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February 24, 2015

Reposted: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking

Some people are asking me how I quit. I posted this before, but it won't hurt to post it again.

I picked up a book back in October called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, by Alan Carr.

I had quit smoking a couple of years ago, going on to the e-cig, but I remained addicted to nicotine, and in fact could not imagine really ever going off nicotine.

Someone recommended this Easy Way book to me and I read it because I didn't have anything else going on.

It's actually pretty darn good, as this reconsideration of the book acknowledges.

I don't read many -- any -- Self-Help books so maybe this book had a bunch of tricks to play on me for which I had no defenses. Maybe I'm an easy score, given that I'm unfamiliar with self-help books' techniques generally.

And maybe I found it easy to quit smoking this time because I was especially motivated.

Basically I was feeling like crap every single day of my life and decided that I would not go on like that any longer -- it was time for some changes.

But even so, I think the book is pretty good. It's very repetitive, but in that repetition, it drills into you an important message:

You don't need to smoke. You didn't "need" to smoke before you started smoking. And you don't even really like smoking, do you? Think about it: Do you really like feeling hot smoke moving through your sinuses and lungs? Do you really like that feeling nicotine dependency gives you, of constantly being in mild drug withdrawal, with those withdraw symptoms only really absent from your life for the duration of the cigarette you're currently smoking? (The withdrawal symptoms, the craving, begins anew about 10 minutes after you finish your cigarette, and become urgent 45 minutes to an hour afterwards.)

The book addresses the psychological roots of nicotine addiction. The actual biological hook of nicotine addiction isn't really all that powerful, compared to truly addicting drugs like heroin, coke, or alcohol.

No, it's really the psychological story that you the addict are telling yourself about the cigarette, and why you need it so much, and why smoking that next cigarette will make you Feel Good and why you Deserve That Cigarette, after all.

Reading the book, I eventually became not just convinced of the need to break the nicotine dependency, but actually enthusiastic about doing so. Just like Carr said I would.

It's now been about a month since I kicked smoking. I did not follow Carr's advice completely -- I didn't go cold turkey as he insists, but instead used the patch, nicorette gum, and an e-cig as nicotine replacement therapy to get me off actual cigarettes.

And I'm still not completely off nicotine, but I'm almost all the way off of it. I'm not on the patch anymore, I don't use the e-cig anymore, and I chew one or two pieces of Step 2 nicorette when I really have the urge per day.

But a month on and I'm not smoking and only having one or two mild doses of nicotine per day, if that. So, I'm not quite free of nicotine yet, but I'm not really addicted anymore, either.

I'd really recommend the book. I don't know what it is about it.

I guess that most of what it says is obvious, if you bothered to think about it,, but as an addict, you are deliberately avoiding thinking about the basis of your addiction, so it's helpful to have someone else state the obvious to your face.

The book, by the way, stays away from the scary stuff about smoking, almost entirely. There are no pictures of diseased lungs or gums or that sort of thing. The author's notion is that making someone nervous immediately makes them reach for a cigarette so discussing the dire health effects of smoking is actually counterproductive.

Instead he sticks to a softer approach -- won't you be happier when you don't have to to worry about only having three cigarettes left?

Obvious stuff, but I found it helpful. If you're still smoking, or you know a smoker, I'd spend the $7 to $10 for the book.

Update: I'm mostly nicotine free now. I usually go weeks without any Nicorette at all. Occasionally, when I'm tired, I'll have a piece, but never more than one in a day.

You owe it to yourselves to quit. And not just "try;" let's face it, "try" is how people announce "I intend to fail at this, and not even put in much effort towards it, but I want the moral consolation of having supposedly 'tried.'"

It's really not that hard. But it is necessary that you decide that you're going to stop. Not that you'll try, but that you will.

Definitely read the book. Like any other addict, you probably get a little stressed when you think about going off the drug that has its hooks in you. But just like a junkie doesn't actually need heroin, you don't actually need tobacco, though the Junkie Centers of your brain are probably making a pretty strong case right now that you really do need Your Friend Mr. Cigarette.

But you don't. Of course you don't. Every aspect of your health, including your alertness and mental acuity, was stronger before you started smoking, and they can get back close to their Factory Default settings if you quit.

Smoking has literally made your life worse in every way, but, like most addictive drugs, it has got a little foothold in an important part of your brain getting you to convince yourselves that it's somehow "pleasurable" being sicker and weaker than you would be without the drug.

Here are some good things about not smoking:

You know how you get all stressed when you realize you're almost out of cigarettes at midnight and so you have to drive in the ice to pick up cigarettes so you'll have them for tomorrow? Yeah, non smokers don't know about that nonsense.

You know how you come into dinners and meetings late because you have to have One Last Cigarette before going inside? Yeah non smokers can just go in whenever.

You know how you get stressed even at a dinner out at friends, because you want to move away to be with your real friend, the cigarette? Yeah non smokers don't have to do that shit.

Do you have trouble waking up in the morning, at least not before you've had [x] cigarettes? Yes this pure withdrawal from the drug; non smokers do not have to through this unhealthy ordeal every morning, since they are not addicted to any drug.
I only need a half a cup of coffee or a glass of diet coke to wake up in the morning now.

I swear to God, every facet of your life will be better within in five days of quitting smoking. The three difficult days of actual quitting, then two more days. That's it. Then you start noticing things, like, "Holy shit, do my clothes smell like shit. Have I been putting that into my lungs every day?"

All the crap that you "need" cigarettes or that they're somehow "good" or a "reward" is just bullshit. It's just Junkie Logic. All a lie. Not an ounce of truth in it.

Anyway, I don't want to give the book away, but it does kind of get you pissed off at cigarettes, and makes you want to quit them, out of spite, if nothing else.

digg this
posted by Ace at 09:04 PM

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