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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 (or want to support quitters), 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!

Want to make sure you never miss us? Follow (♥) the GUS tag to keep GUS in your Stream. It's just that easy!

A message to all quitters: you don't have to avoid GUS if your latest attempt to quit didn't work out. We won't give you a bad time and we consider the attempted quits as "practice" for the real quit.

So much of the behavior modification process is focused on preparation: coming to terms with whatever it is we need to change, admitting we need to make that change, doing our research to find out what that change will entail, figuring out a plan of attack, making sure we have some kind of support network in place so we feel safer in making the change, setting a date to change, counting down to the change...basically, a whole bunch of effort aimed squarely at The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

The Day Things Change.

We're pretty much ready for that moment, even if we don't feel 100% safe or secure in the decision. We run scenarios in our heads, work out our back-up plans, figure out coping strategies, even mentally rehearse what we're going to tell people if our efforts don't work out the way we hope. There's something comfortingly predictable in the way it all goes down for most of us, too. Maybe it's just as bad as we feared---or perhaps it's not as awful as everyone told us it would be---but The Day is The Day and no matter how it plays out, it stands out as a milestone. Different than the day before it. Special.

What most of us aren't prepared for is the next day, or the day after that, or the many, many UN-special (but sometimes frustrating and difficult) days to follow. We expend so much effort preparing for Quit Day, we often forget to plan for what comes next.

And when we reach that point, many of us are completely thrown for a loop. So much energy expended on just working up the courage to do what you're doing, so much focus on just finding your way to the party, and all of a sudden you realize that once there, you're going to be expected to mingle, sometimes way outside of your comfort zone, with rusty or nonexistent skills and the stress dialed up to eleven. Oh, and your fly is unzipped, there's toilet paper stuck to your shoe, or your skirt is tucked into the back of your panty hose.

This is often where a quit is derailed. The new quitter may realize they have no earthly idea what to do next, where they're supposed to go, how to get there, what getting there even feels like, and how to recognize all of the pitfalls they need to avoid on the way. Early in the quit, it often feels like you're traveling forty miles of bad road, with disconcerting hairpin turns, dips, potholes, and the occasional roadblock, all seeming like some kind of deliberate cosmic plan designed to make you fail.

It may help a little to realize that the unknown is scary for almost everyone. Even the most forward-thinking, optimistic, hope-filled soul among us has at one time or another dreaded what the future might bring, or worried that things would go wrong despite our best intentions.

The paths we take are not always clear. Anxiety or fear of the unknown is part of the human experience, but we don't always react to it in ways that are healthy or good for us: we may bluster our way through, lash out at others, or project our anxiety and fear onto other things or even other people. We may turn our frustration or anxiety inward, retreating into self-harming, counterproductive, or negative behavior and thought patterns. We may even try to ignore things entirely, procrastinating or putting off things until the decision is taken away from us.

These reactions are all very common, very human ones. Heck, I've done all of them at one time or another; I'd hazard a guess most of us have! We don't always get it right the first time, or the next, or even the time after that---and that's okay. As long as you keep at it, you're likely to learn that what comes next is not something to be afraid of, but rather, something to be embraced. You've made it this far...the only way to go from here is onward and upward!

                   
                   

