Sunday, January 16, 2005

Session Two

Session Two

You should have completed Session One Parts 1 & 2 prior to coming here. If not, please go there now.
Welcome back and congratulations to you! Deciding to become a non-smoker is most of the battle. You have made one of the most important decisions of your life.
The objective of this session is to help you to develop a plan to return to being a non-smoker. You will learn and practice things that you can do to overcome the physical and emotional dependencies of smoking.
In Session One, we talked about things or events that trigger a urge to smoke. So let's now take a look at some smoking substitutes that you can call on when situations or events occur, that ordinarily would have made you reach for a smoke. If you have tried to quit before, then you know there are going to be difficult smoke urges to be dealt with. It would be great if I could give you a magic pill to swallow or a magic button to push and the urge would immediately go away. Well, wish as we may, there is no magic pill or button. However, YOU do have some built in weaponry that you can call on to help yourself. Very soon you'll learn to use it. This 'magic' lies in your imagination and subconscious.
This session will address practical conscious and subconscious activities to help you overcome smoking urges.
How many times have you had any great urge to smoke just as you were falling asleep or while you were asleep? My guess would be rarely if at all. The urge to smoke and your relaxed state of sleep are incompatible. Of course, a large number of people don't sleep well and may wake up and smoke because they are awake. But the need to smoke isn't what wakes them. Anyhow, if you don't have a sleep disorder and can easily do without smoking for a major part of your day (while you're asleep), doesn't it make sense that you ought to be able to abstain all day? Think about that for a moment.
The message here is that being relaxed is key to overcoming urges of habit and addiction. Millions of nail-biters can attest to that. The more tense some people are, the more they bite their nails; the more relaxed they are, the less nail biting.
The first trigger killer I want you to learn is DEEP BREATHING. Most of the time, we use significantly less than 100% of our lung capacity to breathe. Try this demonstration. Breath normally a few times, then inhale as deeply and fully as you can and hold the air in for a few seconds. Now try to see how much additional air you can inhale and wait a couple of seconds and inhale just a bit more. This is the depth that I want you to reach when I suggest that you deep breathe. Now breathe out very slowly. Now try it in one very slow steady inhalation. Take about 5 seconds for the inhalation. Then hold it for 5 seconds before exhaling equally slowly. Repeat this 3 to 5 times. This is a relaxation technique that you can do sitting, standing, lying down, driving a car, playing, working or in just about any situation. Now don't just read the words. Try it now and slowly repeat to yourself as you inhale: "one...getting relaxed, two...getting relaxed, three... getting relaxed, four... getting relaxed, five.. getting relaxed". Then as you hold your breath repeat to yourself: "one...getting easier, two...getting easier, three... getting easier, four...getting easier, five...getting easier". While you slowly release your breath repeat to yourself, 5 times: "no need to smoke..".
Now, you may think that these words are silly; they're not. They serve two purposes. First they pace your breathing, and second, they condition your subconscious thought process. After practicing this a few times, you really should substitute words of your own which compliment your motive(s) for becoming a non-smoker, such as: "I do want a boat..,” or “I do want a new car.." or "I will not die of cancer..,
I will not die of cancer.." or "This is for __________"(a loved one's name)..”, or "This is for ____________.." etc. etc. I suggest you choose from the items, people or things that you wrote on your FACT SHEET in Session One.
You'll find that repeating words that are meaningful to you personally, will be more natural and of much greater subconscious benefit. Now practice! Practice! Practice!
Deep breathing is relaxing and it's also good for lungs and blood pressure. DO NOT deep breathe while you are smoking. Practice between smokes until you are ready to make the final cut. Close your eyes as you practice this. As you inhale, 'mentally picture', fresh clean, pure air as it enters your lungs. Picture this air passing through your lungs to every part of your body, carrying invisible relaxation to your body and mind. As you slowly exhale mentally picture accumulated tar and nicotine being expelled from your lungs and picture tension and smoking urges also being expelled. Note the relaxation of your body and mind as you do this. A relaxed mental state will enable you to overcome any urge to smoke.
Starting now, do the deep breathing exercise from one to three times each time you feel the urge to smoke. Relaxation will be a major weapon that you will use to kill smoking urges later. So you need to begin practicing its use now.
Also, starting now and continuing until you have taken your last smoke, you must interrupt the unconscious routines that you have been using as you smoked. First, do not carry smoking or lighting materials on your person, in your purse or within easy reach. The idea is to force you to get up or interrupt what you are doing in order to smoke. This will help you to remember to do the deep breathing exercise and to start to take conscious control of your habits and actions.
Also starting now, and until you make the final cut, measure out a reduced amount of smokes at the beginning of each day and only allow your self to use that reduced amount.
