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December Newsletter

In a Nutshell

Want to stop smoking or vaping? Let me show you the difference between the right and wrong way to stop.

While I count to 10, tell yourself you have to stop, that you can’t smoke, and that you won’t be able to ever smoke again. Keep telling yourself that for 10 seconds. Go! …How was that? Pretty miserable, right? Feeling deprived, trapped, fearful and sorry for yourself? That’s what most people tell themselves while stopping, so they go back to smoking or vaping just to feel better. That approach doesn’t work!

Now, while I count to 10, tell yourself you can smoke, that you don’t have to stop, and that you will always have a choice. Go! …Better, right? You feel somewhat freer, and not as trapped and boxed in.

But there is still a nagging part of disbelief. That’s because we confuse the meaning of the word “can’t,” which means both "impossible" and "no choice". So, while it might be impossible to smoke and still have good health, you are free to choose bad health. In fact, that is what you have been choosing to do.

Here's the deal: Your choice and mine is governed by the fact that we are nicotine addicts. In other words, it’s an all or nothing choice. Nevertheless, it's something we are free to do. It might take some time for you to wrap your head around this idea.

If you keep telling yourself that you are free to bail at any time for any reason you are more likely to succeed at stopping because you will be responsible for your choices from moment to moment. Whereas, if you keep telling yourself that you can’t smoke and have to go through with it, you will end up feeling like a victim who has no responsibility in the matter.

Here is another way people sabotage themselves when trying to stop: I will count to 10 again and while I do that, have a negative attitude towards wanting to smoke, and fight the urges. Go! …Not so successful, is it? It’s like trying to get rid of the inevitable withdrawal. It’s not possible, and so you give up because it is “hard”.

How about I count to 10 and while I do that, take a positive attitude towards the inevitable withdrawal, welcome the urges, and stay open to the experience. Go! ...That was different! Was that as hard as fighting them? That’s learning to ride the horse in the direction it is going. This might take some practice to stay on the horse, but it's well worth the ride. It's like learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. Don’t you wish that by simply reading this you were cured? Me too! But again, it takes practice to apply these concepts into practical use. That is what the Choose a Smokefree life Program is all about. It’s not snake oil and mystery. It’s learning how and why to take step-by-step actions to achieve complete freedom from nicotine for good. All it takes is a bit of willingness and some healthy skepticism. You can even smoke and vape during the first two of five sessions while you are learning how to stop.

What are you waiting for? For it to get worse, for you to feel “ready?” Let me tell you a secret. Nobody ever feels entirely ready! The better questions are: Why not now? Do you have the guts to Choose a Smokefree Life?

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