How I Quit Smoking – After Failing to Quit Smoking at Least a Dozen Times

Yes I did eventually quit smoking – been a nonsmoker for over 25 years now. But just so you know – my will power sucks. I’d tried and failed to quit smoking so many times I was embarrassing myself. At least a dozen times I tried to quit smoking and blew it. Every time. Almost a couple times a year over several year’s I’d try to quit smoking (New Years being one of them – of course).

This was back over 25 years ago, from the early 70’s to the late 70’s. Most of the time I’d last 2 – 3 weeks.

Once I had quit smoking for a couple weeks — things were tough of course, the urges and cravings, but I was doing OK dealing with them. Naturally, I was a lot more moody than normal, got angry more often and more easily. But I was getting through ok, till one night while I was working, I looked outside the window from the store I was working at to check my car – and it wasn’t there. My car had been towed. That was what shoved me over the edge – that time.

Naturally the first thing I did when I found out my car was towed was walk over to a cigarette machine, drop my money in and buy a pack of cigarettes. Like that was going to help right? But there I was smoking again.

There were time’s I’d quit and thought “well I’ll just smoke one, and that’s it” – but of course “one” today, turned into “two” the next. And before I knew it, I was back to a pack and a half a day.

It was always a problem sitting back and drinking a cup of coffee or a beer – I was always so used to having a cigarette in my hand! I’d been smoking a lot longer than I’d been drinking coffee or drinking beer! (Having started smoking in 4th grade.) All I could think about was how uncomfortable it felt!

I was uncomfortable after meals because I was used to settling down into the couch in front of the tv with a cup of coffee and a cigarette! So that was a double whammy! Now I had trouble relaxing after meals – because the cup of coffee was missing something – missing the cigarette in my other hand!

Then there was going to the bar with the guys from the shop. First of all “everybody was smoking”! Then if you’re like I was you’d get a beer and play a game of pool! But every time I’d try to quit smoking I was always uncomfortable because I didn’t have that cigarette in my hand! My whole life became uncomfortable!

One time I even lasted a full month without a cigarette! I remember that day I blew it like it was yesterday. It was about 7 in the evening, starting to get dark – and I was sitting on a friend’s back porch waiting for them to get ready to go out. And I wanted a cigarette.

You can imagine me sitting there arguing with myself – saying (to myself) “I’m an adult – I go to work everyday – I pay my own way – If I want a cigarette I can have a cigarette and nobody can stop me!” It’s embarrassing to admit it – but, yes – I talked myself right back into my pack and a half a day smoking habit yet again.

By this time I’d been studying what felt like almost every self-help guru’s book, how to succeed, mind mastery book out there – almost every book of this type I could get my hands on – for over 10 years. And 4 mind sets that I knew were important to me about smoking cigarettes started come together in my mind.

I knew it was stupid to smoke cigarettes – I knew the risks, the cancer, emphysema, the damage it does to your skin – making you look older than you are. How it was destroying my lungs – filling my lungs up with tar year after year.

I thought about how I wouldn’t have to worry about the cancer, emphysema, and other damage I was doing to myself by continuing to smoke cigarettes if I didn’t smoke. And how lousy it was that I even started this habit of smoking cigarettes in the first place.

I spent time thinking about all the good stuff that would happen – all the money I’d save, that my body would start recovering from the 20+ years of being a smoker when I did quit smoking cigarettes. I’d stop smelling like I’d just walked out of a bar. I’d stop putting my family in jeopardy from the 2nd hand smoke.

And finally – what if I could somehow feel like I’d never smoked before, after I did quit. I remembered all the times I’d tried and failed to quit smoking – and I certainly didn’t want to go through that again – when I did try again to quit. But what if I could somehow – when I tried again to quit – if I could somehow make myself feel like a person who had never smoked a cigarette before – in their life.

So after spending some time mulling over all this I came up with a plan and followed through with it for 60 days. A plan to bring all these considerations together and – hopefully – instill them in my mind. What happened after that 60 day exercise went way beyond anything I’d ever imagined. And if you can instill these same concepts in your mind you have a chance to have the same thing happen to you.

I had just walked out of a restaurant in Flint, Michigan from lunch. I took what was left of my pack of cigarettes, crushed them in my hand and tossed it into a nearby trash can – it was the prearranged day that I’d decided to quit – again. I didn’t know what would happen, I didn’t know how long I’d be able to last this time, but I was going to give it a try anyway – one more time.

What happened next is still with me today more than a quarter of a century later.

Right after tossing that pack of cigarettes away I had a thought, “I’d sure like to have a cigarette”. Then BAM! Totally out of the blue I got hit with an overwhelming rush of thoughts and emotions that went flying through my head in a flash. It was so intense it actually snapped my head back.

The best description I’ve been able to come up with, about how it felt, is this…imagine a huge dam, picture the Hoover Dam – exploding into millions of pieces – and imagine all those millions and millions of gallons of water rushing, crashing down the valley below – ripping away everything in its path. That’s how powerful it felt. And it was totally unexpected!