Physical exercise is a very good trigger killer. Obviously you cannot be expected to jump up from your job when a smoke urge comes upon you and go jogging. So that's an occasion you might want to use the deep breathing exercise. Remember, though, being idle can be a major trigger. Plan now to replace some idle activities such as TV watching, reading etc. with some form of exercise. My personal favorite is walking. You should of course, consult your physician for a recommended exercise program that is safe for you, if you have any impediment. You will feel physically and mentally better if you exercise and this will reinforce your commitment to improve your health by not smoking.
Another trigger killer is chewing on a swizzle stick, tooth-pick, straw etc. Or you can chew gum or suck on a piece of hard candy. I used lollipops, mints and gum, but, I’m reluctant to recommend something that may not be good for your teeth or waistline. Make your own choice. You might do just as well nibbling on popcorn, bits of carrots, celery or apples. The point is that your mouth and hands have been an integral part of your smoking habit and they're going to need to be kept busy when urges come on. You may find it helpful to keep your hands busy fumbling with a pencil, a pen knife, key-chain etc. for a few days.
Some people may gain weight when they quit smoking. This is primarily the result of eating out of nervousness. Deep breathing should reduce your nervous tension and help to prevent weight gain from this cause. You probably will experience increased appetite and some weight gain during the first few weeks after becoming a non-smoker. This can easily be offset with exercise and the right kinds of foods. I don't mean that you have to starve, just be more selective and avoid high calorie foods. See your physician if needed, for dietary advice. And keep in mind that you would have to practically double your weight to produce a health risk equal to that caused by moderate smoking.
Another trigger killer is brushing your teeth. Think about it for a moment. How often have you smoked while you brushed your teeth? Also, most people find the taste of toothpaste and tobacco to be very incompatible. So, you may want to carry a tooth-brush and small tube of tooth-paste with you. Yes, I'm not kidding. Some other things to kill a urge are: take a shower, go shopping, go to church, gargle a mouthwash, stand up and stretch, say a prayer, meditate, go to a movie theater, whistle a tune, call a friend, go to the restroom etc. You can probably come up with many others of your own.
Recall in session One, you calculated the cost of your smoking habit for the rest of your life. Big bucks, right? Well here's probably the most powerful way to beat the urges. Identify rewards for yourself as you achieve milestones on the way to becoming a non-smoker. For example, after the first 24 hours treat yourself to something nice, not expensive, that you would like to have, but wouldn't otherwise have purchased. In my case, it was a nice dinner at a nice restaurant. Choose another more expensive reward to give yourself after 3 days of not smoking; again something you would not otherwise have bought or done; in my case a pair of binoculars. Pick another more expensive reward at the end of one week and one month. These should be things that you really want but likely would not have bought. After a month I rewarded myself with sporting goods that cost around $500.00 and as I mentioned before, after six months, a boat.
Now you may think I'm giving you some pretty frivolous, financially unsound, advice and that you can't afford rewards this expensive. I'm only suggesting a process. You need to establish the rewards that will incentive you and preplan how you are going to pay for or finance them. But know this for sure, that you are going to spend a ton of money on smoking materials and health care if you continue to smoke. So why not spend some of that money on not-smoking; in other words, on rewards that are significant enough to you, to promote success. The value of reward needed for successful incentive will be different for every person. As will also the ability to pay for their perks.
Every time you have a smoke urge, you should think about the items on your reward list. Force yourself to weigh your desire for the reward with the urge to smoke. And don't allow any compromise. If you slip up and have a smoke after 3 days (please try very hard to not do that), then start the reward clock over and punish yourself by giving an amount to charity that is equal to the last reward earned.
If you forget everything else out of this entire program but (1) realize that your very life may be at risk, right now, as you read this. And (2) if you can master the deep breathing method of relaxation and (3) can really understand and implement the right reward and punishment system for yourself. Then there is no way that you will fail to become a non-smoker again! Trust me!
Other Issues
If you drink beer or any alcohol beverages, put these aside for a couple of weeks. They are strong smoke triggers and they will tend to weaken your will power and make it easier for you to justify having "just one" smoke. If drinking coffee, triggers you to smoke, then you might consider switching to tea or cold juices for a few days. It will be helpful to increase fluid intake for a few days to speed up flushing the nicotine from your system (about 3 or 4 days).
If another member of your household smokes, ask them to abstain from smoking in the house for a while (or permanently). It won't hurt them at all and it will be much easier for you if you try to avoid friends and associates who smoke for a while.
If your spouse or house mate smokes, your task will be extra difficult. There are two reasons. First, the odor of smoke will be around to tempt your senses and second, you'll have easy access to a smoke when your will power is tested. You're going to need a commitment from other members of the household, to not smoke in the house for the next couple of weeks, and to not keep smoking material in the house (pipe, tobacco, cigarettes, lighters, etc.). This calls for sacrifice and will be easier made if other house members read through Session One to enhance understanding, empathy and commitment.
