They say that the most voracious anti-smoking person was probably once a heavy smoker. I (Karen) was at a party just before Christmas; there was snow on the ground and temperatures had plummeted to below zero.
The party hosts had thoughtfully laid on mulled wine and a gorgeous log fire for those of us who'd ventured out. As I hugged my wine and hogged the fire, a guy next to me pointed out three people scurrying onto the patio to have a cigarette. 'Shut the door behind you,' he yelled. Don't let the cold in - or your fumes!'
He then launched into a rant about smokers being the scourge of the Earth and tobacco manufacturers nothing more than a bunch of mass murderers. How glad he was that smoking was banned in public places. 'I can't believe they used to have smoking sections on aeroplanes,' he said. 'That's like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.'
Have you ever smoked?' I couldn't resist asking him. 'Oh yes,' he replied, 'I was a 40-a-day man. Gave up seven months ago tomorrow. Best thing I ever did!'
Out of the Smoke, Into the Frying Pan?
If you've found yourself ranting at parties, darting past smokers in full face mask and breathing apparatus, looking up the anti-tobacco lobby or saying, 'No thanks, I'd rather stick hot needles in my eyes,' to anyone who even reaches for a cigarette packet, congratulations. You've joined the hallowed, sweetly scented and, dare we say, smug ranks of the ex-smokers. And we'd bet a tobacco company's gross profit margin that a herd of wild horses wouldn't drag you back into the nicotine trap. That's truly wonderful news.
But before you get too complacent, let's just stop and think for a moment about those who will try to tempt you back to Camp Nicotine. You know those smokers you left behind? You're a deserter. Your new cleanliness and freedom make them feel rotten. Secretly, they'd love nothing more than to see you tainted again. Then there's that sinister but irresistible anti-reasoning substance, alcohol. An excess of alcohol can sabotage the resolve of the most staunch abstainer.
Worse still, there's the magnetic power that your old habits can still exert over you. You've been doing a fabulous job of overriding them but they may still be lurking somewhere in the dark, dusty corners of your brain. They might want to make a last-ditch attempt at survival. So it's essential that you continue to wield your clout over those habits, keep demolishing the habit web and Do Something Different at every conceivable opportunity.
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Still Getting the Smoking Urge?
However, if the whiff of a puff of smoke still sends you into a frenzy of nostalgia and you want some extra insurance to see you through the weeks ahead, the pointers and prods on the next few pages will guarantee you stay completely smoke-free. We encourage you to avoid situations of high temptation where possible, but also know that you want life to carry on as normal, so staying alert coupled with the coping strategies you've learned will see you through.
Please don't kid yourself you can have 'just one cigarette'. Or even 'just one puff'. To stay free from smoking it's absolutely essential that you don't take this backwards step. Never take a puff again - no matter how long it is since you quit.
What To Do If You Find Yourself Having a Lapse
If you do find yourself having a lapse - maybe you're out having a few drinks and someone offers you a cigarette and before you know it you've lit it and it's on your lips:
- Stub it out straight away.
- Tell yourself all is not lost; it was simply a slip.
- Learn from it: how can you avoid it happening next time?
- Don't kid yourself that you can now have the occasional cigarette, or be a 'social' smoker. Most people who think this end up being addicted again.
- Brush up on the coping strategies you've learned so far in this book, and keep the Do Something Different message at the forefront of your mind.
©2011 by Ben [C] Fletcher & Karen Pine.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hay House Inc. www.hayhouse.com. All Rights Reserved.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
Love Not Smoking: Do Something Different
by Karen Pine and Ben Fletcher.
Love Not Smoking uses scientifically proven psychological techniques to train your brain to anticipate different rewards; swap old habits for new, revitalizing ones; and learn new ways to relieve stress and get more pleasure out of your days. Giving up smoking doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Forget willpower and withdrawal — the six-week LOVE NOT SMOKING program will help you quit for good and also give you the tools for reclaiming your passion for life.
About the Authors
Karen Pine and Ben Fletcher are both professors of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, and are renowned experts on behavior modification. Their Do Something Different technique has had huge success in helping people lose weight, tackle stress, and improve health and well-being. Visit www.lovenotsmoking.com, where you can join Karen and Ben’s Facebook group for support, advice, and ideas. And when you’re out and about, the Love Not Smoking app will give you instant inspiration, methods to fight off cravings, and even something to occupy your twitchy fingers!