Also totally unexpected was this – my smoking habit was completely washed away. Like it had never existed. It wasn’t like I’d quit – it was like I had never, ever, smoked a cigarette before in my life!

Since that experience I’ve never had another thought about smoking another cigarette. No cravings, no urges, nothing. The anger I’d always had to contend with before never occurred. It was just “normal” not to have a cigarette. Since that experience, I’ve never had any problem sitting down and enjoying drinking a beer or cup of coffee, finishing a meal. And not once have I ever considered smoking another cigarette since that day. It’s always just felt “normal” not to have a cigarette.

If someone lit up a cigarette around me it had no affect. People could smoke around me all day long – and often did – and my mind was totally oblivious to it. Like the cigarettes didn’t even exist. For all intents and purposes cigarettes actually DIDN’T exist in my world.

Somehow I was able to instill all the concepts described above in such a way that I came out of it feeling just like I had never smoked, like I had never lit up a cigarette before in my life. Just the dream I was reaching for.

Quit Smoking Support Forums – Are They Any Use?

If you have used the internet to research and find quit smoking products, you will probably have stumbled upon a few quit smoking support forums. These are forums that centre around helping people quit smoking by offering advice, encouragement and support to people coming off tobacco. But I want to play devil’s advocate here an ask if they are any use.

When you are looking to quit smoking, you may well be overwhelmed by the range of information and products available to help you quit. You may also be surprised at the number of quit smoking support forums out there too and the advice offered by members in them. Remember, anecdotally, anyone who has quit smoking will promote the method that worked for them just as I recommend the hugely successful cognitive behavioural therapy approach.

I am a firm believer that all chemically aided (nicotine replacement therapy, chantix, zyban etc.) or alternative interventions (hypnosis, acupuncture, laser treatment, herbal remedies) for smoking cessation are unnecessary. Why is this? Because I believe every one is capable of logical thought and with a good teacher, you can learn anything. It was by understanding the enemy (nicotine by the way) and learning how to overcome its attacks, that I trounced smoking.

Quit smoking support forums may help you to learn how to overcome your enemy but by their very nature, they are disorganised and cluttered with a combination of useful advice and social commentary. The social stuff just gets in the way of your real focus – unless of course you just want somewhere to hang out online! If you want to learn about something, a concentrated information source is better than a rambling forum!

I believe that when you quit smoking you are best doing it once you have learned how to do it. To give you an analogy, I wouldn’t try replacing the brake pipes on my car unless I had gotten a manual to show me how to do it. Some people would but guess who runs the higher risk of brake fluid all over their driveway and brake failure round the corner? Not me!

So what has learning how to quit smoking got to do with quit smoking support forums? Well, if you have already learned how to quit smoking there will be a few things evident to you and you wont need any support.

Firstly, you will not be in any doubt about your decision to quit smoking. You will be 100% comfortable that you made the right choice. If you don’t know how to quit smoking, you may miss this vital step. It’s a bit like choosing toothpaste. Choosing toothpaste is such an innocuous decision that you never give it a second though. You just decide which sort you want (probably smokers toothpaste!) grab the toothpaste and move on. You don’t dwell on whether that was the right decision. Quitting smoking should be like this too.

Secondly, if you have learned how to quit smoking you will have already studied your enemy. It is a well studied enemy too and there is very little that is unknown about it. Your enemy is nicotine. Its attack principles are the same every time it attacks and it never changes its tactics. The same triggers are always there and your responses are what have made you smoke for so long. Because it is a thoughtless enemy, with only one type of attack for each individual occasion, it is easy to overcome – once you have learned how!

I am always amazed at the frequency of posts in quit smoking support forums where people cry out for help on the forum that they are suffering an unbeatable craving. If you know your enemy, you can unravel its attacks with ease and celebrate every victory.

Quit smoking support forums are useful to research how to quit smoking but they keep the would be quitter in a state of suspense about quitting smoking. Quit smoking forums are littered with postings celebrating how long it is since someone quit.

Who cares?

When you decide to quit, that’s it, it is over and done with. Pointing out how long it is since you quit with every post (as many forum members do) just emphasises as misconception that you have abstained from smoking. You haven’t abstained from smoking, you have just rejoined normal life like the other 79% of the US population who don’t smoke and aren’t addicted to nicotine.

As long as you make quitting smoking a big deal, it will come with big problems. Don’t go twittering on about ‘your quit’ on quit smoking support forums – you are only dragging out your emotional relationship with the problem of nicotine addiction. You are going to quit smoking – big deal, do it and move on!

Finally, I have written this briefly to highlight some differences of opinion in quitting smoking. There are many out there in the smoking cessation community who will be mortified to see me question the support and motives of quit smoking support forums. But I am suggesting here that by their very nature of offering extended support, they are turning quitting smoking into a bigger deal than it really is. The motives are undoubtedly honourable, after all, these forums aren’t sponsored by tobacco companies! But by blowing up the difficulty and struggle, they are self fulfilling.