My usual advice to clients who are coming along to ditch their smoking habit is that they don’t need to prepare in any way, smoke as usual in the days before the session and earlier on that day. I explain that most smokers will have a cigarette before they come in, and I believe that is the best way to approach it, they can leave the rest to me.
Occasionally though someone will do things a bit differently out of choice, and a recent example was a chap who decided – having read quite a lot of this website – to demonstrate to himself that he could adjust a particular part of his smoking routine without any difficulty well before the smoking session. So he invented the Non-Smoking Smoke Break.
Now, I’m not suggesting that if you try this yourself you will surely find it as easy as he did. In fact, if you attempt to impose this restriction on yourself using willpower (a conscious effort to just ignore cravings) I would expect you to find that pretty damn difficult. But that is not what my client did.
Doing Subconscious Deals with Yourself
What he did was not actually unique, because smokers commonly do a little deal with themselves over when and where smoking is okay, and sometimes they change it. Like the smoker who buys a new car, and decides they’re not going to turn this baby into a mobile ashtray! So they don’t – and that’s the end of them smoking in cars. Or the smoking parent with a new baby who decides that no-one is allowed to smoke in the house any more, except in the kitchen. Some will extend that to standing at the back door.
In truth, these are normal smoking self-restrictions, and as long as it was your idea and you would genuinely prefer it that way, it is remarkably easy to do. The Subconscious picks up on the new routine within a week, and all impulses to reach for tobacco will quickly disappear in the self-restricted areas. From that point onwards the smoker will feel very much inclined to head for the back door whenever some other trigger trips the smoking signal.
Smokers Don’t Like Being Told What to Do!
Naturally, smokers’ responses to new restrictions are a bit different when the restriction was someone else’s idea! Many smokers originally started smoking partly because they were told not to. In fact anyone who first tried a cigarette before they were sixteen (eighteen now! Who’s daft idea was that?) knew that they were breaking the law, the school rules perhaps, and going against the wishes of parents and authority figures. Of course – that was largely the appeal of it! So by extending the period of those restrictions by another two years the government have also extended that rebellious Subconscious motivation to get involved in the whole smoking pantomime by another 24 months. Stupid!
So all my client really did, in the run up to his smoking cessation session, was re-invent his smoke break at work so that it no longer included a cigarette. Instead he had decided to have a cup of tea, and because he had decided to be entirely successful with this right away – thus proving to himself that he didn’t really ‘need’ that cigarette – and because it was entirely his own idea, and didn’t involve anyone else at all… he was immediately successful with it.
Of course we need a break. We look forward to it and enjoy it, and because no-one can smoke when they’re working nowadays, the only time a smoker can fit in any smoking during work hours is to slot that in at breaks and at dinnertime. We enjoy those free moments, so it is very easy for the smoker to believe that they are looking forward to, and enjoying those cigarettes. My client decided to prove to himself that he could alter that by choice, and found that it was actually the break he was enjoying, the Subconscious quickly recognised the change and ceased to send the impulse to smoke at those times. No real need or ‘addiction’ involved.
Actually, even when the changes are imposed by other people, most smokers will adjust quickly enough just for their own convenience. Only the smokers that truly resent it will find that difficult, because – whether they realise this consciously or not – they chose to find it difficult! Their reasons are understandable, but most smokers can’t be bothered to object for long.
If you would like to be free of tobacco, just pick up the phone!
Office: 0161-474-8120 Monday-Friday 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., or call/text 07748 838 644 any day, any time.