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 title=GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.

You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out!

 title=Good evening, GUS folks of the newbie, old-timer, or lurkey variety. I know some of you are hunkered down and trying to weather the storm tonight; others -- like yours truly -- are dealing with the usual wintery cold and waiting for our turn to duke it out with Mother Nature (and I'm sure a few of you are reading this from a nice, warm place with glorious sunny weather; if that is the case, please don't rub it in our faces, okey dokey? Super! Thanks a bunch.)

So, I was kind of in the dumps last night. It was a terrible news weekend, I've got a lot going on  both at work and on the homefront and I'm having some difficulty juggling it all, and with seasonal depression making its annual, unwelcome visit, I'm kind of slogging through the too-short days and too-dark, too-early nights with less than my usual cheer, despite my best efforts.

I was stumped for a topic (not having had the time nor the inclination to research anything new or even write much), so I decided to watch a funny DVD to cheer myself up a little. As you may know, I ♥ Mad Scientists & Misunderstood Evil Geniuses, so I went with Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog. I settled in to listen to the opening number, a little ditty called Laundry Day:

                                                     

Cute, right? But Dr. Horrible's actually kind of tortured, frustrated guy, and he built his Freeze Ray so he could get the upper hand on a life that was feeling a little out of control. He wanted to make time stop long enough to figure out solutions to his problems, uninterrupted, so he could get what he wanted and live happily ever after.

Sound familiar?

 title=It got me thinking about time...how we sense it getting away from us on occasion (as if only a few extra minutes here or there would fix everything), how it seems to crawl when we're struggling, how it whizzes by or runs out when we're overloaded, and how it seems to do all of those things at once when we're dealing with Big Life Changes (like moving, job-hunting, beginning or ending a relationship, handling death or illness, and yes, quitting smoking too). The pace of life can feel maddeningly slow or overwhelmingly stressful, depending on who you are, how you approach things, and how well you handle change.

For a lot of us, the answer to that last one is "...not very well at all. But hey, thanks for asking!"

Smokers (and other addicts, as well as a lot of the people in their lives) tend to have comparatively crappy or at least non-standard coping skills when faced with stressful situations, and many of the most stressful things involve change (in circumstances, interpersonal relationships, or behaviors).  

When faced with change, our stress levels tend to ratchet up pretty quickly, and for many of us, it triggers a sort of variation on the classic "fight or flight" response.

Some of us will grit our teeth, suck it up, and roll with the inevitable (no matter how unpleasant), but a lot of us kind of dig in our heels or -- more commonly -- retreat to our comfort zones, the things that are familiar and safe. When things feel shaky, we crave the stability of the known, rather than embracing the unknown. Many of us figure out a go-to response and stick with it, come Hell or high water.

And a lot of us get stuck there, stubbornly clinging to the tried and true. Happens all the time.

 title=We all know someone (heck, maybe we ARE that someone) who finds their groove and refuses to budge, no matter how negatively it might be impacting their lives.

It can be something as innocuous as sticking with the same hairstyle or clothing preferences for thirty years, or something as damaging as sticking with an abusive partner or a toxic workplace. It can be something minor like never trying new foods, or something life-altering, like maintaining an addiction because we fear what life will be like -- what we will be like -- without it.

And so you get stuck. Frozen in time, stuck with behaviors or responses or people or situations you've outgrown. It's tough to break through that, especially if your gut is telling you to play it safe.

Dare to get un-stuck.

Defrost yourself, all at once or gradually, a degree or two at a time. Whatever works.

Just know that the alternative should not be an option.

 title=You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment and now you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it...
U2, Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of

                                                     

