I’ve got a confession to make: I used to be a smoker. From the ages of 14-19, I smoked about a pack of Marlboro Reds a day. Then I quit cold turkey. I had no withdrawal symptoms and had no problem not smoking except when I had a drink. When I was 29, I started up again. I smoked off and on, quitting when I realized just how horrible those nicotine and chemical sticks made me feel. But I always started again. Then, I went to Peru for a month. After one particularly difficult shamanic ceremony, I spent 2 days being nauseous. On the third day I woke up and was no longer a smoker. Even the smell of cigarettes (mind you, not tobacco; cigarettes. There’s a difference) made me want to hurl. While cleansing myself of the desire to smoke hadn’t been my goal, it was a really nice side effect. To this day, I still can’t smell a pack of cigarettes without wanting to vomit.
Over the years, I’ve been asked to write up a post about how to quit smoking quite a few times. But because none of my efforts to quit had actually been successful, and because my desire to smoke had simply been shifted out of me as part of massive energy work, I didn’t have a ready answer. I had experienced the successful quitting process on fast forward and had absolutely no idea what had actually happened. And sure, I was able to receive the answers I needed by accessing the vast pot of Universal Knowledge, but I wanted more. I like to give practical advice, not just theories. I wanted to be able to say that I’d seen these techniques work. I wanted to be able to look at my own journey with smoking and make sense of it. And, I wanted to be able to offer you a framework that could be applied to quitting pretty much anything, not just cigarettes.
It’s taken me over two years, but thanks to my guides, and the Law of Attraction bringing me the perfect clients to prove my theories on, I can now say that what I’m about to share with you today definitely does work. You’re welcome.
Why Are You Smoking?
Most smokers, when asked that question, will come up with something like “I’m addicted and I can’t help it.” Almost all of them would like to quit, some are more determined than others, but I’ve hardly ever met anyone who smokes because they truly like it.
Here’s the thing: The physical dependency on nicotine and the soup of carcinogens that are present in cigarettes can be detoxed out of the body in 3 days. That’s right: 3 days. Everything after that is a different kind of dependency. Note, I’m not saying that there will be no chemicals left in the body after 3 days, but this is generally when the physical cravings stop. Only, it may not seem like that. Because the real reason you smoke can cause you to have a physical reaction that will make it feel like you’re still craving nicotine, when in fact, you’re craving something else: an emotional release.
You see, the real reason you smoke has nothing to do with your body needing the substance you’re inhaling. It’s not about dependency or nicotine or cravings. It’s about escaping an emotional pain that you’ve been unwilling or incapable of dealing with thus far. Smoking brings you some kind of relief. And until that need for relief is addressed, you won’t be able to quit smoking, or if you do, you’ll instantly replace it with another vice (like eating, drinking, gambling, whatever).
Are you actually an addict?
I realize that I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but I’ve come to believe that there are a whole lot of people in this world and especially the US who, thanks to our Drug War and the associated advertising, have come to think of themselves as addicts, when they’re not. I’ve had clients tell me they were ashamed of their “drinking problem” when, upon further inspection, they didn’t actually have one. They told me they were “addicted” to smoking, when they could easily go a week without smoking and have no symptoms, provided that there were enough distractions. Sure, physical dependency does exist. If you break out into a cold sweat every time you go for 2 hours without lighting up, if you get jittery and anxious at the mere thought of being somewhere where you can’t immediately go out and take a drag any time you like (like flying on a plane), you’re probably physically addicted to cigarettes. Only, that physical addiction isn’t the reason you’re smoking. It’s just a by-product of your smoking, almost a separate issue altogether, and one that’s not even that hard to overcome when you get rid of the main motivator first. Three days of willpower will get rid of your physical need to smoke. But, if you don’t address the underlying problem, that won’t make a damn bit of difference.
There’s no point in adding insult to injury by thinking of yourself as an addict, especially when you’re not one. Of course, if you are addicted to something, admitting it can be the first step to recovery. But taking on a label that isn’t true doesn’t help you at all. You might get a bit of relief at first (It’s not your fault you smoke. You’re addicted), but after a little while, you’ll begin to feel totally powerless. You’re addicted. There’s nothing you can do. It may not be your fault, but it’s also now out of your hands to solve this problem. You want to quit smoking, but you can’t. Well, I’m happy to call Bullshit on that one.
