out my articles on going smoke-free,
right here. Then click on the Classes link to the
left and read my double guarantee for my Quit Smoking
class. You can't lose.
VARIOUS WORDS OF WISDOM:
worry about germs on doorknobs but don’t give a thought
to inhaling cancer-inducing toxins into their lungs many
times a day. Go figure.
"If pleasure was
the main reason for smoking, heavy smokers would be in
ecstasy all the time." Somebody in my class said
that (as a joke).
There is a huge
volume of new results-based research/therapy on how to
go smoke free, and you might as well inform yourself
about it. Smoking is voluntary behavior, so if you don’t quit on your own, nobody
else can do it for you. But you knew that. When
you have the latest knowledge about how to quit, it’s
much easier. You will wonder why you waited so
The first step to
quitting is to make the “unconditional decision” to do
so. That’s the moment you guarantee your success,
sooner or later.
And out of hundreds of people I know who have gone smoke
free, you may be the first one to say “I’m sure glad I
kept on smoking as long as I did!” If you can say
this, you will win a dream vacation, five nights in a
fabulous condo right on beautiful Waikiki Beach, Hawaii!
(Just kidding about the vacation part!)
DECIDING TO QUIT: I've heard it a million
times: "I HAVE to quit smoking." The truth
is, no you don't, if you are willing to accept the
consequences (which of course are not
guaranteed--you might beat the odds and have the last
laugh.) If you're
having trouble with deciding to quit, honestly ask
yourself if you are willing to accept the likely
consequences of continuing to smoke. Search your
soul. If the answer
is no, then you've just made your decision. Now
you're just looking for ways to do it.
THE WAY OUT:
The rule of
thumb is that smoking is always a cover-up for some
other issue we don’t want to deal with. Most of the
time it is a “small issue." A typical example of that
would be slight shyness or a mild discomfort in social
situations. In this case, smoking gives you something
to do with your hands in social interactions and takes a
little bit of your attention away from your discomfort.
Then this comforting social ritual becomes an addictive
habit. Or maybe the issue is boredom, "something
to do when you're doing nothing." In a few cases (maybe with 5% of smokers) there
may be a “bigger issue,” which may be associated with
prior trauma. As often as not, this trauma happened in
our early years when we lived the vulnerable life of a
child. Memories of the trauma are usually “put away,”
but the associated fear is still there and becomes a way
of life, a generalized, ongoing background of low-grade
fear, tension, jumpiness, or discomfort that the smoker
soothes with cigarettes. Even the thought of quitting
brings up these old feelings of fear.
The way out
of smoking addiction is to make some changes that deal
with the addictive and habitual nature of smoking, and
also to deal with the “issue” discussed here. For
most small issues, cognitive work helps change thoughts
to be more supportive of going smoke free now and from
here on out. For
those 5% with a bigger underlying issue, better to deal
with it now, because
why go through your whole rest of your life with that burden gnawing
in the back of your mind? The rule here is you
don’t have to re-experience trauma to heal it. You
don’t have to re-live it emotionally to get rid of it.
That’s the reason the specific memories are repressed,
it’s too painful to drag up again. The way out of the
lifetime burden of past trauma is to identify it,
describe it with minimal emotion to another person, and let it go. I’m not
saying this is easy to do, and it may take a while, but
it’s the most painless way to be free of bad things that
may have happened to us long ago. That smoking is
a smokescreen for.
HARDCORE SMOKERS: “I WILL QUIT SMOKING WHEN I’M GOOD
AND READY, AND NOT A MOMENT SOONER!”
I WANT TO
TALK especially to hardcore, confirmed smokers here. My
first message for you is to relax and keep on smoking.
No one is going to try to talk you into anything you
don’t want to do. Just get the information. You will
decide later what to do with it—act on it, or tuck the
info away for later.
message is that if you decide to quit, you won't until
you can do it without any fear or discomfort, period.
Make that promise to yourself right now. “I will not
quit smoking until I am good and ready!” Tall
order? Completely do-able.
worked with tough smokers like you for a long time, and
I know the discomfort (hopelessness, fear, worry) you
applies to you: trying to be considerate of
others, on the lookout all the time for places to smoke,
watching where your smoke is going because you don’t
want to make others uncomfortable, feeling "incorrect"
much of the time, confronting disapproval, wary of other
people’s glares, scared, defensive, semi-angry, down on
yourself, hopeless. It’s my observation that most
smokers are very considerate of others who are not
smoking, and so tend to isolate themselves from social
groups while they have a cigarette. Maybe you feel a
curious mix of concern for the comfort of others and a
resentment of the judgments of others. Here you are,
standing outside somewhere while inside the party goes
on without you.
of all is the double-bind of fear: scared of the
consequences of continuing to smoke, and scared
(terrified?) of living without smoke. Even the idea
of being without smoke is too much for some to deal
message to you is that you don’t have to live a life
themed by a low-grade, ever-present background of fear.
You weren’t born with a suffering gene, or some kind of
a curse to endure this. It’s like an abusive
relationship—“I can’t live with you, I am nothing
out exists. Fact: you are not unique, there are tens
of thousands of people just as hardcore as you, and
thousands of them have gone smoke-free, because the
truth has set them free. And they don’t ever miss it
steps? First, make the decision to be smoke free.
(This is the most important thing you will do, because
without the decision it means you are hoping for magic.)
