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A Better Year

Session 20180609
Mary’s Talk
“A Better Year”

Saturday, June 9, 2018 (Group/Hinsdale, New Hampshire)

Participants: Mary (Michael), Abby, Alex S., Brigitt (Camile), Daniil (Zynn), Debbie (Tamarra), Denise (Azura), Hernan (Hernan), Ivan K., Jason (Spensar), Jean (Lyla), Jean-François (Samta), Ken G. (Marcel), Lisa, Lynda (Ruther), Magdalena (Michella), Mark W., Michael C., Natasha (Nicole), Phil (Patre), Sandra (Atafah) and Val (Atticus)


MARY: I think last year was… Yeah, we’re just going to pretend last year never happened. 2017 just needs to be taken off the calendar forever. It was the worst year ever.

But this year is a much better year, and a year of firsts. As you guys can see, we got new puppies. There’s one at home, and Belle is my other one that is not REPLACING Polly, but she’s definitely making it a lot easier to adjust to not having Polly anymore, so that’s cool.

And just so everybody knows, I quit smoking. (Group applause and cheers) It was a major deal, because I never thought I was going to be able to do it. And I also wanted to thank Debbie and Phil for being there during the week that I quit smoking. And I didn’t turn into a bitch! (Group laughter and chatter) They are my witness that I did not turn into a raging bitch. I wasn’t nasty, and I actually pretty much sailed through it, which was pretty cool. I didn’t really have too much problem with it at all, which I was shocked about, but—

KEN G.: Did the dead guy have any suggestions to help you?

MARY: You know… Okay. So… (group laughter) the suggestions, the suggestions—

KEN G.: I call them suggestions because he KNOWS you.

MARY: Yeah, well, the suggestions are for everybody, right? You know how he says, “Make something else more important,” when you’re trying to break a habit? Well, I couldn’t really do that. I couldn’t come up with anything that was more important. (Laughs) I came up with three things that weren’t more important, but the three things combined were maybe—they might not have even been equal, but they were enough of a motivation to make me actually do it.

KEN G.: Tip the scale.

MARY: Yeah, because I started doing yoga, and… I could do yoga and be smoking, but I could do it a lot better if I am not smoking. And don’t ask me if I like it, because I don’t yet but I probably will, but right now it’s really hard to do. And yoga is really hard. I don’t know what I thought it was.

FEMALE: It can kick ass.

MARY: Yeah, I don’t know what I thought yoga was, but I think I had some idea that it was this flowy thing and it’s really not some flowy thing—it’s hard. And what’s really hard is trying to BREATHE while you’re doing all these THINGS, and you’re in all these weird positions and you’re trying to breathe at the same time. And I can’t deal with that many things at the same time.

FEMALE: It’ll come.

MARY: I’m committed to it. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll be good.

KEN G.: It's like riding a bike—it’ll get easier.

MARY: Yeah. So that was one thing. And then hiking, which I never thought I’d see myself as a hiker, but now I am, so that’s cool. You know, we take the dogs every day hiking on the mountain, which I could do that also and still smoke, but I can do it better not smoking.

And the third one was, I’m getting really tired of listening to my daughter bitch at me. (Group laughter) She bitches at me a lot, and so I’m getting really sick of it and I really am like… And I started to think about it, and I probably am playing with fire, you know, to continue to smoke, so I stopped. But it wasn’t because I found something MORE important than it, but at least I could combine those three things and it was enough motivation.

But what I think is interesting — I don’t know if this will happen for other people, but what happened with me is that I was really nervous about doing it, because I thought it was going to be really super, super, super hard. And the reason I thought it was going to be super hard is because every time I travel, you know you can’t smoke when you fly, which is always a real pain in the ass for me. I hate it, and I’m always jonesing for a cigarette when I get off the plane. So I thought it was going to be really hard like that.

But it’s funny, because it seems to me that once I made up my mind to do it, that was it. And it wasn’t hard. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting to smoke anymore or whatever, so it wasn’t hard. I mean, I didn’t feel anything physical.

LYNDA: A lot of people do.

MARY: Actually, the one thing that I DID have happen wasn’t from not smoking. I thought I would use the patch to help, which I could only use it for three days because it made my eyes swell up. I had the worst reaction. It made my eyes swell up really bad and turn really red and it hurt, and then by like the third day my face started to droop on one side like I was going to have a stroke! So, I was like, “Meh, I think we’d better not use this patch—I’m going to die from the patch, not from smoking.” (Group laughter)

So, I chucked those. And my daughter had suggested that I try just to use one of the last stage patches, which I did one and she said, “Okay, well put it on the most fleshy part of your body so that you don’t have a reaction to it.” So I put it on my hip, and then we realized at the end of the day that the patch wasn’t on me all day, it was on my pants (group laughter). So I figured I must not need it, because I didn’t even know that it wasn’t on me. So I was like, “All right, that’s stupid. I don’t need to do that.”

So really, I think that just putting your mind to something and making that decision, I think we build things up in our head about how terrible they’re going to be, and they might not be that terrible. And so, anybody that like…

You notice that Natasha left? (Laughs)

LYNDA: To have a cig. (Group laughter)

MARY: She didn’t want to hear this.

LYNDA: And Mark’s almost out the door. (Group laughter)

MARY: Well, anybody that is considering or thinking about stopping smoking, it might not be as awful as you might think—just sayin'. I mean, something to consider, that your brain makes it more of a big deal than it might actually be. I know when I was getting ready to quit I would have been really excited if somebody else would have been quitting and told me that they didn’t have any symptoms from it. That would have been really encouraging to me. So, hopefully I can help somebody else to quit.

LYNDA: (Whispering) 'Cause it’s bad for you. (Group laughter)

MARY: But (laughs), I don’t know. Other than that, I think this year is better, and I’m happier and things are going well. And it seems like other people are accomplishing things too, and that’s a good thing.

So I don’t have a whole lot to report this time, except for that things are going good.

LYNDA: Yay! (Group applause)

MARY: After last year, that’s good.(Laughs) Because last year was pretty awful.

Anyway, so all of that to say, and I’m not getting up to have a smoke before we start. (Laughs) There you go!

So, I guess we will start and let the dead guy take over and see where we go with it. (Laughs)

But I just want to say to all of you guys I’m really glad that you’re here, and really grateful for all of you. You are like really cool people.

GROUP: Us too. Ditto.

MARY: I love you all.

All right, I will see y'all on the flip side, and I’ll let the dead guy do what he does. Okey dokey!

(Talk ends after 11 minutes)

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