The brave & forward-thinking GUS Buddies:
1BQ, 3rdGenFeminist, Abra Crabcakeya, Actbriniel, addisnana, AfroPonix, aishmael, Alise, Alpha99, A Man Called Gloom, ambeeeant, American in Kathmandu, amk for obama, andsarahtoo, angry marmot, Anne933, anodnhajo, aoeu, aquarius2001, arcadesproject, Archie2227, arodb, Arthur Wolf (in memoriam), assyrian64, awkawk, b4uknowit, bamablue, BARAKABETH, barnowl, b barrie, bdizz, beatpanda, Beefydaddy18, BFSkinner, bgblcklab1, BigAlinWashSt, Bike Crash, BirderWitch, BJKay, bleeding heart, blingbling65, blue husky, Blue Intrigue, BluejayRN, BlueJessamine, bluestatedem84, BoiseBlue, boudi08, Brahman Colorado, breedlovinit, BrenP, Bronxist, BrowniesAreGood, bsmechanic, buddabelly, burrow owl, BusyinCa, Carol in San Antonio, CathiefromCanada, CathodeRay, CDH in Brooklyn, cee4, Cen Den, ChiTownDenny, ChocolateChris, ChurchofBruce, ciganka, cinnamondog, citizenx, ClapClapSnap, Cleante, Code Monkey, codobus, Coldblue Steele, Colorado is the Shiznit, coloradomomma, commonmass, Common Sense Mainer, congenitalefty, coppercelt, dadanation, dangoch, DarienComp, Dauber, Dauphin, Dave in AZ, Dave in Northridge,  demkat620, Dexter, Diana in NoVa, Dickie, DiegoUK, Dingodude, dirtdude, distraught, djMikulec, dolfin66, donnamarie, Donna O, dotsright, DRo, droogie6655321, Dube, duckhunter, Eclectablog, Eddie C, EdgedInBlue, effervescent, elbamash, El barragas, el vasco, ericlewis0, Everest42, Ex Con, ezdidit, fhamme, Fineena, fiona2, fishhawk, Flea, flumptytail, fritzi56, FrugalGranny, Garrett, Gator, gchaucer2, GDbot, Geiiga, GenXangster, Georgianna Darcy, glpaul, GN1927, gooderservice, gooners, gravlax, greylox, grndrush, GrumpyWarriorPoet, gzodik, Haole in Hawaii, HappyinNM, 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, Janeo, JayinPortland, jayjaybear, jbou, Jeffersonian Democrat, jmadlc55, jmonch, Joe's Steven aka Steven, john07801, johngoes, jsfox, JVolvo's Mom, jwinIL14, kai99, kailuacaton, Kamakhya, kat herder, Kelly of PA, kestrel9000, khloemi, Khun David, Kitsap River, kittania, Kodiak54, Kristina40, Ksholl, labwitchy, Lady Kestrel, ladypockt, Lahdee, langerdang, LarsThorwald, LA rupert, last starfighter, LaughingPlanet, Laurie Gator, Lipstick Liberal, litoralis, lmdonovan, lockewasright, Lonely Texan, longislandny, luvsathoroughbred, maggiemay, magicsister, mango, Marc in KS, marknspokane, maryabein, Matt Esler, mdemploi, Meteor Blades, Micburke, michael1104, MillieNeon, Minerva1157, MinervainNH, Missys Brother, mjbleo, MnRaindog, mntleo2, Morague, Mr Bojangles, mrsgoo, mskitty, msmacgyver, MsWings, Murphoney, nannyboz, ncsuLAN, NearlyNormal, Nedsdag, Nick Zouroudis, notgivingup, NY brit expat, OleHippieChick, one pissed off democrat, Onomastic, operculum, OrangeMike, Ordvefa, Overseas, OverTheEdge, pager, paige, PaintyKat, paradox, parryander, paulitics, Pennsylvanian, phrogge prince, Positronicus, post rational, Proud Mom and Grandma, psycho liberal, ptolemynm, Purple Priestess, PvtJarHead, racheltracks, randallt, ray bob, 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, Sanuk, Sark Svemes, sboucher, scooter in brooklyn, Scrapyard Ape, seenaymah, sfbob, sgary, Shahryar, sheddhead, shesaid, Shifty18, shmuelman, shopkeeper, sidious666, slowbutsure, smartcookienyc, smeesq, Smoh, snoopydawg, snorwich, SnyperKitty, SoCalHobbit, sofia, soonergrunt, sostos, sowsearsoup, SpecialKinFlag, spmozart, spotDawa, SpotTheCat, StateofGrace, Statusquomustgo, stiffneck, sunbro, Super Grover, Syoho, tallmom, Tay, tdslf1, teknospaz, theatre goon, The Eyewitness Muse, TheGeneral, TheStoopingRabbit, TigerMom, tiredofcrap, TomP, tonyahky, Toyotabob7, Treefrog, triciawyse, trs, trueblueliberal, ttanner, Tulsonian, Turn VABlue, Turtle Bay, Tyto Alba, uc booker, UncleCharlie, Unduna, Unforgiven, ursoklevar, USArmyParatrooper, VA02 femocrat, Vacationland, valadon, Vayle, Vetwife, vgranucci, Village expects idiot home soon, waytac, webranding, weelzup, Wes Opinion, Whimsical Rapscallion, willy be frantic, willy mugobeer, Wood Dragon, wolfie1818, Wordsinthewind, Wreck Smurfy, x, xopher, yet another liberal, Zotz
Has your life been affected by smoking or smokers in your life?

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Originally posted to Vacationland on Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 04:28 PM PST.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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