Then get the information, and then get some help.
Overcome your reluctance or fear of seeking help to do
the following: Precisely identify the thought
structures that support your smoking. These thoughts
are deceptions (lies). Yes they are. All smokers know
they are deceiving themselves because no smoker would
ever advise someone else to start smoking as a solution
to their problems! Identify the emotions that these
thoughts trigger, or that are triggered by thoughts.
Create new, truthful thoughts about smoking. Don’t just
think those thoughts, learn and practice them, and teach
them to the back of your mind, so that they become
smoking and keep on teaching yourself the truth about
smoking, and at some point, a day, a week, a month, the
unexpected shift takes place—the back of your mind
suddenly “gets it,” and the desire to smoke is gone.
The nicotine withdrawal might last a day or a week, but
it won’t be that bad, you won’t mind it, you will get
over it quickly. You will be very happy when that
happens. You’ll still have the memory of smoking, but
it won’t fit into your life anymore. Your prevailing
thought will probably be “why did I do that for so
you what, if you have read this far you deserve credit
for your bravery. If you consider yourself a
hardcore cig addict, resolve that you are
not going to the class to quit, you are just going to hear the
information and figure out why it doesn’t apply to you.
Expect that you will not be hypnotized, it won’t work,
and then just sit and listen. In your mind you can
in everything I say. When you walk out at the end of
class, you can light up and smoke a cig to prove that you are
your own person. It will be easy to keep on
smoking, since it’s not a
contest of wills, it’s just information, it is all
positive, no scare tactics, we don’t try to control
people. That's because we can't control people. It’s your life. You are the one who
smokes, and you are the one who will quit. IF and
WHEN you make the decision.
NONSMOKERS THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN SMOKERS
Nobody needs to
smoke. Period. We all know it's very harmful to our
health and the health of those around us, not to mention
the expense, the inconvenience—and now the increasing
social disapproval. You have heard about a robber’s demand
“Your money or your life!” In this case, it’s both.
OK, so great, what can you do about it?
There are various ten-week quit smoking classes
available, and books hundreds of pages long for those of
us who treat smokers. But the bottom line for
quitting and remaining a nonsmoker from
here on is simple and straightforward.
The habit of smoking is based on two
things: the mild physical addiction to nicotine, and
the subconscious belief in a set of lies or untruths which
create the much stronger psychological addiction.
(Example: "I need a cigarette.")
To understand how mild nicotine addiction
is, remember that a person can be a heavy smoker, even
several packs a day, and still function just fine in
daily life. If a person were a heavy heroin user, a
heavy alcoholic, or user of some other hard drug, he or
she would not be able to function very well--keeping a
schedule, driving around, earning a living, handling
money, caring for others. In the short run, even
in the medium run, cigarettes are not very
impairing. But because the addictive nature of
cigarettes is so low, it takes a lot of them to satisfy
the desire, and the number smoked tends to creep higher.
When a person stops smoking, the physical
craving is gone in a few days, at most. But what
remains is the psychological addiction, an entirely
This brings us to the lie. At a deep level
of the mind, smokers have to lie to themselves all the
time to sustain their habit. Untrue beliefs are
translated into thoughts, such as: “I need a
cigarette,” “cigarettes help me relax,” etc. This is
not true, because you might want one but you
don’t need one. Nonsmokers experience stress
too, and they deal with it without even thinking of
smoking. As these
beliefs are replaced with the truth, the urge to smoke
disappears. It becomes a memory, with no desire to
differently than smokers. When you think like a
nonsmoker, you don’t even think of smoking, no matter how
stressed you may be.
The most effective therapy, by far, focuses
on stopping the lies smokers tell themselves all the
time, consciously and subconsciously, and replacing
them with the truth. This can be relatively easy for
some and difficult for others. It takes, first, a
decision to “quit without discomfort,” and an
understanding of the job of re-educating the
subconscious to the truth as outlined. This is where
brief hypnosis is such a help. You should notice
changes right away, because we are speaking directly to
the subconscious. It is likely you will end your
smoking habit here. The “hard cores” take a little
longer. But above all, if you find you are still
smoking, do not give up on yourself or on this process!
Just continue to
speak the truth and sooner or later the truth will set
you free. That’s the way it works. Continue smoking
until the desire dies. This is the best single
step you can take to protect your own health.
be so happy you quit! When you are a nonsmoker you may look back
on how strange it was. “I was doing something I
disliked and I couldn’t stop doing it.”
If you are smoking, you are invited to
attend my monthly class at
The Learning Exchange (916)
929-9200. It’s an educational class, not therapy, all
positive, nothing negative, no scare tactics, and free
of pressure. I will explain this process thoroughly and
help you put a quitting plan together. We will do
a hypnosis demo to get the message to your subconscious. You may want to
buy my Return to Nonsmoking CD for $15. The rest is up
to you. For “hard cores,” I will need to see you in my
office, and I have a guarantee I offer here which you
Please note that when you quit it will be
“discomfort-free” so there is nothing to be scared of.
If you are apprehensive even after hearing
“discomfort-free,” it’s the illusion (lie?) talking.
Nonsmokers are not scared of staying smoke-free.
They are happy to be rid of it.
An excellent book on this subject is “The
Easy Way to Stop Smoking,” by Allen Carr, highly