Sunday, January 16, 2005

SESSION ONE

MAKING A DECISION TO QUIT
Part 1


I sincerely hope that you are reading this because you already recognize a need, or at least have some degree of interest, in quitting a smoking habit.
The purpose, of this first session is to guide you in making a carefully thought out decision to quit. Following sessions will help you through the actual quitting process. For now, please just keep an open mind. You may or may not have made a commitment to quit yet. That's O.K. Just keep reading and smoking for now. You will quit only after you have made a personal, informed, reasoned decision. If you have tried to quit unsuccessfully in the past, that's O.K. This session will help you to make a decisive recommitment that will enable you to succeed this time.
THE SMOKING HABIT
Smoking is a habit. A habit is a inclination to repeat a act or activity, often unconsciously. The longer and more frequently the action has been repeated, the stronger the inclination becomes to repeat it. Does this mean that there is no chemical addiction to smoking? No, not at all. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. But, the important thing here, is that the majority of your smokes are determined by habit, and not at all by chemically addictive needs.
Nicotine is retained in your body for only a few days after quitting the use of tobacco but the associated physical habits including hand and mouth activities, can linger for some time afterwards.
Let's talk briefly about habits. Years ago, when you learned to write, you had to remember each time that you made a letter i, to place a dot over the stick. Soon, you did it out of habit. And that's another interesting thing about habit. A action of habit is very often triggered by something else. In the case of writing, you don't insert dots randomly. You do it only when your subconscious mind is triggered by a stick which needs a dot.
SMOKING TRIGGERS
There are situations that 'trigger' the urge to smoke, just as the stick in the letter i triggers you to insert a dot when writing. The same mental processes work, in triggering a smoke as in dotting an i or pushing on the clutch pedal of a automobile just prior to shifting gears. (If you’ve never driven a stick shift, I apologize). You don't have to remind yourself, "Time to push in the clutch pedal, I'm about to shift". The need to change gears 'triggers' your subconscious to cause your foot to push on the clutch pedal.
SITUATIONS THAT ARE MOST LIKELY TO TRIGGER THE URGE TO SMOKE
1. When you are drinking alcoholic beverages or,
2. When you are tense or under pressure or,
3. When you are bored or physically idle or,
4. When you are with someone else who smokes or,
5. In association with physical gratification. (after meals, sex etc.)
6. When you need a 'pick-me-up' and on and on.
If you will give some thought to the smokes you have had during the last couple of days, then you know that you rarely decided to smoke. You do so almost void of conscious thought. You light up, smoke, and extinguish with little thought of the details of the act. Like tying shoestrings, when you were first learning how to do it, every step of the smoking activity was deliberate and conscious.
Do you remember when you first smoked? Was it pleasurable or fun? Or did you do it to go along with the crowd. I still remember, just as clearly as if it was yesterday. It's been a lot of years. Some school-mates had obtained a pack of cigarettes and were secretly smoking in the school yard. I was coaxed into taking that first puff by them, and by my need to be one of the gang, and out of curiosity. I had no idea I would become hooked on a drug that might one day kill me. Probably like you, I still remember that the first smoke tasted horrible and made me choke and gag.
None of us were born smokers. We forced ourselves to inhale that awful tasting junk into our lungs until we were hooked. Why did you take your first smoke? Remember?
In the following sessions you will learn some tricks to help you overcome the 'trigger' process. But first, let's think about the decision to quit. The word decision is defined as the act of making up your mind on a course of action. In order for you to make up your mind you must review all of the relevant facts. Here are some very relevant facts regarding smoking.
SMOKING FACTS
You are many times more likely to develop mouth, throat, or lung cancer, heart diseases, emphysema, circulatory problems, bladder cancer (if you're male), unhealthy pregnancy (including SIDS babies) etc, etc, if you smoke.
You are a prisoner of your own habit. Did you ever suddenly discover as you traveled somewhere that you had left your smokes behind? Did panic and self contempt set in? I always kept extra packs stashed in the car, in the house, in a closet etc. In no way was I going to be more that a few steps from a smoke. Sound Familiar? If that's not imprisonment what is it?
You have, or will, influence others to take up the habit of smoking or at best not influence them to quit by continuing to smoke yourself. I regret that one of my sons took up smoking in his teens. I wish I could back up a few years and set a different example for him. I have watched close friends and acquaintances suffer the devastation of lung cancer and die. Oh how I wish now, that I could have influenced them to not smoke. Has this or will this happen to you?
There's a very effective little demonstration you can do in private to see what happens inside your lungs when you smoke. Just inhale a big puff of smoke and blow it out through a handkerchief or tissue, try it. You can imagine a layer of that stuff on extremely sensitive lung tissue. And, yes, it's being absorbed into the bloodstream continually, where it causes major and dangerous changes to your body organs and chemistry. Our bodies were not created to undergo this kind of poisoning!
Besides all the life-threatening health risks that confront smokers, you likely have more colds, sore throats etc. than non-smokers. Your sense of smell and taste are diminished and your eyes are frequently irritated.
The Surgeon General has reported that one of six deaths result directly from smoking.
And if these things aren't bad enough, you really are placing family and others close to you at risk. As a smoker you have probably already burned something of value; clothing, furniture etc. and you're paying higher taxes and life insurance than non-smokers. Your doctor will verify these health risks.
Smokers literally stink! You can't really know how bad you smell to non-smokers. Your sense of smell is so diminished from smoking that you honestly cannot smell tobacco on yourself or other smokers. After not smoking for just a few weeks my ability to smell was reborn. When I hugged a relative who smokes, I realized how much my wife must love me, to have put up with such a stink for twenty five years. If you want to experience what you put a non-smoking mate through, dump the ashes and butts from a ashtray that has sat overnight, put your nose and lips into the thing, take a good whiff and then kiss the bottom of it. I am not exaggerating.
Now, I have to tell you that as a smoker for 30+ years, I really did not like hearing these sort of facts. I didn't doubt them. I just didn't want to be told or reminded. After all these are pretty ugly negative things. And even the word quit (as in to quit smoking) sounds pretty negative, implying that you're going to do without something. Now it's just not in our nature to want to do without anything. We’ve been trained from birth to throw a tizzy fit when we have to do without anything.
Henceforth, we will not speak of quitting, we will talk in terms of becoming a non-smoker and of the advantages, to you, of being a non-smoker.
NON-SMOKING ADVANTAGES
1. You will have a healthier body, feel better and be more energetic.
2. You will have significantly less risk of cancer, heart attack, emphysema, circulatory problems and other potentially fatal diseases.
3. You will stop risking the health of your family and loved ones.
4. You will have extra money, probably a lot more than you've thought.
5. You will be a positive example and influence on others.
6. You will be more relaxed, less tense.
7. You will be more in control of your actions and your life.
8. You will be successful in accomplishing a very important goal.
9. You will be free of imprisonment to a habit or chemical.

