Allen Carr

Okay I lied.  I actually finished Allen Carr’s book before I stopped smoking.  But that is b/c I really got into it and finished it before I finished the cigarettes I had.

It really is a no shit approach.  But it is good for the person who needs the no shit approach.  It is simply about thinking logically is displacing myths and assumptions.

One of the things that bugged me is how I could go from a person who quit smoking for 8 months and absolutely adored every minute of not being addicted to something… how I could go back to smoking like I never quit after that long of time and after enjoying the freedom from smoking.

Now after reading the book it makes more sense how powerful the addiction really is.

I figure if this dude could go from smoking 5 packs (!!!!) a day to being smoke free till the end of his life… then if I can’t do this shit, something is severely wrong with me.

The odd part is, this is sort of the approach I took the first time and didn’t even realize it.  That quit was so relatively easy for me because I just wanted to quit so bad and wanted nothing more to do with it, despite what I had to do to get there.

So why ever go back?  I know, I know.  It doesn’t make any sense.  But as the book explains… all it does is just start with one, and then telling yourself you can have another and another and before you know it you are sucked back into all again and you don’t even know how the hell it happened.

One of the things I have found the most interesting, is him dispelling the myth that quitting is hard.  It is strange reading that having quit before and not finding it that hard, but this time, this struggle I have had with it has scared the crap out of me for numerous reasons.  But the truth is, it is easy to get caught up in that perception that it is going to be hard and you are going to suffer b/c that is all you hear about.  Oh it is so hard to quit smoking, the withdrawals are terrible, you’ll always want to smoke after quitting… ect.

Now I already know this is not true.  But I fear it still.  Because I have been thinking “what if this time is not easy like the last time”… well why wouldn’t it be?

It is simply that I have got into my head, or had it my head, that I would suffer w/o my little cancer stick to keep me company.  I decided it would be so, and every time I have “quit” since I ruined my great 8 month run, it has been so.

Every myth about why people continue to smoke (why they claim they do anyways) he has displaced with pure logic.  No scare tactics, which are logical enough considering we know the harms of cigarettes, but with logic of how one’s mind works…and this dude wasn’t even some magical psych person.

The always being in a state of withdrawal hit me especially hard this time around.  That is what smoking is… basically you are always in a state of constant withdrawal.  The second after you finish a cigarette, the withdrawal starts..and since nicotine levels drop off after about a half hour, you feel the need for another one.  There is a reason cigarettes are sold in packs of 20… because based on the half life of nicotine.. that is how much the average smoker ends up smoking in a day.  It was not just some random number the tobacco companies made up.  It all appears to be very calculated.

Over the past year and some months that I have been smoking again… I also fell into the trap of thinking… it is one my one little vice… if I quit I am just going to see others smoking and feel like I am missing something.  This little book has helped cure me of that thinking as well.  It isn’t just a “little” vice and it is not something to miss.  I think of all the uncomfortable feelings I will no longer have to experience by quitting and that makes any possible withdrawal symptoms seem like nothing.

In fact he raised an interesting point in that… the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are actually so subtle… we don’t notice them when we are doing things like…oh say sleeping.  I’ve never really met the person who has been woken from their sleep in need to smoke a cigarette, or couldn’t withhold the need to if they absolutely had to.  But it are the ones the smoker wait for that are the most “precious”.  In reality it is just the relieving the the addiction that makes it feel precious.

I don’t like the health risks associated with smoking.  In fact they aren’t just risks, but basically cold hard facts.  Most smokers will suffer some major ill effect to their health if they continue.  This is not even counting the simple every day effects of smoking such has being short of breath, feeling lethargic, sallow skin, ect ect ect.  But the big guns like heart disease, cancer, ect.  Like the book points out, we know good old Uncle Bob who has smoked a pack a day for 50 years and manages to kick it until the age of 95 and die of natural causes, but that is not the common reality.  That is a rarity.

I don’t like the antisocial stigma associated with smoking.  Over the past 10 years..or 5 even it has become less acceptable than ever.

I don’t like an addiction controlling what I do, at all.  That is probably the biggest reason to me next to health reasons.

I remember all the amazing things I felt when I quit for those 8 months and I just want them back more than ever.  Waking up with lots of energy and that happy to be alive feeling, being able to breath w/o getting winded when doing physical activities.. ect ect.

And the fact has been proven to me through this book that willpower is bullshit.  Which I already kind of knew, because the last time, it wasn’t really about willpower either, but the subsequent times…willpower..and I cracked.  Willpower is more like saying, okay I have to refrain from doing something that I like to do.  Willpower is not eating the piece of cake, not quitting smoking.

And fears about  quitting and encountering situations that you fear while quitting, he tells you to go ahead and face those things.  Not facing those things just induce phobias..which I should know better than anybody.  The longer you just sit around dreading something, the worse it gets in your mind until you feel like you are completely paralyzed with fear over the imagined situation.  But if you just do it and get it out of the way… you realize that you have some, if not complete control over it (depending on what it is) and you discover you will survive.

Hell these are not just tools for quitting smoking, but tools for life.

There’s nothing precious about poisoning yourself.  You just do the damn thing and get on with it.  Life goes on.  I have 2 left.  They’ll be gone soon and I will be doing the damn thing and am convinced that I will do it quite well.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Samantha
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 11:43:39

    Good Luck!
    I found your site/post from, have you been there, it is really strange!
    I have been smoke free for 2 yrs following 7 yrs of smoking, and I just made a decision and put them down.
    Everyone is different, but I hope you have success!


  2. rcipfw
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 11:48:08

    Thanks for the support!
    I had to go check out that site…wow that is different but very cool!


  3. VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting
    Jun 12, 2008 @ 20:34:46

    Congratualtions on making the best decision for your health!! As a Tobacco Treatment Specialist for th past 20 years, I have met many individuals that do wake up in the middle of the night to smoke. It just goes to show you that everyone is different. Which is one of the reasons why it can be difficult to quit–every smoker needs to look at their individual connections to cigarettes–and they can be different for every smoker, and develop the tools to deal with their individual aspects. It sounds like you are well on your way to success!! Keep up the good work.
    VJ Sleight
    Queen of Quitting


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