First of all, if you are addicted, there IS something you can do. And if you’re not addicted (if you can go several days without a cigarette and not want to rip your skin off, you’re not physically addicted), then for God’s sake stop saying that you are. You’re a person who uses smoking as a compensating mechanism. It allows you to feel better. And, when you find the reason you need to feel better and fill whatever need you’re trying to fill with cigarettes, your desire to smoke will vanish.
Why I smoked
When I was a teenager, I smoked because I wanted to belong. I worked at a diner as a waitress and all the staff smoked. It wasn’t so much about being cool, as it was about simply feeling like I was one of the gang. I’d been different all my life, had never really fit in with any group, and I had a strong need to be accepted. Smoking was a way of participating, of fitting in.
I quit when I moved to San Francisco to go to University. My life changed, my friends changed, my environment changed and so did my habits. The people I started to hang out with didn’t smoke, so I no longer needed to light up to be one of them.
When I started again at 29 it wasn’t because I wanted to belong. I was in a high pressure job, working 18 hour days, and stressed out to the point of collapse. Smoking offered me a way to take breaks. Several times a day, someone would come by my desk and ask me if I’d like to go down to the street to have a smoke. No one ever came by to ask if I’d just like to get some fresh air. Of course, I could’ve just taken a break, but my mindset at the time was such that if no one gave me a reason to take a break, I’d forget. I’d just keep working. Taking a breather (cough, cough) a couple of times a day allowed me to decompress a bit, let off some steam, or simply take a moment to think. Coffee breaks also took just a little longer. We had to finish our cigarettes, after all (and the second, and hey, just one more…). Those few minutes here and there added up. They kept me sane in the midst of all that pressure. And even though I often realized that I felt weaker and a bit sick after smoking, I couldn’t break free. I had no substitute for what the cigarettes provided me with.
What happens when you just stop smoking
Quitting cold turkey is brutal, not so much because of the cravings, but because it’s like putting the top on a pressure cooker and turning up the heat. There’s a reason you smoke and that reason is painful to you in some way. When you smoke, you release some of that pressure – you relieve the pain. If you take away this coping mechanism, the original trigger doesn’t just go away. And with no other outlet, the pressure begins to build. This is what you’ll then feel as an overwhelming urge to smoke (and possibly murder someone by dropping a piano on them). It gets stronger and stronger until you can’t take it anymore. You finally break down and light up, all the while berating yourself for being so weak and powerless. Once again, if you don’t get rid of the original reason for your smoking, you have no chance. But if you do, the need to smoke will simply drift away.
You can either address the behavior you want to change, which never works long term, or you can release the real cause, which will make the compensating behavior go away automatically. It’s your choice, but I’d recommend the second option. It’s not about the smoking. It’s about the reason you smoke.
The following steps may seem kind of counterintuitive to you. But I promise you, these vibrationally sound techniques work like a charm if you’re willing to really give them a try.
Step One: Make it ok to smoke
Before you even try to figure out why you smoke, let’s get one thing clear: Beating up on yourself for ANY reason is never helpful. Never. Never freaking ever. So, stop it, godammit. You smoke. So what? That doesn’t make you a bad person (despite what the media says). I know that smokers have been demonized in the last few years, and I was shocked to hear some of the anti-smoker comments coming out of people’s mouths the last time I was in the States. You’d think that smokers raped babies, so great was the hatred for them. How ridiculous. And yes, I get the second hand smoke argument, but if you consider that you and only you have control over your reality including your health via your vibration, that whole premise falls apart. No one can mess up your vibration with their smoking or any other action unless you let them. So, hating on smokers shows a profound lack of understanding of how the Universe works and/or a total unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own reality. You’re welcome, smokers.
