, mom.....and smile. If I get angry, and I have here, it is only because I care. I care for each and every one of you just like I care for my customers and staff at work. When I chastise, and I try not to, there is a twinkle in my eye.....cannot stay angry long and cannot stand to see someone here suffering. It tears my heart apart.

Online support has saved my life and to give to others what has been given to me....the gift of why I continue to stay here.

On another note.....My husband, Hal and I have had the honor and privelege of meeting Joanne and Joel last May in Chicago and also got to attend Joel's seminar. They are everything you see here on the board....since, warm, loving and caring...with a strong desire to see each and every member here at Freedom break away from a terrible addiction. We had such a great time, in fact...that SillyOldMrS and I are looking forward to visiting with them again in 4 weeks.

To all our old members and to all our newest members....may your lives be healthy, happy, and smokefree.

hugs to all,

Linda........Seven months, six days, 9 hours, 19 minutes and 21 seconds. 4387 cigarettes not smoked, saving $750.17. Life saved: 2 weeks, 1 day, 5 hours, 35 minutes.

picture......Joel, Joanne, and the old
Last edited by GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) on 3:54 PM - Jun 23, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Joanne Gold

2:29 PM - Aug 10, 2000#4

Well geesh! What can I say after all that...Zep did all the explaining (thank God) and Linda even posted my picture. (what would I do without you Linda) ; )) So now what?

I am sitting here thinking how fast time goes by, is this place really about to hit its one year milestone...wowsers. : ) As Zep mentioned our quits started off at another support board. I remained active there for quite some time (until Freedom became too busy)...I really enjoyed helping others...made some awesome friends there too. Zep and I were the class clowns...we humored our way through our addiction..we had a graphic for every situation at that board....we really had some fun..we even hosted Friday evening milestone parties. lol Then on September 8th, 1999 Zep sent me an email with Freedom's URL.. I wasn't too impressed when I came here (lol)...looked pretty interesting but we didn't have members......posting to ourselves seemed a bit futile (hehehe)...I told him I would give it a try for a few weeks. We played with graphics set up guidelines...changed forum structure and learned some Zep mentioned, I embarrassed him and did some PR work in internet chat rooms...he wasn't kidding..I really went looking for people and they LISTENED..THEY CAME : )) I sat in those chat rooms bragging stats...telling them all about online support and what a wonderful roll it played in my quit. It was slow going but even with the few members we had it was very rewarding. Then less than a month into Freedom's existence on October 5, 1999 my quit was tested to the max, the unimaginable happened...I received a phone call loving brother had been robbed on his way home from work...he was shot to pieces. I ran to the rescue of his family..walked into my brother's house to face his sobbing wife, five children and my 83 year old father who lived with them. I didn't know who to help first...I could hardly stand on my own feet. On the kitchen table was my brothers opened carton of cigarettes...I took some glances and shook like crazy. Within moments the house began to fill with friends and family who received the horrible news as well...even people who didn't smoke were smoking......

Talk about online support dear friends, I received and phone calls from around the world...really amazing.

I thank God that I only settled for that glance that night...never even touched one cigarette. Until this day I truly believe my brother sent me graces from heaven...(I was always bugging him to quit smoking)

Those graces keep coming .....thank you Zep for inviting me to come work with you and for explaining today the wonderful values of this great forum...for the endless hours you spend making sure we stay safe and sound from a very scary addiction....thank you Joel for your priceless wisdom.....thank you Freedom.

Smoking is history for me now craves at all.... but never shall I become complacent as I will always be an addict and remain one puff away from a full blown relapse.

We just cannot learn enough about our addiction...we need to be aggressive folks...our lives are precious. Stick with it dear friends...LETS NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! : )))

With love and gratitude...

Your quit sis - Joanne ; ))


7:24 PM - Aug 10, 2000#5

What a bunch of beautiful people to be able to call my friends!!! If anyone can help you quit, these people can. Listen to them!!!


I have said no to the very nasty smoking habit for: 8M 1W 3D 8h 4m 17s. I have NOT smoked 8901, for a savings of $1,776.79. Life saved: 4W 2D 21h 45m.

R b rt

7:53 PM - Aug 10, 2000#6

Great! This is great, and it's just the type of thing I was looking for. Everyone should read this - FIRST . . . . . . this is even BETTER than I expected, because not only do we have a NAME or NAMES that we can "our leaders", "our cheering section", "our guiders" and "OUR FRIENDS" . . . but we also now have a FACE to go with the NAME.

