Rest in the spaces in between the major events, these spaces are your life.
Every smoker wishes they were a non-smoker. Every. Single. One. I can promise you that. I know because I used to be a smoker, one that would defend the foul herb openly, stating I enjoyed cigarettes. I thought it gave me something, filled a void and helped me to relax. However, part of me knew I was lying to myself. And I knew because no one plans on smoking for the rest of their life. And every time I lit up, part of my wondered when it was going to end. When was I going to be done with tobacco? I felt helpless though, like a slave. Owned by the cigarettes. My days were planned around them. I didn’t realize it so much though, it was just a nagging intuition that had and was trying to ignore or turn a blind eye too. Because I didn’t want to admit to myself how bad the problem was.
Then I read a book that changed EVERYTHING.
Allen Carr’s EASYWAY to Stop Smoking. This isn’t a new book, originally published in the 1980s, but I had never heard of it. One day I was wasting time on Facebook, and an Elephant Journal article showed up on my feed. I read it, got slightly inspired, ordered the book and forgot about it. I had tried to quit many times in the past, I wasn’t sure what this would do, but I figured I had nothing to lose other than $16, which is about the cost of a pack anyways.
WOW. Mind blown. I mean, not at first. When I read the back of the book and the introduction, I thought the guy was nuts. He said quitting smoking could be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. No willpower required, no replacement therapy, no withdrawal. Right, sure buddy.
I continued to read though, because one thing I saw really resonated with me- the Truth. And the truth is that the only thing that keeps us smoking, the only thing that prevents us from breaking free, is FEAR. Fear that as non-smokers we will have to struggle through the rest of our lives feeling miserable and deprived. Fear that we will never truly be free, fear that we will spend the rest of our lives wanting to smoke but not being allowed to.
That hit me big; I felt it and I wanted to know more. I felt like flushing my pack then and there, it was becoming clearer already. However, the biggest and most important rule about the method is that you have to keep smoking until you have finished the book completely. This confused me at first, but I agreed with myself to follow ALL the instructions. He was very adamant on this from the beginning. I understand now, after butting out for the last time, why this is essential for the method to work. Don’t mess around, follow the instructions!
Every attempt to quit in the past started off with the wrong mindset- and that’s all the method is! Previously, my efforts to stop started with the feeling that I was doomed to fail, that it was going to be hard and I was breaking up with a lover or best friend. That I needed a tremendous amount of willpower, and I was already a weak person for being a smoker in the first place. I thought the cigarette was serving me something I had to “give up.” He explains very clearly and he repeats it many times, that cigarettes actually create the void instead of filling it, they rob us of our health and money, but most importantly they rob us of our confidence and self-esteem. There is nothing to “give up”, but so much to GAIN when you stop. Because I felt like I had control of every aspect of my life, except this one thing. This one horrible little monster that lived inside me.
I admit, I feel like that monster will always sort of be there. I’m now a recovering drug addict. Most smokers don’t look at it this way. But I know that I can never smoke another cigarette again, for the rest of my life. Because there is no such thing as “just one drag” or “just one smoke”, the same way you wouldn’t encourage a recovering alcoholic to have just one drink. I’m going to be addicted to the substance for the rest of my days. And I’m ok with that, it doesn’t make it hard to quit. Because I also know I can only live one day at a time. But I can live every day simply choosing not to smoke.
What are the advantages to smoking? I started to ask myself. Truthfully. What is my crutch serving me, other than bad breath, reeky clothes, and stinky hair? The very ugly truth. There are so many layers to it. Never mind how physically it cuts you down and serves you a very long, slow painful death; a life of preventable disease and feeling ill all the time. Never mind that nicotine is the MOST addictive substance, and it doesn’t even get you high!!! It actually does NOTHING. I think it’s the saddest part- This is the only substance we abuse that doesn’t alter our mind or state of consciousness in any shape or form whatsoever. Never mind that we’re supporting the evil tobacco companies, I now see and believe cigarette smoking to be the biggest scandal in our culture; how did this even become socially acceptable? It’s decimating our society and it has been for decades. All the cigarette really does is provide you with temporary relief from the withdrawal pangs from the previous cigarette. It’s an endless cycle of misery and unhappiness; all the smoker is doing is trying to feel normal.
Smokers are just trapped and brainwashed; it’s not their fault. Just like the alcoholic didn’t choose to become an alcoholic. It always starts out harmless, a way of taking off the edge or looking cool, I think everyone just wants to fit in or feel like they’re part of a community. Unfortunately just being our own awkward selves isn’t enough, we need to be numb and hide behind labels, identities, images, and stories we’ve created for ourselves.
Since I put out my final cigarette, I’ve regained so much of confidence! I still feel the pangs and cravings; it’s only been 2 weeks after all. But I kinda like them, because i know the monster is hungry but i’m not feeding him and he’s fading away. I feel like I can say, “I’ll never smoke again” and actually mean it. And I’m happy about it! Being a smoker is like being trapped in a complicated maze, and now I have the plan to that maze. I was voluntarily in prison and I let myself out, quite easily in fact. I was a skeptic at first, but I gave the book a chance and it changed everything. I think everyone should read this book, smokers and non-smokers a like, to see the tobacco industry for what it REALLY is.
And actually, I cant imagine ever lighting up again. I have no desire to. I understand smokers, but I also pity them. I don’t envy them and their “little friend”, but rather feel for them and hope they find the courage and confidence to face the monster and say bye. One last time. For life.
Cheers, to celebrate a tobacco free life.