Thursday, December 14, 2006

Easyway=pants. Thus far.

I went to have dinner with the formidable and delightful C last night (God it was a great meal), and explained to her what’s happening at the moment:

I’m trying to brainwash myself.

I’ve never been brainwashed. I am skeptical about most things in life, ever-questioning, ever needing sound and solid proof.

So when I started reading The Easyway™ To Give Up Smoking by Alan Carr, I wasn’t convinced.
In a nutshell, this is the book that will make you stop smoking. No ifs or buts. He reckons smokers are already brainwashed, so he tries to counter-brainwash you throughout the book by convincing you that you actually don’t want to smoke. And that by ‘quitting’, you’ll come away feeling euphoric as you’ve ‘escaped the nicotine trap.’
Euphoric about quitting? Hmm, dubious. To say the least.

I wouldn’t listen to such drivel if the man hadn’t been a smoker himself. He was. But he’s successfully, since last year, brainwashed 25 000 smokers into thinking they hate their habit. So I am trying really, really hard to believe him.

I’m only halfway through, and I’m continually trying to tell myself these things:
1) I will not feed the ‘little monster.’
2) I’m only addicted to the nicotine, which will soon subside.
3) I’m only ‘putting my hands into boiling water to feel the relief of withdrawing them.’
4) I’m escaping the trap, the prison that rules my life.
5) I must pity casual smokers.
6) I must keep an open mind (…so that he can brainwash me?)
7) All ‘willpower’ methods don’t work, Easyway™ does.

I can see what he’s trying to do. Convince me, the smoker, that it doesn’t take willpower to stop. He reckons I don’t need willpower because I won’t ever feel the need to smoke.
This is all very well, but I don’t give a fuck. I’m reading this book because I love to hate to love smoking.

I’m all for brainwashing if it means it’s going to benefit me. But the fact of the matter is, I’m not easily brainwashed. I believe that people who believe fundamentally in one thing, and only one thing, whether it be a religious figure, a way of life, or a particular regime have been brainwashed. I know I’m opening up an argument, but that’s just what I believe. Respect it.

I wish I could be like this sometimes. Accepting and faithful. But I’m not.
I just hope by the end of the book I don’t want to smoke anymore, just like the others didn’t.
He talks sense, but the underlying truth is: smokers believe they cannot live without cigarettes.

Your social life is over, your nerves are shot, you're cranky. Life is hardly worth living without the concept of cigarettes. I am a drug addict. Insufferably and insatiably addicted to nicotine. I need a method that WORKS here.

I’m trying really hard to absorb all of what he teaches. Repeating it my head all day long, but not believing it. Or believing it, but not believing it may actually work long-term.
I'm halfway through. So maybe the second half will enlighten me.

PS: I nearly tore my hair out in the car last evening in the traffic, congested because of the Gautrain. No cigarettes, closed windows, Gautrain traffic resulting in a closure in Oxford Road: I was at a wits end. So I drank lots of wine at C's. And crawled to Smoking Legs' place for a midweek napover thereafter.


Jam said...

I've heard about this book too, and I'm not easily brain washed either. Normally I can see the process happening while someone is trying to brainwash me which kind of undermines their attempts. I'm planning on quitting on Saturday (for the millionth time this year) since I will be leaving my normal routine, and will be free of the stresses that normally cause me to smoke in my life. By the time I return from holiday, I should be two weeks into the process and can hopefully continue.
If you've never done it before, I suggest you try Smokenders. It stopped me for over four years. I've seen people who've smoked for over 50 years quit on Smokenders.
Hope the book works for you though. I just know I'm so sick of feeling sick when I smoke...

Peas on Toast said...

Thanks Jam. I'm also ready to try and quit again in time for the holidays. But if all else fails, I'm going to cash in and do SmokeEnders. Not a bad idea - where and what else does one do??

Triggermap said...