So, smoking doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t say anything about you, other than that you have some kind of issue that you’ve been addressing in a way that you’d like to change now. You could’ve just as easily chosen to eat a box of donuts every afternoon, exercise excessively, gamble your life savings away, drink, smoke some dope, become a kleptomaniac, drink 100 cups of coffee a day, have an affair, become a rage filled driver who’s one concealed carry permit away from massacring the next idiot who cuts you off, or shoot heroin. All things considered, maybe smoking isn’t so bad as far as coping mechanisms go. It just happened to be the one you came across when you needed relief.
The problem is that whatever you push against, you create more of. So, even though you may be smoking in order to bring you relief of some kind, how you feel about the fact that you smoke can definitely affect how many cigarettes you go through. You may actually need fewer cigarettes than you’re currently smoking to compensate for the original reason, but by constantly beating up on yourself for it, you’ve increased the smoking. The more you beat upon yourself, the more you smoke. It’s not because you’re becoming more addicted. It’s because you’re perpetuating and growing the energy of what you don’t want by focusing on it.
Stop demonizing the action. If you want to smoke, smoke. If you don’t want to smoke, don’t. But if you do smoke, allow yourself some peace about it. Enjoy it (or try to). Get good cigarettes (yeah, I know, oxymoron…). Don’t smoke the cheapest crap. Take your time, don’t just suck one down. Oh, and follow these two rules (keep these rules in mind when you apply this article to other compulsive behaviors):
Rule #1 – You must want to smoke
Before you light up, ask yourself if you actually want to smoke. This might seem like a given, but it’s not. Often, you might smoke simply by association, because it’s a certain time of day, or because you just completed something (like eating, or sex). As weird as it sounds, don’t smoke simply out of habit. Smoke because you really want to.
Now, at this point, you might say “But Melody, I don’t WANT to smoke. I NEED to.” Stop that. You are still choosing to smoke. You are making this choice based on the options you currently see before you. You are choosing to smoke because not doing so will feel worse. It’s still your choice. Thinking of it as a choice will take the powerlessness out of it. If you’re making the best choice you can, then all you have to do is improve your options and you can choose something else. If it’s not your choice, there’s nothing you can do.
So, if you can’t get to “Yes, I really want this cigarette right now, yumyumyum”, then try “I choose to smoke this” and DO NOT add “even though I don’t want to.” That doesn’t help. The trick here is to actually feel better about the fact that you’re smoking. You NEVER want to take an action and feel horrible about it. You’ve tried to just stop the action, and that hasn’t worked. So, the only other option you have if you want to feel better is to change the way you view the fact that you smoke. If you keep in mind that this smoking thingy is a temporary solution and that you’re now moving towards a better one, adopting this perspective will be much easier.
Rule #2 – Honor your promise to yourself
I want you to make a promise to yourself. It goes like this: If you want to smoke, you get to smoke – guilt free. And then honor that promise. This means that if the answer to the question “Do I want to smoke?” is YES, then you must allow yourself to smoke and DO NOT beat up on yourself for it. Do not welch on that promise. Your mind will test you and it WILL remember if you go back on your word. The key here is to get your mind to trust you by being honest. There’s no trickery here. If you want to let go of the action of smoking you have to first stop pushing against it. And, you must get your mind to trust you on this subject. After years of beating up on yourself, that might take a few tries.
The first few times you ask yourself if you really want to smoke (or eat or drink or whatever), you will probably hear a resounding and almost defiant “hell yes, I do!” This is your mind testing you. It expects you to go back on your promise. And let’s face it, you’ve broken a lot of promises to yourself over the years, particularly when it comes to smoking. Of course, these were promises you couldn’t keep, but that’s another matter. You still have to rebuild trust. If the answer is yes, smoke and smoke happily. Enjoy it. Go someplace where you won’t be disturbed. Inhale deeply. Feel the relief of it.
Do this for a couple of weeks and you may notice that your smoking has reduced considerably already. All you’ll have done at this point is stopped demonizing the action itself. Now, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.
Step 2: Look for patterns and triggers
Once you’ve stopped pushing against the smoking, you’ll have taken any supplementary pressure off. This means that the real pressure, the original cause, will be much more easily discernible. Keep on allowing yourself to smoke. Remember, it’s ok. You can want to change something and not call it bad. You’re not a smoker or a non-smoker. You’re a human being learning that actions are manifestations based on vibration and that by changing the vibration you can change any action you like. I’ll give you a second to digest that one…
Start to pay attention to what’s happening when you feel the desire to smoke. Is it tied to specific times of the day? Are there any patterns? Do you generally smoke after meetings, for example? Is there camaraderie in smoking? Remember, smoking provides relief from something. What are you getting relief from?
