Posted in Relationships, Writing

How I Quit a 2-Pack-a-day Habit

a lit cigarette in an ashtray
Image via Wikipedia

This is a synopsis of how I quit smoking two packs of cigarettes per day after 9 years without any medical substitutes or mental health assists almost 20 years ago.

I started smoking Lucky Strike unfiltered cigarettes shortly after joining the Air Force.  My uncle had smoked the same brand–they were my favorite.  I always loved  the smell of Camel cigarettes too.   Not sure exactly what got me to start smoking but once I started I was hooked.  That is until I met my wife.  I chose not to smoke in our house, and tried to quit a couple of times after we got married in our first year.  I just couldn’t shake the habit completely but managed to reduce the amount by probably a pack.  Our first home together was in Alaska.  About a year after we married, I was stationed in Washington D.C.  I knew I wanted to quit for many reasons–one of them being the “low sperm count” attributed to smoking–I wanted to be a daddy!

My wife and I also had really deep, intellectual conversations that really made me crave time with her as much as I craved cigarettes.  So, I tried to figure out how to satisfy both cravings.  This challenge turned out to be my pathway to successful smoking cessation.

In base housing at Bolling AFB, they had mailboxes mounted to the house just outside the front door which weren’t used because they had larger mailboxes at the end of the driveway.  I decided that I would make myself smoke only half a cigarette, put it out, then deposit the unfinished cigarette in that mailbox just outside the door.  If I craved another smoke, I forced myself to go outside and finish the unsmoked half a cigarette!  Well, I’m here to tell you that the remaining half of a once smoked cigarette doesn’t smell or taste the same as a new cigarette!  With this new self-imposed requirement to satisfy my cravings it wasn’t long before I was down to half a pack a day, then 5, then 3.   Pretty soon, I was down to smoking only one cigarette per day.  I enjoyed much more time conversing with my wife and playing card games than I was wasting out on the front stoop.

I finally decided that the amount of time wasted smoking really wasn’t worth the time invested, and besides–it always made my clothes and breath stink!  From the time I began my half-cigarette smoking requirement to quitting totally was probably two months.  It’s been almost twenty years since I quit smoking cigarettes.

Do you have a unique story about how you quit smoking?  I’m always fascinated by what motivations and methods people use to quit bad habits…like chewing fingernails–I recently quit that habit too!

Cheers!

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia, Uncategorized, Writing

Love of Clubs ~ The Social Cure

Colored Bullseye
Image via Wikipedia

Power to the people!  A review of Wikipedia and Meriam-Webster on  the definition of a “club” boils down to this:  An association of people with common interests and purpose.  Members generally make some form of commitment to the group in the way of participation at meetings and also contribute their time, ideas and resources.

Clubs are basically a womb for people with similar passions to give life to activities, products, and ideas.  Being a member of a club provides affirmation that you are a writer, a fisherman, a reader, a farmer, a skater or gymnast, a ham radio operator, a hot air balloonist…the list goes on!

While driving down the road today I realized that there are few clubs/groups where members come together with the intention of becoming more depressed, mad, frustrated, unhappy or despised.  What a revelation! Granted, after thinking about it a while, its obvious, but maybe so obvious that we may not realize the significance of this fact.  The protests that are sweeping through dictatorships across the Middle East are an example, just as a members of a book club, Christmas in April, Girl Scouts, Knitting & Quilting Guilds are examples of people uniting for a purpose and affirmation of their desires, hopes, and beliefs to satisfy their need to belong and be identified as “one of them.”

With all the positivity generated by those within clubs, perhaps some of the answers to our social failures and political ambitions are to be found in increased recruitment or the creation of more clubs? Is it possible to influence and reinvigorate an economy, a political party, improve environmental conditions, revamp a social benefits program or an education system through the activities and participation in a club?  My hunch is yes, people united in purpose can change the world.  A quick review of history and current events proves  it!

The key to transformation by your group or club is transparency, social exposure of the charter or intent of your group, followed by active recruitment and participation by all members.  Social media is one of the fastest ways to promote your club.  I found a very interesting link to Social Media Clubs with a full index (by city) for the United States as well as other countries.  For all who are searching for a place to start or regain momentum with a hobby or passion, I say jump on the bandwagon and find a group or club near you.  We only live once, and time waits for nobody!

Cheers!

Posted in SocialMedia

Twitter Hashtag Chat Group Index

Free twitter badge
Image via Wikipedia

Hello again everyone!

This will be a short post to expound upon my tweets about my latest effort to support my Twitter cohorts.

A couple of days ago, I was tweeting about stumbling across #TChat (Talent Chat) on Twitter and how awesome it was to find another chat group.  One person I follow, Dean Clevett (aka @DinoDinosaur1)  from Ontario, Canada, posted this in response:

@justasked Wouldn’t it be great if someone came up with a directory of #chat

So, I racked my brain for an easy-to-use, widely accessible location.  My initial choice was Wikipedia.  Within seconds after posting my new page, there was a notice posted to my account and on the page from the gardeners of Wikipedia to delete the page.  Their comment was that with Twitter, an unlimited number of hashtags were possible, and that they would let the Library of Congress handle this “listing” since they archive all tweets now anyway.   My rebuttal stated that I didn’t want to catalog EVERY hashtag on Twitter, just those used for Chat or Focus groups.

To make a long story short, before I knew it I had violated several “rules” Wikipedia has for management of their pages.  Finally, one individual called me a newbie and suggested that I take my content to Wikia!  Alas, a solution that doesn’t have SO many rules!  And thus, I present you with our new “Twitter Hashtag Chat Group Index.”

It’s easy to add your own Chat Group or Community of Interest Hashtag to this Wiki page!  Your only requirement is to create an account, be patient with yourself, and experiment!  If it seems a bit too daunting for you, feel free to email me with your hashtag, a brief description of the purpose of your group chat, and what day/time of the week you convene your chats.  If your group also maintains a Fan Page on Facebook pass me your link and I’ll add it as well.  I’m happy to help!