I'm with Jam. I flipped through this book and thought crap. I also did smokenders and have been smoke free since July. If you're on Discovery Vitality, you can get a reduced rate for smokenders. It also teaches you to hate the habit, but it also gives you the support mechanisms you need and don't have.

kyknoord said...

If it was only the nicotine addiction, you could deal with that using a patch. The psychological addiction goes far, far deeper. I stopped smoking in 1993 and I still miss it. The only absolute, sure-fire was to stop smoking is to avoid alcohol in any quantity. Most smokers who are desparately trying to quit end up failing the "beer test".

girl in the world said...

I did it by moving to a new town…

Peas on Toast said...

Triggermap - I'm on hospital plan. But I'm willing to fork out the cash if it means it'll help me stop. Definitely something to look into.

Kyk - this is not good news my friend. 1993? Fucking hell. Worse news still is that smokers have to change their whole LIVES in order to quit. Like stop drinking, or like Girl In the World, move towns. This drives me crazy!
On top of that, I'll get fat and have to start gym. PANTS!

I'm so frustrated right now.

Crusoe said...

Mr Carr didn't force his way into your life in order to 'brainwash' you. You opened his book and began to read because 'what if' it could help you? I think you should give him some slack and finish the book without questioning his motives - you chose him remember.

If you WANT to quit then the book can help, but I know people who read the book and couldn't quit. They were just stubborn because they knew best. Are you like that?

Shew, that started to get serious! Relax, your life isn't going to change at all. You might quit smoking on the way but the rest stays the same. The sex also gets better because you don' lose your breath :)

Lollipop said...

Try find another way to destress. I dont like the idea of brainwashing - my mind wanders so often I might wash the wrong bit.
I was lucky, as a social smoker for 2 years I never picked up the habit, made my hair stink!

My mom went on management training with this woman and claimed she was brilliant. She deals with psychosis and addictions.

There's a website that my friend (a smoker of 12 yrs) found and quit within 3 hrs.

Lisa said...

Hey Peas,

To be honest, I did the Easyway course and as cheesy as That Guy who ran it was, it worked...for all of five months until i thought i could have 'just one'.

Ditto giving up with the patches for a month and a half earlier this year.

Stats say that smokers quit on average 6 times before it "takes".
Let Allan Carr work for you if it will...

I mean, i am a committed smoker i know...but i intend to see the year out as a non-smoker and i'll be (virtually) holding hands with you and Jam as i go...

Good luck, honey. The feelings do pass.

Peas on Toast said...

Crusoe - I know the book worked for you my friend. I want to know why, so next time we meet up, we going to have some serious discussions over it ok. I'm trying very hard not to be stubborn here, but he insists it's not about willpower. Maybe I haven't reached the enlightening stage of the book yet - but I was tearing my hair out yesterday!

Peas on Toast said...

Lollipop - thansk for the link dollface. I'll definitely be checking it out!

Lisa - Six times before taking - I think this is the sixth time I'll be trying to give this is good news. I'm willing to try any method at this point. So I'll continue to read Mr Carr. If no luck, Smokenders it is. I'm sure heroin addiction is easier than this. Everytime I see a smoker I start drooling. At least heroin addicts don't see people shooting it at every cafe they pass...sigh.

Inyoka said...

The best way to stop smoking is to change one's lifestyle.

Join a running club, and start training for a race. Get SL to join you. The fitter you get, the less you will feel like smoking.

Not easy to start, but worth it in the long run (n.p.i)

Peas on Toast said...

Inyoka - This is what kills me. I'm not sure I'm ready to change my entire lifestyle to stop smoking. It's something that inevitably has to happen, but I need to get my mind around it first.
Cycling isn't a bad option, I enjoyed my race. It's just a matter of actually doing it.

Crusoe said...

Cool you can grill me about it when we catch up. Just keep smoking until you have finished the book and then if it feels right quit.

You know my story, close on 2 boxes a day for 10 years. Had never tried to quit before but I had had enough so I read the book and BAM, that was it.

