To quit smoking is not easy, but it isn't as hard as you think. I quit ten years ago for a year. I quit again, eleven weeks
ago. The idea of paying four "sin-tax" bucks a pack scared the heck out of me. Since this is my second time, I now realize that
knowing what to expect can really help a quitter. Even if you don't want to quit, knowing this can help a friend.
A friend of mine bought a special pocket computer. She first programmed it by pushing a button every time she lit up. Once it
knew how often she smoked, a light flashed and she flipped a switch. She was then supposed to wait for the "beep" before she lit
a cigarette. It slowly cut her cigarette smoking back until she was driven absolutely insane with cigarette craving. It seems
that it's only when you stop smoking that the craving begins to go away. She finally cracked and went on a smoking binge. Cutting
down for a while is good for any reason, though.
I was told hypnosis has helped some people quit. I was nervous about turning my mind over to someone else. After all, I've heard
of "subjects" who actually took off their shoes in front of a room full of people and quacked like a duck. After the hypnotist
made a loud noise the subject woke up and didn't remember a thing. One individual, who had been hypnotized to quit, later heard
a car backfire, took off all his clothes, and bought a pack of cigarettes. I understand that you don't do anything under hypnosis
that you wouldn't do anyway. So, I decided to quit without it.
The first time I quit, I went off into the woods for four weeks with some non-smokers. I simply didn't take any cigarettes. By the
time I came out, I was able to resist. So, why am I having to quit again ten years later? Like a dummy, I had been drinking beer
with some friends and thought, "Since I've quit a year, I'll try a smoke!" It was fantastic! That was when I realized how much I
loved nicotine. "I can do this at least once a day", I thought. For the first three days each cigarette hit me like a train! I
couldn't stand up! I was amazed it's legal. Then the effect began to wear off. By three weeks I was smoking two, three, sometimes
four cigarettes a day. In three months, I was back to a pack a day. From this experience I know that a quitter is still only one
cigarette away from being a smoker again. The quitter should keep this in mind: three days, three weeks, and three months. These
time periods are important.
In the first three days of quitting the urge to smoke will be strong but it won't be as hard to overcome as your brain. The
cigarette doesn't jump into your mouth and blow smoke down your throat. You actually have to put it there, light it, and suck.
You will do that because your brain will convince you. Some of the best reasons brains have invented are as follows:
1) "OK, stupid (your brain will call you stupid for quitting) this isn't the time to quit, there's too much going on.
You really don't want to quit do you?" You get up. Pull the cigarette out of the pack, smell its marvelous aroma, feel the filter
between your teeth, light the match, take a wonderful, long flavorful drag and fall into a euphoric heap.. "This is much better
than quitting", concludes your brain.
2) "OK stupid, you've made it for twenty four hours! You're great! Reward yourself and have a smoke! You can do
this at least once a day!"
3) "Winston Churchill smoked till he died at ninety-two. Health problems only apply to those who smoked three packs
a day for forty years. It doesn't apply to you; so, smoke!" This reason is for scientific thinkers.
4) "You shouldn't quit cold turkey, you should slowly cut back. Have a smoke!"
5) "Go ahead and sneak a smoke! No one will know! Go ahead!"
6) "You're too young to quit smoking! You don't smoke that much! No one told you you have to quit!"
7) "If you don't quit smoking you will smoke till you die!" That's a funny one, of course! Have a smoke!"
8) "You're too old to quit. Life without smoking is dismal. There is no quality to life without smoking. Have a
9) "I don't care about life.. Have a smoke!"
You have to keep remembering, if you can quit for one day, you can do it again and again. And it DOES get easier. So, with all
these reasons to smoke, why and I sitting here at the end of eleven weeks without having had a single smoke? I'm damn tired of
plunking down those twenty-plus dollars a week! To hell those tobacco companies, their not getting any more of my money! Now my
wallet stays a lot fuller.. $220.00 so far! I like that. And, the big secret? How did I do it? Have you ever had a sore throat
and wanted a smoke, but said, "no, I'd better wait on this one". Well, the last time that happened to me, I just continued the
thought. Whenever I wanted a smoke I just said to myself, "Wait five minutes1". To do this you have to be prepared for the first
three days. I had stomach pain, restlessness, and cramps in my muscles at times. But these were mild. What you really need to
know is the tricks your brain plays on you. Your brain will try really hard to convince you to start smoking again for the first
For the first three weeks you will have to tell your friends and business associates that you won't be normal. You will become
light headed and impatient. Your judgement isn't affected but your tact and diplomacy are out the window. Other than that, this
lightheaded buzz is rather euphoric and may be something to look forward to. Apparently the act of smoking increases carbon monoxide
which robs your blood of oxygen. Your body compensates by pumping your oxygen levels up. So, when you quit, you experience an oxygen
high until your body readjusts.
At the end of three weeks, you regain your composure, you get up in the morning and don't need a cigarette to get going, you are
more alert than before, you have energy to spare, you don't need a smoke to think, you have more money, your sex drive will actually
increase, but your hair won't grow back. In the weeks that follow, up to three months, the craving is resistible but still there.
You don't imagine yourself smoking a cigarette, amazingly enough, but you have the feeling that something is missing. So, you pay
much closer attention to other things.
Do you need some water? How about something sweet? Perhaps some exercise? May be some fruit? Be careful, there are thousands of
calories to be attained if you are not prepared to journey on this quest for equilibrium. It's a good idea to learn about a balanced
diet and what it means to you before you quit smoking. With this knowledge you can find equilibrium and feel satisfied without
gaining weight. Chewing gum and lifesavers are definitely helpful in the first three months. If you are inexperienced at this,
you will painfully bite your tongue and cheeks a lot before you get the hang of it. Your need for these will disappear.
Finally, when you quit smoking, you become somewhat of a celebrity. Your friends will look at you with admiration and tell you
they are proud of you. You become more attractive. Your eyes will appear brighter. At gatherings now, I always mention in conversation,
"well, I managed to quit smoking three weeks ago!" People immediately gravitate toward me. They are sympathetic and want to
touch me. Some are envious and consider me a hero. This statement is so successful, I even recommend this for people who have
never smoked. Once you get through the three-month process, you can easily go a lifetime.
The Realistic Idealist
Realistic Idealism, philosophy based on evidence