Would I encourage house mates to kick the habit together? Well, I sure wouldn't discourage it, especially if both are fully committed. What can happen though, is something like this. One partner may be less committed than the other and 'he or she rolls over' fairly quickly which produces self-doubt in the other mate, which is negative reinforcement. Just be aware of this possibility. You should never wait for a partner or mate to reach a non-smoking decision before you make yours. It’s unlikely that two people will reach the same decision at the same time, with the same level of commitment.
Would I reccomend nicotine substitutes? I'm really not too keen on them because I believe they keep you addicted, regardless of what the ads say. In my opinion, they just substitute one form of addiction for another. If you anticipate that you will be uncomfortably tense, during the first few days of non-smoking, I'm sure your physician can prescribe something to help you.
Now on the FACT SHEET from Session One, write down the trigger killers that you think will be most helpful to you. Think about which one will work best with each of your trigger situations that you identified in Session One. Review this session as many times as necessary to choose your best trigger killers. Do this before proceeding.
The only remaining area of the FACT SHEET that you have not completed is the place where you insert the date that you will become a non-smoker. It's almost time to pick a date and write it down. As you ponder this decision, don't let your mind linger on the negative aspects of quitting something. Instead, force yourself to think about the positives of becoming a non-smoker. And think about the pleasure you will get from the rewards to yourself.
My personal opinion is that it’s usually easier in the long run, if you set a very near date to become a non-smoker. You, must be the person to pick the date though. If you have a job that drives you up the wall, then you probably ought to have your last smoke on the last evening that you work before a weekend or vacation.
Plan to finish your last smoke at night. When you awake in the morning you will already have several hours of non-smoking and nicotine purging, behind you.
Discard all smoking material on the evening prior to the date. Yep, every thing; tobacco, ashtrays, matches etc. And I don't mean just put them out of sight someplace. Completely dispose of them! Trust me, throw everything away up front. If you keep a couple of cigarettes or a pipe of tobacco around for an 'emergency', you'll find an excuse to use them; been there, done that. And just knowing that you have them, will increase your anxiety and trigger smoking urges. Tapering off, very rarely works. I advise you to make a quick and final cut. Light up one final smoke and then talk to it. Let it know.. "You've controlled and threatened my life for the last time! I'm bigger than you; stronger than you! And I will no longer be controlled by you or the 'pushers' who want to keep me hooked on you! Goodbye forever!"
It can be helpful for you to tell a close friend (someone who will be supportive) that you have set a date to become a non-smoker again. You will need their support and encouragement. Just hearing yourself telling others, will strengthen your commitment. Every time you look in a mirror, after you smoke for the last time, until you have been a non-smoker for months, look yourself in the eye and say to yourself, " I am a non-smoker. I am proud of myself. I am doing what millions have not been able to do. Say these things to yourself several times.
Let me tell you one other thing which I did, that I think was extremely effective. Before I smoked for the final time, I bought a cheap portable cassette recorder, the kind with earphones, and used it to record my own voice. The script for the recording was loaded with positive, encouraging suggestions about becoming a permanent non-smoker. I listened to this tape 3 or 4 times every day at first, beginning at bedtime, after my last smoke. I used it less, as the days went by, but still listened to it often for weeks. The taped message consisted of about 20 minutes of repetitive statements to me, from me. You may think this is utterly ridiculous, talking to yourself, but I can assure you that it is not!
Do you ever find yourself humming some little jingle from a TV or radio commercial? The purpose of these tunes, is to implant a message into your subconscious, so that you cannot help but think about the advertised product. The tape that I used, achieved the same objective. You see, whether you realize it or not, you are more affected by suggestions to your subconscious than you might think. And the most effective person who will ever influence your subconscious, is yourself! Several positive self suggestions are required to overcome a single negative one. If you’re like most smokers, in the past, you have given yourself negative suggestions such as, “I don’t want to quit”, or “I can’t quit”. Again, one negative suggestion can only be overcome by several positive suggestions.
I always listened to my tape while in bed or a recliner and after doing deep breathing for a few minutes, to become relaxed. I found that sometimes I would fall asleep, while listening to the tape. Of course the tape continued to play and my subconscious mind still heard the messages being fed into my ears.
You might do well, by just reading a script to yourself without the recorder. But I really think a recording is best.
If you would like, as a courtesy to encourage you, I can supply a mini-cassette recorder with stereo ear buds for $29.95 plus $5.00 shipping. (Only to US 48). That is my cost, plus handling/packing fee. Click the purchase link below if interested. I'd really rather you bought one locally so that you can get started on the program sooner.
Also, click on the Sample Tape Script below and I’ll give you a sample of my script that I used, so that you can get a better feel for what I did.Sample Tape Script
Decision Time

This concludes Session Two. Don’t open Session Three, until you have not smoked for 72 hours
If you're still shaky about a final commitment to quit, I beg you, for the sake of your life and for your loved ones, to go back and reread Session One and Session Two again and again!


Post a Comment

<< Home