This is great (did I say that already?) THANKS ZEP, LINDA & JOANNE.


-robert- DAY-10


9:24 PM - Aug 10, 2000#7

Dear Zep, Joanne and Linda!!!

I know i've said this before, but i honestly can't believe that i've quit smoking cold turkey and not touched a single sickarette since my quit date...i still can't quite come to terms with the facts...but you know what....i would never have been able to do it in a thousand years on my own...this site has been the foundation of my quit and is still the support mast!!!


your quit sis,


One month, three weeks, 9 hours, 37 minutes and 45 seconds. 1028 cigarettes not smoked, saving £241.58. Life saved: 3 days, 13 hours, 40 minutes.


9:49 PM - Aug 10, 2000#8

Wow... thanks for the awesome histori-post Zephyristic -- even I learned a thing or two. And I must say, I am truly honored to be a part of this family. Oh, I had my hissy-fit when the whole NRT / Cool Turkey thing started. I just didn't understand the big picture. But I do now. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: thank God for people like Zep, Jo, & Joel, and their sheer determination to save lives. I can't count how many times Jo has been there for me, to help me through a crave in the past, or a difficult time... much love to you, sis. And I can't leave out Linda -- she always knows how to cut through "stuff" and always brings a smile to my face. And Joel -- Zep is right in that he is a Godsend. Thing is, so is Zep a Godsend too (for a lawyer, that is!! hehehe).

I really don't feel much deserving of the "Asst. Mgr" status. Although I was an post-a-holic a few months back during my early quit days, life and work have prevented me from participating here to the extent that I would like. Occassionally I throw a graphic or two together, and try to help out a newcomer, or someone struggling. I'd like to give back as much as I can, and will try my best to do so.

A bit about me -- (the Reader's Digest version): I found this Freedom group last December, did a 24-hour "mini-quit" between Christmas & New Year's (and drove everyone here bananas that day!), and finally quit smoking on Jan 17.00. Now 6 months and then some into my new life, I live in the burbs outside of Toronto, Canada, and work in the e-commerce industry as an Online Marketing Manager with an e-procurement company.

Welcome to all our new friends - you can do this, and it is SO, SO worth it ! And congratulations to all our family who continue living free from the horrible addiction of nicotine and tobacco.


Randy (Cdnguy)

John (Gold)

10:05 PM - Aug 10, 2000#9

Just so it's all in one place I guess we should share our pics too! Hope you don't mind me tacking yours up here Randy. Do you mind if I tell everyone that I'm the guy with all the hair! Ok, ok ... Randy is on the left : ))


11:07 PM - Aug 10, 2000#10

LOL! Sure - as long as you'd don't tell them that's me 20 lbs ago!! :-\

bear (Golden)

7:08 AM - Aug 11, 2000#11

This needs to go to the top. I can't say how appreaciative I feel of people like all of you who can care enough to tough it out and take so much of your time and energy to help others. Thanks for helping me to have the success I feel so far in this quit. I really feel this time I will never take another puff. The support from this group is powerful!!!

Four days, 19 hours, 1 minute and 50 seconds. 86 cigarettes not smoked, saving $14.02. Life saved: 7 hours, 10 minutes.


1:20 PM - Aug 11, 2000#12

WOW! Reading all of this has been great. Actually being able to see pictures of those I've come to care about so much be- cause they were willing to reach out to a smoker who wanted to quit. Oh, how I remember the first post I recieved after my first 24 hours. It was so up lifting and encouraging. And what was funny was that the first 24 hrs was rough. I was ready to cave in. But after reading that post I knew I wasn't in this alone. Their were others here that knew and understood exactly were I was at. It gave me the strenght to go on. It wasn't to please the managers or asst, it's because they helped me to see the self esteem that I had in myself to continue. What a blessing and ex ample they've been for me. I would like to take the time to say Thank-you to each and everyone of you. Your hugs, and tough love have been great. I consider it a blessing to be a part of this big and growing family of "Freedom From Smoking". And just to let you know that you have my total support in this forum. I'm like the rest of you. I enjoy helping others but most of all I enjoy seeing the nicodemon defeated in the lives of nicotine addicts as they realize for themselves that they have a problem. For myself I never knew I was an addict. But I am. And I will " Never Smoke Again". Deb I have been Quit for: 2M 3W 23h 50m 15s. I have NOT smoked 3319, for a savings of $461.44. Life Saved: 1W 4D 12h 35m.

quitting in Alaska

1:41 PM - Aug 11, 2000#13


Thanks for the background, Zep, Joanne, and Linda. It is great to hear the stories and to know how Freedom got started. I know I am new and may not have all the right words and advice. But....receiving and sending mail to all of freedom's members has carried me (and others) through a tough addiction. Thanks for the support, and thanks for being there when we need you,Zep,Joanne, Linda, Joel, and all the members of the freedom family. By the way where is Suz, I miss her.

