Phase 3 - Coding and Realization
Stage 1 - CODING
Pre-commentary: This stage should last no more than two weeks. You are attempting to code yourself as a three-cigarette per day smoker (three maintenance-dose cigarettes.)
Plan to cut down from twelve to three cigarettes per day, over a period of one to two weeks. The journey is from one cigarette every 90 minutes to one every five hours. At first it will seem impossible, so persevere. Remember the first cigarette of the day will be five hours after waking, so add the new feature 'and never before noon'.
This stage, in addition to rethinking timings can produce changes in how we understand our smoking. These changes will call for fresh thinking and new attitudes...
Stage 1A - REALIZATION
It is important to temporarily put aside all maxims and reasons that so far have been arrived at in this attempt to get rid of cigarettes - and introduce yourself to a new understanding: "Could it be that smoking is something that you often used to do, to reward you?"
Then you might ask - "You, rewarding you?" that is odd since a reward is something that comes from elsewhere. Is smoking some kind of surrogate parenting? or surrogate companionship? Wherein, instead of your mother giving confirmation by saying "Good girl," or "good boy," you smoke a cigarette. And thus could it be that every time you smoke, it's, "good me for doing the chores!" or "good me for finishing my vegetables!" or "Give me strength to handle this phone call!"
And then there are the times that we call for parental support: "Dad! Come and help me. There's a bad man on the telephone!"... This is a novel way to to view the underpinnings of your smoking habit...AND the the big question here is; did we ever grow up?
Or just disguise the fact that we hadn't (grown up) with our obsessive smoking?
Could it be that all the while, whilst imagining that we have been engaging in adult behaviour, we have been playing out the ghosts of our upbringing; the truth concealed by our passion for cigarettes?
So if you used to smoke 50 cigarettes per day, could it be that you needed a high rate of emotional approval and support to get through your day? (And since all these cigarettes were self administered, there was no real check on whether any of it was either needed or earned.)
50 cigarettes per day is 350 per week. That is over 18,000 reinforcements per year. That is a lot of medals, rewards, comfort, support etc. And not very good ones at that, since it has been calculated that each cigarette costs you 10 minutes of your life.
Now with the shift to three cigarettes per day, you will certainly get three intense experiences, a different one with each cigarette smoked. New enjoyments will appear for you to savour and to remember, (take some mental snapshots for later.) However, this is a cure and the point is to now see these cigarettes no longer as surrogate rewards etc but as maintenance dose cigarettes. Something to tide you over whilst you adjust to a nicotine-less and tobacco-free future.
Since you will be smoking three cigarettes per day for an extended period, probably eight to nine months, instead of holding to a regime of 'one cigarette every five hours' try rewriting the plan. For example: Smoke the first cigarette of the day at noon, the second at sunset and the third an hour before bed. These are three significant times of the day when you might get the most out of 'having a smoke'.
It will be useful to keep reminding yourself that the cigarettes you now smoke are only for the purposes of maintenance. Part of a 'health regime' for your mind, emotions and addicted brain, if you like, but nonetheless maintenance cigarettes to tide you over.
Stage 2 - STOPPING
Over the months your various systems will gradually 'depressurize' from the life of cigarette addiction, and eventually you will get the urge to stop. When you feel ready, maybe after one, two or even three months, maybe even longer, test yourself by cutting down to 2 cigarettes per day for a few days or a week. Then if that was not too stressful, cut down to one per day for few more days or another week. And if you can, stop smoking altogether.
The day you stop should be chosen with care. By now you should have discovered exactly just how potent cigarettes actually are; and even stopping from one cigarette per day can need some time to adjust. So it is best done during a natural break, like a long weekend, a family vacation or during a business conference. Somewhere the opportunity of escape exists, where not many people know you, so as to minimise stress at home or in the work place.
Note: Stopping does not mean you have gotten rid of cigarettes, it only means that you are currently not smoking any cigarettes. You will know when you have permanently gotten rid of cigarettes when that day comes, probably seven or more years from now.
Let it Pass.