Thursday, September 16, 2021

I kicked cigarettes out of my life 13 years ago. My addiction had been building for 27 years, and I broke it naturally. Without pills. Without nicotine patches or gum or inhalers. And without herbs.

For me, quitting naturally meant no substances of any kind. Nada.

Like many other nicotine junkies, I balked at the thought of breaking my craving by using still more nicotine, or any other chemical. I thought, if those things are safe, how come there are warnings about how to use them, especially for pregnant women?

My mother had been a smoker and so had my brother. They were both dead of lung cancer. I was determined not to join them, not for a long while, anyway. I wanted desperately to quit, to purge my body of all the bad stuff I’d put into it, the result of smoking so many thousands of cigarettes over the years.

All right, I wouldn’t use chemicals. I tried cold turkey. I tried meditation. I tried cutting back a little more each day. I can tell you plenty about what works and what doesn’t.

At the top of the “doesn’t work” list is cutting down. I’ve never known smokers who were able to cut down a little each day, trying to get to no cigarettes at all. It doesn’t take long before they’re right back where they started, smoking away all day long. Cutting down simply doesn’t work. Either you smoke or you don’t smoke. You have to make up your mind.

I nearly made it going cold turkey. Tried it several times before I understood I’d never succeed. I’d go a week, maybe two, once even two and a half months. Then back on the cigarettes. And would you believe it, I also smoked a pipe, which I would take from my huge collection.

I needed help. For me that help came, in the end, from inside me. I took the time to stop and think it all through. Why did I start? Why do I smoke? Do I need willpower to stop? Why am I afraid to stop? It was only after I solved these puzzles that I stopped smoking, once and for all.

I learned that the natural way to quit smoking is a mind game. My quitting wasn’t the result of my body’s reaction to some chemical. It happened because I changed the way I thought about tobacco, and what it meant in my life. After that it was easier than I thought it could be. No anxiety, and very few withdrawal problems. I’ve never smoked another cigarette. I even threw out my pipes.

Today there are scores of natural stop-smoking programs you can download right from the Internet. Some involve one form or another of hypnosis, and I’m told many smokers find them to be effective. But knowing what I know now, if I were still smoking I’d choose a program to help me recognize the realities of smoking, and revise my thinking. Because that’s what had to happen to me before I could kick the habit.

If you want to choose a natural way to quit smoking, check out the available programs. But be cautious, because some of the systems on the market are questionable. Make certain the claims sound reasonable. And be sure you can get your money back if the program isn’t working for you, or if you’re unhappy for any reason at all.


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