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1BQ, 3rdGenFeminist, Abra Crabcakeya, addisnana, AfroPonix, aishmael, Alpha99, A Man Called Gloom, ambeeeant, American in Kathmandu, amk for obama, andsarahtoo, Anne933, anodnhajo, aoeu, aquarius2001, arcadesproject, Archie2227, Arthur Wolf (in memoriam), assyrian64, awkawk, b4uknowit, bamablue, BARAKABETH, barnowl, b barrie, bdizz, beatpanda, BFSkinner, bgblcklab1, BigAlinWashSt, Bike Crash, BirderWitch, BJKay, bleeding heart, blingbling65, blue husky, Blue Intrigue, BlueJessamine, bluestatedem84, BoiseBlue, Brahman Colorado, breedlovinit, BrenP, BrowniesAreGood, bsmechanic, buddabelly, burrow owl, BusyinCa, Carol in San Antonio, CathodeRay, cee4, Cen Den, ChocolateChris, ChurchofBruce, citizenx, Cleante, Code Monkey, Colorado is the Shiznit, coloradomomma, Common Sense Mainer, congenitalefty, coppercelt, dadanation, dangoch, Dauber, Dauphin, demkat620, Dexter, Diana in NoVa, Dickie, DiegoUK, Dingodude, dirtdude, distraught, djMikulec, dolfin66, donnamarie, Donna O, dotsright, DRo, droogie6655321, duckhunter, Eclectablog, EdgedInBlue, effervescent, El barragas, el vasco, ericlewis0, Everest42, Ex Con, fhamme, Fineena, fiona2, fishhawk, Flea, FlipperWaves, flumptytail, FrugalGranny, Garrett, Gator, gchaucer2, Geiiga, Georgianna Darcy, glpaul, GN1927, gooderservice, gooners, gravlax, greylox, grndrush, GrumpyWarriorPoet, Haole in Hawaii, henlesloop, HeyMikey, hideinplainsight, High Tide, hiliner68, hold tight, hulibow, I love OCD, Im a frayed knot, imisa, Indexer, indubitably, indyada, Interceptor7, inventor, I said GOOD DAY sir, itsbenj, Jahiz, JamesEB, janl1776, JayinPortland, jayjaybear, jbou, Jeffersonian Democrat, jmadlc55, Joe's Steven aka Steven, john07801, johngoes, jsfox, JVolvo's Mom, jwinIL14, kai99, kailuacaton, kat herder, Kelly of PA, kestrel9000, khloemi, Khun David, Kitsap River, Kodiak54, Ksholl, labwitchy, Lady Kestrel, ladypockt, Lahdee, langerdang, LarsThorwald, last starfighter, Laurie Gator, Lipstick Liberal, litoralis, lmdonovan, lockewasright, longislandny, luvsathoroughbred, maggiemay, magicsister, mango, Marc in KS, marknspokane, maryabein, Matt Esler, mdemploi, Micburke, michael1104, Mikeguyver, MillieNeon, Minerva1157, MinervainNH, Missys Brother, mjbleo, MnRaindog, Morague, Mr Bojangles, mrsgoo, mskitty, msmacgyver, MsWings, nannyboz, ncsuLAN, NearlyNormal, Nick Zouroudis, notgivingup, NY brit expat, one pissed off democrat, operculum, OrangeMike, Ordvefa, OverTheEdge, paige, PaintyKat, paradox, parryander, Pennsylvanian, phrogge prince, Positronicus, post rational, Proud Mom and Grandma, psycho liberal, ptolemynm, Purple Priestess, PvtJarHead, racheltracks, randallt, real world chick, red mittens, Reepicheep, regis, relentless, revelwoodie, revsue, Rex Manning, rexymeteorite, RiaD, rickeagle, ridemybike, rightiswrong, rincewind, rkex, roadlion, Roger Fox, Rosebuddear, roses, rscopes, Rudini, Safina, SallyCat, Sark Svemes, sboucher, scooter in brooklyn, Scrapyard Ape, seenaymah, sfbob, sgary, Shahryar, sheddhead, Shifty18, shmuelman, shopkeeper, slowbutsure, smartcookienyc, smeesq, snoopydawg, snorwich, SnyperKitty, SoCalHobbit, sofia, soonergrunt, sostos, sowsearsoup, SpecialKinFlag, spmozart, spotDawa, SpotTheCat, StateofGrace, Statusquomustgo, sunbro, Super Grover, tallmom, Tay, teknospaz, ThAnswr, theatre goon, The Eyewitness Muse, TheStoopingRabbit, TigerMom, tiredofcrap, tonyahky, Toyotabob7, Treefrog, triciawyse, trs, trueblueliberal, ttanner, Tulsonian, Turn VABlue, Turtle Bay, Tyto Alba, uc booker, Unduna, Unforgiven, ursoklevar, Vacationland, valadon, Vayle, Vetwife, vgranucci, waytac, webranding, weelzup, Wes Opinion, willy be frantic, willy mugobeer, Wood Dragon, wolfie1818, Wordsinthewind, Wreck Smurfy, x, yet another liberal, Zotz

 title=Had some experience with the effects of smoking?

Has your life been affected by smoking or smokers in your life?

Feel like providing a supportive place for quitters and would-be quitters to hang out?

If so, we would love to have you write a GUS diary or host an open thread! Please sign up in the Butt Can (Tip Jar), and name the day and time that works for you (AM, PM, late-night, early-bird...)

Regular diary slots are indicated by **asterisks** but you don't have to commit to that...a random, whenever-you-can-find-the-time diary would be just fine by us, and very much appreciated!

      Mon PM: **Vacationland** (You Are Here)
      Tue AM: Open!      
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      Wed AM: Open!!
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As you can see, there's plenty of room on the schedule, especially over the weekend. Gonna be around and willing to take a hosting slot? We love to hear from new voices! Not sure where to start? Go here to find out how to host GUS the easy way!

Originally posted to Vacationland on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 03:57 PM PST.

Also republished by gussians.

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