I also couldn't give a fuck if he brainwashed me. I'm incredibly headstrong but I was willing to let him in because if it got me to quit then I couldn't care. I wouldn't have cared if it also made me hate chocolate, as long as I didn't want to smoke.

I'll give you the inside scoop when we catch up :)

Girl in the World said...

It does get easier with time and you realize how oppressive the habit is and that its just so 90’s to be a smoker but oh oh oh, as kyk warned, beware the booze! I’m at that stage where it’s like, ‘A drag of that ciggy would go down so well with this whipsky’ and because I’m sooo over the whole smoking thing I think why not, just one nice little drag… Next thing I’ll be having to move again!

Peas on Toast said...

Crusoe - I can't wait to get the inside scoop. If it means you can brainwash me into being brainwashed by him I'm all for it!
So, tell me, big guy - how are your brainwashing techniques??

Girl In World - It's very oppressive. Yet we still do it. Outside in the pouring rain if necessary. Why? Addiction. I'll find a method eventually, I hope.

Girl in the World said...

Good luck :)

fida said...

just think of it !!!

a plant controls you!!

you put leaves in your mouth and set it alight ??

you are far more superior than that :) i went for a process called cupping (where they make slits on parts of your body and draw out bad blood via suctioning it...sounds hectic..but it wasnt bad!) hell! i gave up smoking straight after that.......didnt feel for even one more...

its a mind thing! bleh!

Peas on Toast said...

Thanks Girl. :)

Fida - Cupping - hectic! And a plant controls me, I know it seems ludicrous. But smokers by large don't even care if they get sick or the threat of of things like lung cancer.

It just occurred to me: perhaps I can replac smoking with another vice? Like, I dunno, cake?
(Hello Michelin Manlady.)

Revolving Credit said...

Hi, my names Rev and I'm an alcoholic..umm...oops, sorry..wrong addiction.


Hi, my names Rev and I'm a smoker.
It's been about 55min since my last cigarette, I've just had a cup of coffee and am now contemplating my next nicotine fix.

It does not matter what people say or do, it's about you - you MUST want to stop.
As Crusoe said, he got to a point where he'd had enough.

Thats what you need to get your mind around. Unless you've made that conscious decision, any attempt will be half hearted and/or temporary and ultimately doomed to failure.

tBerry said...

I quit 2 years ago when I went on an active holiday with mates who didn't smoke. I knew I would feel kak being the only smoker, so I just didn't bring any.

After smoking 20 a day and binge smoking more for 15 years, its been great to be free of it.

BUT, first thing is that you actually need to WANT to quit. And then its about consciously breaking the habit. In the beginning I had to consciously give my hands something to do so that I wouldn't reach for a Marlboro Light. Now its much easier, but I do have the occasional "just one" when I've had a few pots.

Peas on Toast said...

Rev - Yip, we can conquer alcoholism another day. :)

I go throgh flux. After a big night I want to give up. When I see how it's destroying my nerves and how dependent I am on it, I want to stop.

When I'm out having a drink and mixing with my best mates (who ALL smoke), I certainly don't want to quit.

But on a general scale, I do. The holidays will make a big difference methinks...

Peas on Toast said...

tBerry - toushay. I'm going on holiday first with the family (who don't smoke, but rest assured the old nerves will be frayed after each day), then with Smoking Legs to Knysna and other mates who don't smoke. So that could be my saving grace.

I need to find something to do with my hands in the office. In the bedroom it's sorted, but in public I need to constantly foil the urge to fidget.

Antoine said...

I am trying to think why one would give it smoking.

It is calming, allows one to think when in meetings as you can take a slow drag before you have to answer, makes the hangovers 10 times worse in the morning which reminds you that you cannot drink so much and be a danger to others on the road.

I mean goodness - who wants to live forever!!


Crusoe said...

