Phase 2 - Regulation and Control
Stage 1 - REGULATION
If you are like most smokers you probably smoke on demand. The urge comes and before you know it you've lit up! Just like that, you find yourself smoking here, there and everywhere you can. By now you are heavily addicted. Much in the spirit of the old TV program The Outer Limits, It is neccessary to take away the decision of when, where and why to smoke, from your control and place it elsewhere. For the purposes of getting rid of cigarettes the control will be the clock.
Phase 2 will be an attempt to regulate and again REGULATE your smoking addiction.
This is best described by first using an example: If you normally smoke around 40 cigarettes per day, then that ammounts to one cigarette every 24 minutes. If it is 50 per day then that is one very 20 minutes.
To begin: Taking the case of 50 per day, from the time you get up, wait 20 minutes and then light up. Thereafter smoke a cigarette every 20 minutes - WHETHER YOU WANT ONE OR NOT.
Regular as clockwork, light one up. And make a record of the fact that it was done.
And it won't be long before you are running into all kinds of difficulties with this. You might have to miss smoking one or two cigarettes, because it says to do exactly what it says to do: Smoke 1 cigarette every 20 minutes.
A practical way to manage this, is to in advance, work out the times when you will smoke a cigarette. Rather as if you are making an appointment for each cigarette. In this be tolerant and allow a five minute window. But if the appointment can't be met then the instruction is to carry on smokeless to the next appointed time, and then light up.
Stage 1A - JOURNAL
At the same time some other matters will need to be attended to...
- Keep a daily chart of when and how many cigarettes were smoked that day
- Maintain a journal where you write down your experiences, and what it is you find your self thinking and feeling as a result of what you are doing.
- In noting your feelings, try to spot what it is you are having difficulty with. For example finding yourself 'waiting' for the next cigarette, or if you are experiencing trouble with cravings, etc...
- Think how you might handle these problems and make note of possible solutions.
- Write down your statements or new maxims you may have come up with...
- Stay focussed on why you are trying to get rid of cigarettes.
It is vital to remain adhesive to this process because the regularity will soon run you up against a dilemma. Which is on the one hand... You need to get your brain to help you and it won't do this unless you demonstrate to it that you mean business by being regular and constant. And on the other hand...your brain is addicted to nicotine(+) and has no interest in you getting rid of cigarettes, at all. Do try to think on this puzzle, if your brain will let you.
This exercise should be continued for one week, enough time to get used to being regular, keeping a journal and writing out fundamental statements and maxims etc...
If this is still causing trouble at the end of the first week, extend it for another week or until you've got the hang of it. When you feel you have been successful, move on to the next stage of phase 2...
Stage 2 - CONTROL
Stage 1 of phase 2 was to begin the development of regularity
This stage is you demonstrating to you that you want to regain control of your smoking and eventually get rid of cigarettes. This exercise will provide the experience of cutting down your cigarette intake by one half.
NOTE This website has been designed for heavy smokers. Should you smoke less than 25 cigarettes per day then please move on to the next stage.
Continuing with the example of a person who smokes 50 cigarettes per day: Now cut down the daily intake to 25 cigarettes per day. 25 per day is approximately one every 40 minutes. This should not be too arduous a task. But if a concession is needed then the following plan can be adopted. Smoke the first cigarette 20 minutes after waking up and the rest at the rate of one every 40 minutes thereafter. This exercise can be continued for the next two weeks, should you feel comfortable with this after a week then move on to the next stage.
But before you do (move on), review your journal and do an adding up of what has been accomplished and discovered so far. Quite likely to cut down to this level, was not as painful as you thought it might be .
Stage 3 - DISCOVERY
Pre-commentary: It's you discovering that you can and are able to get rid of cigarettes. It is getting to see and know that it is actually possible, but it will also take some time. Generally, things will now get more intense.
This step takes two weeks and the plan is to gradually cut down your intake to 12 cigarettes per day over the first week and to keep steady smoking 12 per day for the second week.
An important new feature will also need to be added once 12 per day is reached.
12 cigarettes per day works out to one cigarette every 90 minutes. Now every morning after getting up, wait for the full 90 minutes before lighting up.
According to how well you feel you are doing you can add some new features of your own. For example:
- Not smoking for at least one hour before going to bed.
- Never smoking whilst driving or travelling in a car.
- Add a feature unique to you...
Whatever you chose to do, the principle is 'Once you decide, stick to it'. So do be careful in your choices.
By now problems with waiting for the next cigarette might and will kick in. Usually it turns up as obsessive clock watching, and you will feel the need to do something about it - like go back to smoking. Remember, you have chosen to temporarily surrender control of your smoking habit to the clock, learn to accept it. It won't last long. At first it can be so strong that the smoker can think of nothing else, and the only option is to live through it. Learn to put something in place to mitigate it, at work that should not be difficult, at home undertake some other mental activity. (Which might pose a problem if your brain puts you to sleep between cigarettes, or cause you to reach for the TV remote or a computer game.)
Take up some some new activity. Get active, for example get out and about, visit antique shops etc; or if you wish, with your physician's approval, go for walks, or take up jogging, but to be safe to first have your health and fitness checked out. It is useful when abstaining from anything to undertake physical work. So it is a good time to plan redecorating the house (leave off painting etc until you have completely stopped); doing woodwork in the basement; getting more interested in your job or in the lives of the people you share your life with.
Let it Pass.