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Wednesday
Jun262013

How to quit smoking

I recently repeated some advice I had about not smoking based on my own experiences. It's been six years now- and yet I know if I had one I'd probably be back on the gaspers again. I realised I couldn't switch to a pipe or patches or any of that stuff. It had to be all or nothing.

I started to observe myself. I realised I could go all night without smoking and quite a bit of the morning. So all I had to do was extend these periods so that the opportunity/desire for smoking did not occur.

I'd looked at other methods. NLP is a popular self-help method that uses conditioning to achieve results. You are taught to associate pleasurable images with what you want and painful images with what you don’t want. And this would work every time if we were unitary selves. I know, because I tried to use it to cure myself of smoking. It worked for three months then I lapsed. Why, because the self that thought smoking was cool and indicative of a fully lived life, made an unwelcome reappearance. He did battle with the other self that had associated smoking with cancer, addiction and bad people. And after a few drinks, smoker won. Think about it: you would never have even started smoking if there wasn’t one self in there that thought it was a cool idea. Only when I at long last came to terms with the fact that I was many different selves, and that I would need a strategy that worked with all of them did I combat smoking and successfully quit. Lifeshifting is about long term real change that works. NLP is a quick fix. If you haven’t identified your many selves and integrated them to some extent reprogramming yourself will fail. Why do you think people become addicted to self-help seminars and courses, sometimes spending thousands? Because those courses quieten and diminish the other ‘rebel’ selves. In the end they become addicted to that condition- but of course never actually achieve anything else. You are your ‘rebel’ self, just as much as you are your ‘good’ self. In fact it makes more sense to say, “You are the self that observes all these disparate selves”. To hear that observing self you have to stop identifying with your outer selves. You have to take a step back. I quit smoking when this observing self realized ‘the smoker’ in me only appeared at certain times and places. Always the evening, always when there was alcohol and no food. So I avoided those situations as much as I could. This observing self also concluded that the reflection “You’re at risk now” served to flip me from ‘smoker’ to ‘mr sensible’. Screaming to yourself “don’t smoke- you’ll die”- doesn’t work because you know ONE cigarette won’t make you die- and of course you kid yourself you only want one. You need a ‘self-flipping’ reflection that engages your inner ‘non-smoker’ rather than fights your inner ‘smoker.’ Mr Sensible had strategies such as ordering chips and h’ors doevres so as to be able to eat rather than smoke. If I started to think “just one cigarette won’t hurt” I knew this was only one of many selves talking. It was no more ‘the real me’ than Mr Sensible was. I could then take it less seriously and ignore the voice. I had been hypnotized, tried patches, nicotine gum and scared myself silly talking to doctors. For fifteen years it never worked. When I worked out I was a multiple self, like a family with a black sheep, then I was on my way. As long as I didn’t pretend the black sheep didn’t exist I was fine. It has been six years now as I said, and, touchwood, so far it has worked.

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