Nancy in Alaska


2:37 PM - Aug 11, 2000#14

I must add my thanks to everyone elses.. Its amazing how things this unfold and grow. Tears streaming down my cheeks as I read, feeling proud of total strangers, thier struggles and accomplishments are to be shouted from the roof tops.


Nora (Gold)

10:00 PM - Aug 11, 2000#15

This is TERRIFIC ! Thanks Zep & Joanne for starting FREEDOM and sharing your personal information with us. Joel, your Library is the best. I need to keep on rereading it. Linda, the old one? You've got a long way to go baby!!! The rest of the staff & friends are the greatest also.



9:53 AM - Aug 12, 2000#16

Wow, I am glad to see the whole history written out so clearly. Sorry I was gone the days it was buzzing. For my background I am attaching my personal home page here. I noticed the links to my library seem to be down. On the bottom of my homepage is an alternate link to the library, under the button labeled reinforcement materials. I hope this fills in any blanks of information, although I think Zep did a good job at capturing our history and more important our present and future goals.

Hang in there everyone. The way to do it is simple...Never Take Another Puff!


My homepage with current links to the library:

11/06/2010 revision: noticed link to homepage above no longer exists. The link to the page with my personal background is .
Last edited by Joel on 12:35 PM - Nov 06, 2010, edited 1 time in total.

R b rt

12:04 AM - Aug 15, 2000#17

Hello all . . . I noticed a few more "newbies" today and just thought I'd post to this message to get it back up top !!!

One week, six days, 12 hours, 7 minutes.
Life saved: 5 hours, 35 minutes.

bear (Golden)

8:06 AM - Aug 23, 2000#18

Just had to bring this back. Too important for anyone here to miss!

Still enjoying my honey! Barry

Two weeks, two days, 19 hours, 59 minutes and 48 seconds. 302 cigarettes not smoked, saving $49.24. Life saved: 1 day, 1 hour, 10 minutes.
And proud of it!


8:40 AM - Aug 23, 2000#19

What a wonderful post. We must keep this on top so everyone gets to read it. It brought tears to my eyes as it has for othersa to.

Thank you wonderful FREE people for caring for us. It's so terrific being able to put faces to the names.



7:56 PM - Sep 08, 2000#20

This has been a VERY enjoyable thread...and...Zep...I think that Jay's the one with all the hair! (Sorry, had to say it) Thanks to all of you for sharing your lives to help others live theirs. GJ

Bolko J

11:03 PM - Sep 08, 2000#21

Hello Joanne, Joel, Nancy, Zep and others:
for bringing my life back.
P.S. Jola quit "by herself", without Fredom support, but she loves this site as well.

nomadfaerie gold

3:24 PM - Oct 14, 2000#22

Hi Guys -

It's so late now that I can't possibly comment on this to the extent that I'd like to (and as you might have already observed, I do like to comment), so I will reserve that for another time. But I could not let this pass without sayng at least "Wow!" and "Thank You!"

What a great article! My impression about the structure and hx of Freedom was a lot different, including my impression of the individuals who are devoted to carrying this on. You guys are even more awesome than I originally imagined!

Thank you for this and good night!




1:53 AM - Oct 25, 2000#23

Thank you for this wonderful site Joanne, Zep, Joel... this has probably saved so many lives. Ever since I found this site a little over a week ago, I have been totally addicted (better that than nicotine, huh?) But I have wondered who was doing this and why, and now I really know who to thank.


2:34 AM - Oct 26, 2000#24

This is wonderful, is this history also available thru a link on the site? I realize this thread is getting a bit long but wanted it on top for new joiners to read! Thank you Zep, Joanna, Joel and assistants for your support and hard work on this site!

Nora (Gold)

1:58 AM - Oct 30, 2000#25

Joel, that is great. Maybe we could all recommend this site to our Doctor's. It could make a tremendous difference.
Thanks again, Zep, for starting this thread.