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Breaking Free

"Getting rid of cigarettes...,
is about dignity and self worth,
is about health and improving the quality of life,
is about being clean, energised and able to do.

Having gotten rid of cigarettes is...
To live anew without the penalty of 'having' to smoke.
No longer bound by an addiction.
Free to discover that they did nothing
and were never ever needed.."

adapted from "the Smokers' Home Companion"


This is the beginning of the 'Titanic Struggle', all the previous work was but preparation to arrive at this point....
  The following exercise is designed to be facing and spark the incentive and 'ATTITUDE' that will initiate this mission impossible to get rid of cigarettes.
  The way to proceed is to put yourself in the picture of a sequence of five probable scenarios, presented here a series of rooms.

Gangrenous Smoker Smoking!   Room the First.....Imagine you are back in hospital, alone and frightened. (Last year your left leg was amputated because of gangrene due to your smoking). This time you have terminal lung cancer. You are are in great pain, hooked up to all manner of medical machines and have two weeks to live, cigarette smoking got you here. Nurse Bungee Cord comes into your room and instead of disappearing almost immediately as she usually does, turns into an angel. You are offered two wishes, what will they be?
  The first amongst many possibilities could be "To have your health completely restored".
  The second would then have to be "To be able to successfully get rid of cigarettes" or you will be back in the hospital in no time at all.
  You then wake up and find it was all a dream. From this room there is no way out.....

girl smoking in corner   Room the Second.....This could look like a prison cell or a trap, it carries with the sense of being cornered or having no other option. Here you are sitting alone on a stool, musing, perhaps feeling a little folorn, smoking cigarettes and coughing, wistfully bemoaning your fate to be stuck in this place. You are moaning about how smokers are treated nowadays and cannot imagine living without your smokes. You believe that the situation is real and refuse to leave. There are two ways out from here, the way back out is faint and keeps disappearing, the way to the hospital (the first room ) keeps getting stronger.

B and H ad Party 1989   Room the Third.....There is a party going on in the midst of a thick cloud of tobacco smoke, the room is full of people smoking like its going out of style, you are arguing with each other about cigarette brands, you along with everyone else are proudly proclaiming to the other that you can 'QUIT' any time you like. Inwardly you know this is a lie since you have all tried several times and failed. This is the room called "The Chamber of Increasing Self-Deception". You fail to notice the people leaving through the door to room two, since more keep coming in. There are two ways out from here, and many ways in.

Joe camel   Room the Fourth.....This a vast arena of comings and goings, seething with the confusion of a market place. Everywhere there are advertisements, booths and recruiters urging you to smoke, a few ineffectual warnings telling you not to. There are innumerable doors of all colors shapes and sizes, each with a different name.
 A continuous stream of people, mostly young, are entering through a one way door marked "Over 18", as they enter packs of cigarettes are thrust into their hands by the recruiters. Ignoring much of the scene they head straight for the party in room three.
  Every now and again there is a commotion as a door bursts open and a wild eyed man or lady, busily lighting up a cigarette, comes rushing in, proclaiming loudly to all that they have had enough of quitting!
  Scattered here and there are individuals and small groups trying to make up their minds to leave. In a cloud of smoke, they are researching methods and discussing strategies. Every now and again some of them begin to head towards the many ways out but are intercepted by friends or someone from the army of recruiters.   A few make it all the way and leave, but most of these exits are connected to a cruel maze that sooner or later leads them back into this chamber.

Smokers Home Companion Cover

  The Exit... You have found an exit marked "Self-Determined Effort". It opens into a barren desert with a road running through it, this is the wilderness of your coming struggles. You have just stubbed out your last cigarette and are making for the door, you are prepared, you know it will be tough, but you also know that there is no other way to go. You feel the tug from the arena and can hear the haunting echo of voices from the third room urging you to come back in and join them. Urgently, you must leave now, without delay and keep to the yellow brick road of your hopes and lasting intentions.....

 Room the Fifth..... This is not a room, it is a panorama new possibilities. Months and more likely years from now you will arrive here, it is the place of your final liberation from cigarettes, yours to discover. What will you find in it...?

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