Are these your LIFE ESSENTIALS?
Think you’re addicted? Really?
Or is it an excuse for not taking control?
Despite being a lifelong non-smoker, living and working in an almost entirely smoke-free world (apart from holding my breath to get past smokers in the street), I’m a realist when it comes to people’s smoking habits and I was amazed how dumb-struck I was when a patient, on arrival for treatment today, put his phone, wallet, cigarettes and lighter onto the desk in my treatment room. Now don’t get me wrong, I know many of my patients smoke and undoubtedly have their cigarettes tucked away in their handbag or jacket pockets when the attend for treatment, but in this situation I thought it was an interesting representation of what was central to this patient’s everyday life! What was completely normal for him, I found quite shocking…….(Sorry Dave! I didn’t mean to make you feel bad and I’m grateful to you for allowing me to take the photo and use it as a basis for a Facebook post and blog). Dave also claimed that trying to give up smoking was the hardest thing he’d ever done and how addicted he was. It made me think of many conversations with Shirley, our hypnotherapist – who has great success with helping people quit – who has always insisted that smoking is a habit not an addiction.
Since it is Stoptober this month – an NHS initiative to encourage smokers to kick the habit – perhaps it’s an opportunity to challenge this idea that smoking is an addiction. Here’s an extract from an article by therapist Rob Kelly which might make you think differently
Challenge the belief that you are addicted to nicotine
It is understandable that you believe that you are addicted to smoking, since this is the most prevalent view within the media and medical professions. Indeed, addiction is one of the most common reasons given by smokers themselves as to why they smoke. In one research study, “92.9% rated themselves as extremely or fairly addicted” (Eiser, Van der Pligt, Raw, & Sutton, 1985).
Believing that you are addicted to smoking is very disempowering. In my experience, the single biggest reason why smokers find it so hard to quit is because they BELIEVE it is going to be really hard, because they BELIEVE that they are addicted. Yet despite the addiction claims, there is actually a great deal of evidence demonstrating that smoking is just a habit and that psychological processes contribute hugely to ‘withdrawal symptoms’ and ‘cravings’.
I don’t have the space to discuss all this evidence here, but I’ll mention just a couple of key examples! Firstly, research into Orthodox Jews, whose religion forbids them to smoke on the Sabbath, has demonstrated that even heavy smokers have little or no difficulty in abstaining entirely on the Sabbath, every single week (Dar, Stronguin, Marouani, Krupsky, & Frenk, 2005; Shiffman, 1991). Or what about the fact that nicotine-free cigarettes reduce ‘cravings’ as much as those containing nicotine (Dar, Stronguin, & Etter, 2005; Etter, Laszlo, Zellweger, Perrot, & Perneger, 2002), demonstrating that ‘cravings’ are not about nicotine ‘withdrawal’.
So, whenever you find yourself thinking that you are ‘addicted’ or that quitting is going to be really hard, tell yourself that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that you are not actually addicted to smoking. Say to yourself that quitting doesn’t need to be hard.
Read the full article here
Then contact Shirley Balfe Clinical Hypnotherapist at the Broad Street Practice. Call 01949 844649 and leave a message or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simply trust and believe that you really can be a non-smoker.
Anthea Bentley, Osteopath & Director, The Broad Street Practice Ltd