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THE MYTH OF QUITTING SMOKING

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The Myth of Quitting SmokingMost people are under the impression that quitting smoking is difficult. It seems to be an absolute undeniable truth that is perpetuated by the media, by the medical-industrial complex and by our friends and relatives. However, there are tens of thousands of people who have become non-smokers after years of smoking, and for them, once they made the decision, it was easy for them. It’s a bit like learning to ride a bike. Before you do it, riding a bike seems to be impossibility. However, once you have that first feeling of balancing, you never turn back. You will never go back to being unable to ride a bike. Let’s look at the question of quitting smoking and how difficult it is.

Allen Carr, one of the gurus of smoking cessation, would ask a smoker if they could go back to before they started with the knowledge they now have, would they have started, and the answer would always be, “no”. He would also ask, if they had children, if they encouraged their children to smoke, and again the answer would be,” an absolute no”. So, it is clear that every smoker has awareness that smoking is not something to desire. However, there is a part of them that is compelling them to smoke. Every smoker is a schizophrenic on some level. One aspect of their mind, the conscious mind, wants to stop while the other aspect, the unconscious mind, wants to smoke. The key is to reach that unconscious aspect that wants to smoke and shift its belief that smoking is good and desirable to the truth that smoking is a deadly poison that is killing them. Please know that it is not about the nicotine.

Nicotine’s effect is easy to overcome once one has decided to quit. In fact, the physical effects of nicotine withdrawal are fairly minor and short lived. Many smokers have had the experience of quitting for weeks and months, long after any nicotine has left the system and then allowed themselves to have “just one cigarette” only to find themselves smoking again. This is about a frame of mind and not the nicotine. The nicotine did not make them smoke that first cigarette. To be clear nicotine does have an affect, but it is not what makes the difference between becoming a non-smoker and not. Just like gravity has an affect on bike riding, but it does not determine whether or not we are able to ride a bike. The focus on the nicotine is what makes quitting so difficult. Do not give in to the misguided belief that nicotine is what prevents smokers from quitting.

If we believe quitting is hard, and that it will be a sacrifice or that there is something to give up, then of course it will be difficult. A smoker who quits and pines for the cigarette is an ex smoker who is bare knuckling it and will eventually, in a moment of weakness, break down and smoke. This is the hard way and many smokers take this path.

However, if one takes a clear look at smoking, what it has to offer and what it takes from us, we can come to the clear conclusion that it must go. Fear may block our ability to take an objective look and our unconscious mind will spin the excuses and justifications. Please be aware of how the mind can confuse this process. Once we can see the insanity of it, the next step is to make a clear decision to never smoke again. There is nothing to give up. There is nothing that the cigarette actually gives a smoker that is pleasurable. It is just an illusion. The pleasure came from the associations that were made with the act of smoking, but not the cigarette itself. We linked smoking with being with our friends, with relaxing, with escaping, with taking a break, with food, with sex, with something to dispel boredom. We can have all of these pleasures without the cigarette. It is not the cigarette. It is the connections we made that linked smoking with these pleasures way back when we started as teenagers. Once the decision has been made to quit, rather than focus on the illusion of what we might be missing, focus on the absolute freedom and joy that being a non-smoker brings. How wonderful to be free.

Make the decision now and set a date, you won’t regret it

Andrew Rader

Andrew Rader, LAc, MS is an Hypnotherapist, Acupuncturist and Herbalist located in Marin County just north of San Francisco. Andrew studied smoking cessation hypnosis with Will Goodey and has been in private practice since 1988. Andrew has more than 25 years of experience with helping people quit smoking.

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