"There is this apocryphal tale of a smoker, who one day whilst out driving spontaneously decides to quit smoking forever. He or she then proceeds to toss all the cigarettes and matches out of the car window, and promptly gets pulled over by a cop for littering the highway.
The story ends with the rejoinder that after such an experience the smoker never smokes again...."
'As told to the author in 1995 by an insurance salesman,
who claimed that it actually happened to him ...Hmmm?'
Devise A Method
Does it not seem to you that getting rid of cigarettes begins a little bit like the opening scene from Macbeth....?
All of a sudden there is this thunder and lightening, high drama, omens, and the knowing and the flickering urge from the subconscious....'get rid of cigarettes or else...'
The next day, providing procrastination has not set in, planning begins.
A bit of an idea taken from here, some dimly remembered advice from there, reflections upon the last time there was a serious attempt, etc....
Next it all gets put into the mental pot and stewed on and stirred until cooked...
The results examined and tailored into a method that suits...
Then it's 'get psyched up and take a run at it'....
There are probably as many methods for getting rid of cigarettes as there are smokers who have succeeded. For most, simply tossing away the cigarettes did not provide a permanent solution to the problem.
The author has tried many times to stop cold, but these efforts always ended after a few weeks (usually the statutory two), with an abrupt return to smoking. As he got older it became increasingly difficult and eventually reached the point where he could not stop smoking even for one day. He would create methods to help in cutting down, and for a while be very disciplined in their pursuit only to discover a few weeks later he was back at it more heavily than before.
Eventually he got triggered (by the right kind of fear) into making another attempt not to quit but to control smoking by cutting down. (Smoking was still highly enjoyable, it was the runaway addiction and diminished health that were the main problem.) So a method was devised, distilled from the experience of many years and many attempts. However, it soon became abundantly clear that smoking does not take any prisoners. Complete abstinence would provide the only valid solution. After thirty years of continuous cigarette smoking, it was not possible to be retrained to live happily with three cigarettes or so, per day; IT SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT.
Once he had gotten rid of cigarettes, he was very glad and was happy for matters to remain that way. Not that there isn't that occasional momentary pang of desire or longing for a cigarette...the survival art is to sublimate it (the pang) into a treasured memory, just like the memory of a dear friend who has died.
By popular demand, what follows is another, fuller version of the core of the method used. It has been broken down into phases and stages, each phase appears on a separate web page
Phase 1 - Plannning and Motivation
Are you well motivated? A load of vague nonsense will not get anyone very far.
For example: Do you have any idea of the results you want to achieve? If smoking is the only source of pleasure and you get rid of cigarettes what will you put in their place? Misery is not a useful result. Being haunted by the threat of getting lung cancer is reason enough but can leave matters hanging, what will you put in place of the mental discomfort? Hopefully it will be peace of mind, but how?
The priority is to get rid of cigarettes but the side effects, if not properly taken care of, can lead to abandoning the attempt.
This all needs to be approached in a practical way, so plan:
- Gather together all the results of your researches so far,
- Put the pieces of the puzzle together
- Get to see the picture
- Make your intentions crystal clear to yourself
- Decide how you are going to go about fullfilling those intentions
- Know what results you expect to achieve.
- Get started...
- In the light of experience, adjust the plan as neccessary
- Keep on researching, re-write new mission statements and maxims as needed
- As you change, change to adapt...
Use workmanlike phrases to produce a series of self statements. Create maxims that can be written down and saved as well as being committed to memory...
- "I ..........(name) admit, that I have already damaged my health through cigarette smoking. I am also justifiably worried that if it continues, I will contract cancers and other fatal smoking related diseases. I am getting rid of cigarettes from my life in order to reclaim good health and to minimize any future risks to it."
- "I...........(name) admit, that I am addicted to cigarette smoking and that it has become powerfully habitual. My smoking is no longer under my control. I urgently need to get rid of cigarettes now before it is too late (in every sense) and before I become unable to stop."
- "My hand may grip the cigarette, But smoking has me in its grip."
- "The way the world is going, soon there will be nowhere left in public that allows smoking. So, I had better get rid of these cigarettes and all that comes with them sooner, rather than being stuck with an impossible way of life later."
- "If I do not set a better example to my children, they will also smoke. So I am stopping immediately, and will inform them of my reasons and encourage them not to smoke."
- "Only I can get rid of cigarettes for me, no one else can do it for me."
It is up to you to find out what moves you most acutely; get the courage to say it; try not to be embarrassed admitting to having fears, especially fear of disease, or in admitting that you might have little self control. This method will not only help you get rid of cigarettes and but also help in getting a better grip on life.
And now it's time to move on to phase 2...
Let it Pass.