Are you one of the 40 million Americans who have tried quitting smoking but find it impossible? Have you tried (several times) and failed? Does your habit’s guilt cripple you with anxiety, thus destabilizing your social relations, work, and even romantic relationships? Do not fret; we’ve got you.
An addiction to smoking can be deeply troubling. It is one of the most shameful habits adults and young people alike struggle with. The average smoker tries to stop at some point. Unfortunately, many have to deal with it till they die. There is good news, though: It is possible to kick the habit once and for all.
In this article, we will be learning from an ex-smoker himself, Allen Carr. In his book, Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, he shares his unorthodox process, providing encouragement and a useful guide to anyone on this journey.
The book is a long read – about 200+ pages. Nonetheless, you can go through it all in less than 15 minutes. How? By reading a comprehensive summary on the Headway App. Apart from that, there are other brilliant materials on self-development on the platform.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Interested? Let’s go!
Why is it hard to quit smoking?
This is perhaps the most troubling question surrounding smoking. Why is it hard to up and quit? If you are a smoker, you probably know of the dangers it poses to your health. In fact, you may already feel the impacts already. Why then do you continue? Maybe you’ve even tried quitting. Rehab, meditation camps, gurus, etc., it might be unsurprising to find that you’ve tried them all. Thus, with the abundance of information available on the subject and the very visible harms you have to grapple with, why does the average smoker find it hard kicking the habit?
Allen Carr, a former addict himself, identifies this question as fundamental to dealing with the habit. In Easy Way to Stop Smoking, the author opines that “the real problem is not trying to explain not only why smokers find it difficult to stop but why anybody does it at all.”
He then pointed out and disproved some of the popular reasons people give for being hooked on nicotine:
The fear of withdrawal symptoms
Some people opine that they are unwilling to go through the process of kicking the bucket because of the withdrawal symptoms they’d experience. Carr rubbishes this claim. He asserts that the withdrawal symptoms one might experience are usually insignificant.
Carr strongly disagrees with the idea that smokers enjoy smoking. He dubs it a filthy and disgusting habit. He points out that a smoker would rather smoke rope than quit. Enjoyment has nothing to do with it if Carr is to be believed.
Here again, Carr quarrels with those who attempt to give a pseudo-intellectual reason for the phenomenon. For each psychological reason exhibited, Carr comes up with a corresponding counter.
Eventually, Carr arrives at the reason why smokers continue to puff at their cigarettes even while aware of its dangers: nicotine addiction. He believes that nicotine addiction is no different from every other form of drug addiction. It is so strong because most smokers are unaware of the power a lighted pipe has over them. Alternatively, those who realize they are sucked into a web are ignorant about how to escape.
The trap of nicotine addiction sets in ever so slowly. For the average man, smoking usually is a means to show off. Probably begun in teenagehood; it blossoms and takes hold in adulthood. For the average female, the addiction begins due to the pressure to conform and appear chic. What starts out as a harmless walk in the park careens into a speedy brakeless ride on the freeway.
The easy method
“The whole business of smoking is like wearing tight shoes just to obtain the pleasure you feel when you take them off.”
Carr dubbed his process the easy method. On this route, he claims, the focus is not on why you need to quit the addiction but to analyze and face the cigarette problem squarely. Here are the tips he shares:
If there is any good time to quit smoking, it is now. In Easy Way to Stop Smoking, the author admonishes that you start immediately. Ostensibly, while reading this book, you will most likely be fired up and eager to put to work all you’ve learned. Do not wait for things to cool off. Ride the eaves of the enthusiasm and get things started immediately. Put your plans to work without delay.
Believe you can do it
You can kick the smoking addiction, regardless of what you’ve known to the contrary. It doesn’t matter if you’ve tried before and failed. Every ex-smoker goes through the phase of quitting and starting out again. Believe that this is it, your last ride down the road.
Have a healthy view of the addiction
The inability to quit smoking, as we mentioned earlier, is due to nicotine addiction. Hence, it makes sense to view the condition as a disease and nothing else. According to Carr, this is important for several reasons. The first is that a proper view of the problem positions you to tackle it. Many high-powered executives know what to do when they get a diagnosis from a doctor. They know to immediately seek treatment and to stick to any cure they find. Unfortunately, most do not import this same mindset to the treatment of smoking addiction. This is because most of them are oblivious to the fact that it is actually a disease.
Prepare to go cold turkey
Carr advises his readers to keep smoking until they reach the end of the book. However, once they finish the book, they take their last puff and call it the end. Truly, it might be hard to just up and quit smoking. You need to prepare for it: this is what the book does before you get to its end. In addition, you may want to check out other resources, classes, videos, etc. on the subject. Make sure that when you say goodbye, you actually mean it.
Get your concerns out of the way
Some people believe that they put on weight if they quit smoking. There is certainly no evidence for this assertion. Furthermore, some others believe they would miss smoking. Carr also asserts that this would most likely not be the case. According to the author, most people feel a sense of freedom when they quit smoking. Hence, it is hardly imaginable that you would miss smoking. If anything, you may long for the nicotine rush every once in a while. However, time easily handles this challenge.
Get further help
Beyond the ideas in this book, you may need further help. For instance, you may need a therapist to aid with the process. Do not be shy about taking whatever time you need to get well.
If this guide appears deceptively simple, it is because it is. Carr demystifies the smoking addiction, giving practical and relatable steps to calling it quits. Again, the Headway Library provides you with a succinct summary of this book. Other helpful resources also exist on the platform. Start your journey to wholesomeness now.