I’m deviating just a blip from my exercise in healing and discovery.  I have to take a moment to focus on a current pursuit to be free of cigarettes.    I’m currently reading the book  “The Easy Way for Women to Quit Smoking” by Allen Carr.    Now when purchasing the book, the cover and testimonials made it sound like a miracle cure.   I’m on page 68 and there’s still no mention of how to do it, which I suspect is part of his method.   He seems to be saying the same thing 20 different ways so far and I can only assume that each way is intended to embed itself in your brain a slightly different way.  Sneaky devil.     

I’ve made a commitment to read this book from cover to cover with an open mind so I’m trying to be open to the idea that even though he’s shared no information with me so far,   he must have a plan!    

Here on page 68 it tells me that I can’t read any further until I complete the following exercise to get started.    Describe why I’m a smoker, what it does for me now, and why I want to stop.  Then for the remainder of the book make a note of the page number and location of anything he says that hits home with me so that I can reference it again later.

The first clear instructions given in the book were read the entire book and read it in order.  No skipping ahead for any reason.  So, I guess that I’ll have to get this assignment done before I can know the “rest of the story”.  

The how and the why

I smoke because I was careless with my health when I was younger.  I thought I was invincible, Cancer was barely on my radar and I never thought I would get hooked, I liked the rebellion of smoking when and where and yes even sometimes what I shouldn’t be smoking.  My parents both smoked and it was easy to experiment with packs stolen from them.  On nights when they went out I would turn off all the lights except the desk lamp, load typing paper into the old fashioned type writer and punch out stories and poems while chain smoking.   I felt like such an artist.   All the while I would envision my life, my loft apartment, the books I would write, the causes I would fight for.   I suppose I associated smoking with the incredible endless sense of hope and optimism my rebel soul felt.   I would never be contained, never tamed, I would change people’s lives.    Damn!  Just remembering how good it felt to be that age, in that place, with those dreams and that passion,  makes me want to light up a smoke!   It’s an illusion we smokers have bought into, that smoking is a casual past time that enhances a mood or event and is pleasurable but can be given up anytime we want to.    Except one day when it it isn’t…….

What does smoking do for me now?

  I have no idea.  I’ve convinced myself it relaxes me but honestly it usually seems to make me feel like crap, gives me a headache and makes me a bit nauseated if I smoke too much.   I no longer believe  I smoke for pleasure.   I think I smoke for control.   Because good or bad it’s a decision I make and not one someone else is going to dictate for me.   Because it’s habit and because when you tell yourself that you CAN’T have something ever again, it sets of a strange kind of panic that is completely irrational but very powerful.    It feels like it relieves stress when I reach for one yet I never feel stress free when I finish it so it must be an illusion in my mind that makes me believe it is calming the stress in my life.   Related to yesterdays post “the woman in the mirror”, I think it also goes without saying that the prospect of gaining weight when I give up smoking is a big internal conflict for me right now as well.  It also gives me bonding time with my partner who does smoke.   When I go outside to smoke with him, it’s time together.

So.  Why do I want to quit?

I hate the way it smells, the stench on clothes, fabric, in cars, etc.   It’s embarrassing to look at an ashtray full of  butts and know I’m stupid enough to be putting all of that poison in my system. It insults my intelligence.   I use to like the way it tasted.  In particular I liked the way it tasted when I kissed boys who smoked.   I think I’m realizing it was never the smoke I liked.  It was the kissing.  In particular it was the newness of the kissing, the sensations I felt from it and the talent of the kisser that stuck with me all of these years.  

  I don’t like the way it makes me feel,  the way it raises my blood pressure or makes me feel a bit dizzy if I stand up too fast or smoke it too quickly.  I’m tired of getting colds and coughs and sore throats easier than others do.  I’m tired of the way it zaps my energy.  Of constantly cleaning my teeth to offset the nicotine.    Of being a slave to it.    Hearing myself say things like I “need” a cig.  I’d die for a smoke right now.  Tired of mindlessly following routines. Years ago I didn’t even consider hiding that I smoked.   And if it was forbidden it only added to the allure.  These days I think about who is going to see me, how I appear,  what message it sends my kids.    I want to quit because there is nothing sane, rational or healthy about smoking.   It’s not like it use to be when we didn’t truly grasp all the risks of smoking, let alone second hand smoke.

  So there we have it.  I’ve finished the assignment.  Yeah me!!!!!  And you now have more insight into the walking contradiction I have become.    On with the book….