I'll have you dancing like a monkey and clucking like a chicken in no time!! Doubt that will help you quit smoking but it will be funny none-the-less. :)

On the issue of still wanting to smoke years after you have quit, it's sadly true, but it isn't what you think. It isn't the kind of craving you would get now, it's a reminiscent longing that has no substance or craving. Just a 'hmmm' and then you move along.

Seeing a smoker running out of a movie theatre is all the reminder you will ever need.

And if that doesn't help, just know that you will have to quit sometime. Either now or when you are in hospital getting your lungs scooped out with a spoon. Either way, you will have to face it. At least now it will be easy.

Peas on Toast said...

Antoine - Hangovers don't exist when you don't smoke. So you're right: you just drink more and more. But you're not helping big guy (although I tend to agree with you...)

Peas on Toast said...

Crusoe "lungs being scooped out with a spoon."

I like that. Shock therapy. It works. I want to be scared shitless in order to stop.

Crusoe said...

My mother was a nurse and she assisted on the surgery on her sisters lungs. They literally scooped her lungs out with a spoon. Naturally my mum never smoked again.

Sorry, I know that's pretty hectic, but that's where the 'spoon' bit came from.

Peas on Toast said...

Crusoe - now that's what I'm talking about. That's hectic, and your mum is one brave cookie for doing that. But I want to relive this image everytime I think about lighting up.

ChewTheCud said...

Is this one of those visualization things about how the subconscious can't tell the difference between real and imagined events so you constantly picture yourself not smoking?

I remember being told that one show in Durban used to have a babies lung on display next to a smokers lungs. apparently it was very effective but some bleeding heart liberal douches said it was too disturbing and got it taken down. Never fear - look here!

oh btw - theres just enough sunshine left for you to get some too peas - heres a ray of mozambique for ya ;)

boldly benny said...

Hi Peas
There are so many ways to give up and all of them work for different people - you just have to find one that fits with you.
I smoked for twelve years and a big thing was that I didn't want to give up, I really loved smoking - sounds weird but I loved the whole process of it and the social side of it (I met people by asking for a light or offering a light) - okay I didn't like the morning man-voice side of it.
I got really sick earlier this year and just switched to menthol but was not willing to give it up. I started to get worse and since I was in Cape Town I had to be booked off and change flights - it was a huge mission. I decided to try stopping - well at least until I got better, I'd done it before so it was no pressure coz I kept telling myself I could start once I was better. I got better and decided to lay off the smokes to see how long I could go without... it's been 9 months! For me the key has been that I tell myself I can start smoking again if I want to but let's see how long I can ride this for. Yes, I do miss it at times but I'm really proud that I've gone this long without having one that I don't want to go back. Weird strategy but if I tell myself I can't have something then I crave it more than ever (that's why diets would NEVER work for me).
So far so good, I hope you find the method that works for you xB

Peas on Toast said...

Chew - thanks big guy. :) Yeah, I'm thinking I need to hang a smokers lung in my house. 3RM and The Ant may not approve, but all in the name of good health eh?

Boldly - It's funny how serious illness or something fundamental makes us stop. I got pneumonia last year and managed to stop. For a while. But it was awful. I hope it doesn't happen again.
The las time I stopped I really believed it was for good. (This year). Then I reached for them during my break up. If only I hadn't...

ChewTheCud said...

mate has a herbal powder you dip cigarettes into. got from taiwan. makes you smoke less apparently. just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peas

Good luck with the "Stop Smoking" It sounds better than how I'm doing.
Keep us up to date about the progress.

Peas on Toast said...

Chew - I've tried the herbal cigarettes route before, so I'm guessing it's much in a muchness: the taste is so bad you don't want to smoke them.

Spider - thanks. I fear my holiday will be spent in a state of rehab...;)

zuzula said...

