Quit smoking!

    My quitting cigarettes goes back a few years and could be a beacon of hope to all smokers (Think you're in danger of over selling this, Ed). Shush!. One day I happened to mention to a fellow worker I'd like to give up smoking.  "I have a book which might help" he said "I'll bring it in.

    Thanks, I replied, but walking away I knew there wasn't a cat in hells chance a book would help me give up smoking. Two months in a prison cell with a six foot  murderer who hates smoking might just do the trick, but even then I wasn't sure. I was, like most smokers, beyond the written word. A couple of days later he brought it in. I thanked him and dropped it into my briefcase where it languished for a month, until one day I dug it out, not out of any real interest in what it had to say,  I just knew he'd want the bloody thing back and worse, he might ask for my opinion on it. So I sat and read it cover to cover in a evening it was only a booklet. It made fascinating reading. And astonishingly it worked. I gave up a fortnight later, how wrong can you be? (A lot in your case. Ed)

    What it set out to do was completely change the way I thought about smoking. Now I know that sounds dumb but bare with me here.

    First it pointed out, that, just like an alcoholic, I had to admit I had a nicotine addiction and  secondly, acknowledge that was the only  reason I actually smoked. It suggested If I came up with any other I was kidding myself. If I wasn't able to accept this, it went on to say, it was pointless reading on.

    It then asked, almost innocently, did I, - it stressed the 'I part' - want to stop smoking?.

    "Yes" I said.

    "Then what's stopping you?" it asked. At that point I was  ready  to throw it across the room, this so wasn't going to work on me. But I sat and thought hard about the question. What was stopping me?. You couldn't answer lack of will power because it isn't an honest answer its a cop out, its akin to a get out of jail card. You had to analyse and verbalise it. In my case, after a while, I came up with fear. Fear of the craving. Fear of wanting a fag but having to go without. Fear of attempting to stop but failing. Fear that I wouldn't enjoy life as much. But it then reminded me, "you said you wanted to stop?".

    "I do", I replied again. Then it suggested, It must be talking to two people because clearly you're in two minds. One, You, who says wnats to give up but another side of you is putting up reasons to continue, to safeguard itself". It then suggested I should visualise that fear by creating an inner monster. I created a gremlin. Your inner gremlin it said, is fed on nicotine. The author suggested I focus on thinking about my inner gremlin for a week or two. Not to stop smoking, that was important, but each time I lit one up I had to acknowledge it was only to feed my Gremlin, because, I, the real me, wanted to stop. It even suggested that I should draw a picture of it. I didn't as that seemed a tad freaky but I visualised an ugly troll.

    The book pointed out that once I had stopped my troll would start to die, as it's not being fed. Also, it might make my life difficult as it will demand to be fed, but that would pass in four to six weeks. As the days rolled on it's demands would be come less and less until one day I'd not think about feeding it at all. The only time I would is when I saw other people feeding theirs.

    I carried on smoking cigarettes for two weeks, as the book instructed me to, thinking about my troll each time I lit up. I thought about the power it had over me. The power to control me, make me spend money and worse of all make me use my lungs to filter it's food. Two weeks later I couldn't wait to stop, and did so!

    One weekend, about four years ago, I brought a small pack of five cigars and enjoyed them. I found, unlike cigarettes, I didn't fancy one in the week I could go without, it never bothered me. I controlled them they didn't control me. Problem came when I started this trip, cigars are ridiculously cheap. I smoked at weekends, then the odd one in the the week and then every day. I'd smoke between five and seven a day. At one point I went to buy a pack and the shop was shut, that annoyed me. But walking back I realised it didn’t annoy me it annoyed my inner Gremlin. So I stopped, that was over a year ago, Ive not smoked since.