COST OF SMOKING
Let's take a close look at the cost of smoking. On a daily basis it may not seem like a lot of money. It adds up! Take your daily smoking cost and multiply it by 365 to obtain your annual savings potential. Now multiply that amount by the number of remaining years you hope to live.
In my case the arithmetic went something like this:
My daily cost $5.00 X 365 days X 20 year = $36,500.00.
Of course if you are younger than I was, at the time I became a non-smoker again, then your savings would be greater. And keep in mind that this is after-tax money and could easily be three or four times as large, if wisely invested over the years.
For example if you now only spend $1,000.00 per year on smoking, but instead, invest that amount into a mutual fund returning 15% it would look something like this:
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 5
Year 10
Year 20
$1,075
$2,311
$3,733
$7,248
$21,826
$110,127
After I calculated my lifetime smoking cost, I committed to myself that when I had been a non-smoker for six months, I was going to buy a bass boat. As added incentive, I window shopped, picked up a boat brochure, and carried the picture around with me, all the time. Every time I felt a really intense smoking urge, I took the picture out and looked at it. I strongly encourage you to choose a similar positive goal. (I've enjoyed my boat for several years!)
In the following chart, in the left column, find the closest amount to that which you spend per day on smoking. Then, across the top of the chart, find the number of remaining years of life that you expect, or hope, to live. The number in the chart, where these two intersect, is your lifetime material cost, with the money invested rather than smoked (based on very conservative historic investment return rates). And keep in mind also, that the cost of smoking will continue to rise; doubling about every 5 years.
LIFETIME COST OF SMOKING
Daily Cost Number of years you expect to live

10
20
30
40
50
$4
$16,060
$32,120
$48,180
$60,225
$80,300
$5
$20,075
$40,150
$60,225
$80,300
$100,375
$6
$24,090
$48,180
$72,720
$96,360
$120,450
$7
$28,105
$56,210
$84,315
$112,420
$140,525
(The actual amounts would be greater because this chart doesn't include compounding)
USING THE ABOVE CHART, NOTE THE AMOUNT THAT YOU WOULD SPEND ON SMOKING DURING YOUR LIFETIME.
NOW, USE THE LINK BELOW TO A FORM TITLED, "MY FACT SHEET". PRINT AND KEEP IT. YOU WILL BE INSTRUCTED FROM TIME TO TIME TO ENTER FACTS AND INFORMATION ON IT. WHEN YOU HAVE IT PRINTED, GO TO SESSION ONE PART 2. Or you can copy the information onto a index card, to be carried with you for the next couple of weeks