I quit smoking 4 years ago after reading that book. Okay, I have the occasional drunken relapse but I smoked upwards of 20 a day for the best part of 10 years until I discovered Allen Carr! Good luck :)

mrman said...

the problem i have with the "hate the habit" approach is that you become an addict to NOT smoking. sounds ridiculous, but it's true. i quit to be free, not just shift my addiction. so now i only have a cigarette when i really want to, especially not when i feel i need to. i might just be bullshitting myself, so sue me.

Gotime said...

It's a pity that our Mr Carr still died of lung cancer!

Peas on Toast said...

Zu - that's another good spate of good news. With the help of you and Crusoe saying you managed with the book, I shall strive to become a non-smoker! :)

mrman - Hey, I'd never sue you. ;) Even if I do shift the addiction to somethign else - or another mindset - I'd be fairly happy with that mrman. :)

Gotime Shut up! Serious??

Gotime said...

Not a word of a lie...

Richard said...

I believe that people who believe fundamentally in one thing, and only one thing, whether it be a religious figure, a way of life, or a particular regime have been brainwashed.

I'm unsure of the tone of this paragraph so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. But let me ask you this. What about your life makes you think you haven't been brainwashed into thinking that smoking, drinking or whatever else you do is okay? By your posts you seem to fit into the "a way of life, or a particular regime" category.

I know I’m opening up an argument, but that’s just what I believe. Respect it.

You may be entitled to your opinion but I don't have to respect it. As much as I don't like religious fundamentalism, I wouldn't chose to take a stance that's hypocritical.

Lollipop said...

Who died?

addictions are now classified as a disease like diabetes. Apparently it's not something you can get rid of but it is treatable. If a diabetic changes his diet and exercises he wont need injections as often. If you're aware of the weakness you can control and treat it.

Now to get rid of my ridiculous addiction for cake.

Peas on Toast said...

Richard - "What about your life makes you think you haven't been brainwashed into thinking that smoking, drinking or whatever else you do is okay?"

I don't think it's okay. Which is why I'm trying to change it.

"By your posts you seem to fit into the "a way of life, or a particular regime" category."

Do I? A party lifestyle you might say. But then what constitutes that really? A party for some, a boring existence for others maybe.

"You may be entitled to your opinion but I don't have to respect it."

Just then I choose not to respect yours. But whatever, thanks for your comment.

Kate said...

let me know if it works. i need to stop for my health, and my bank balance. smoking if fecking expensive over here!

Peas on Toast said...

Lollipop - hmmm, so I dig this actually. A disease isn't something that can go away without serious treatment, and it is considered and illness.
Perhaps Smokenders is closer than I think! :)

Gotime - thanks guy, will check it out right away!

Richard said...

Just then I choose not to respect yours. But whatever, thanks for your comment.

I suppose it's a good thing I didn't ask for it then.

Peas on Toast said...

Richard - are you sure you're not a religious fundamentalist a or someone that eats excessive amounts of chick peas because you believe it's the key to good health? Perhaps you've started a cult separatist group?

Richard said...

No, I'm not a religious fundamentalist. I'm just someone who believes that contradictions don't lend itself to religious debate. But then I suppose I've come to the wrong place if I expected logic to prevail.

Daedalus said...

... and you are trying to give up smoking on the eve of a major blogger meet ... ak .. there will be smokers... and you will be frustrated... :o

Peas on Toast said...

Richard - fair enough.
You sure you not part of a cult though? Sure sure?

I'm just pulling your leg. Logic and reason aren't a priority for me right now in the face of nicotine cold turkey. So fair enough.

D-Guy - I know. Expect lots of hair pulling. :)

Richard said...

I used to go to cubs. Does that count? :D

Peas on Toast said...

Richard - that's where cults start my friend. ;)
I see cult recruiters all over the place. They're plain dressed, but one can spot them a while away. ;)

Daedalus said...

We will have smokes there if it gets too much hahaha...

Andre SC said...

good luck, and how is it going?

(I've resorted to patches and considering hypno-therapy, running out of options fast:-( )