Common triggers for smoking:
- Stress relief (taking a break can give you time to get a grip)
- Feeling overwhelmed (ditto)
- Powerlessness (the boss makes a bad decision and won’t listen to you)
- Relaxation (having a ciggie at the end of the day to unwind)
- Anxiety (feeling afraid before a presentation)
- Celebration (often accompanied by booze)
- Social anxiety (lighting up to cover a pause in the conversation, or having to sit alone at the bar while your friend is in the bathroom. Of course, this one’s pretty much defunct now.)
- Flirting (something to do with your hands so you don’t look so awkward. Again, pretty much defunct now)
- Anger (comes from powerlessness. Taking a couple of minutes to calm down may seem like a good idea, but not if you’re actually suppressing the anger instead of constructively letting it out).
- Wanting to belong (a shared activity)
- Wanting to be cool (not just for teenagers! Adults can fall prey to this as well if their self-esteem is low enough)
- Boredom/loneliness (usually late at night, when there are no more distractions left)
- Many, many more…
Also look for the absence of triggers. If, for example, you have much less of an urge to smoke when you’re on vacation, then your smoking is probably job related. And if you’re now protesting “But Melody, there’s nothing I can do about my job”, then I have three words for you: Slappidy, slappidy, slappidy. Of course there’s something you can do, for eff’s sake! Start with this post.
If you find that you usually smoke at night, but only when you’re alone, and that you don’t even have an urge to smoke when you’re in a group, then you’re probably smoking to get relief from loneliness. Paying attention to when you’re being triggered and when you’re NOT being triggered will lead you to the real culprit: a feeling. That’s right, the thing you’re trying to get relief from will be a negative emotion.
In my case, the emotions I was trying to get relief from were feeling like I wasn’t good enough when I was a teenager (I thought I didn’t belong because there was something wrong with me) and overwhelm when I was an adult (incidentally, just in case you’re interested, this overwhelm also came from feeling like I wasn’t good enough, which led to me always trying to prove myself while ultimately never believing that I could. This is why I was able to quit smoking in one night. The shamanic ceremony ripped all my remaining self-loathing right out of me and brought me to self-love. The compensating mechanism of smoking was no longer needed and simply dissolved.)
Step 3: Shift that negative emotion in a healthier and more permanent way
While it’s true that the smoking gives you relief from this negative emotion like fear or loneliness or overwhelm or powerlessness, it’s only ever a temporary fix. That’s because you haven’t actually shifted the emotion. You haven’t cured the disease, you’ve just taken a painkiller, so to speak. If you want to release smoking once and for all, you’ll have to find a way to actually feel better. Look for ways that will give you what you actually want.
- If you smoke out of boredom, sign up for a class, make some friends, go on an adventure.
- If you smoke because you have a horrible boss, shift your energy around your job.
- If you’re lonely, focus on attracting your soul mate.
- If you’re trying to fit in, learn to love yourself.
- If you’re feeling powerless, let the anger out and learn to stand up for yourself.
Whatever it is that you’re trying to obtain by smoking, look for ways to actually bring that feeling into your life.
There are no smokers and non-smokers. There are people who use smoking to escape some negative emotion they’re holding on to and there are people who use something else to do the same. Everyone has their coping mechanisms. The key is to become aware of those actions you’d like to change, and find out what it is you’re compensating for. What are you finding relief from? Is this a lot more work than just wearing a damn patch? Yes. A LOT more. It’s about you getting real with your bad self, figuring out what makes you tick, learning where your pain is and letting it go. I know, it can seem daunting, only it’s really not so bad. You see, when you shift this negative emotion, not only will smoking just magically and PERMANENTLY drift out of your life (it usually happens over a few weeks’ time, not instantly like in my case), but you’ll feel tons better. Your vibration will rise, you’ll become happier and then, well, then you’ll turn into a happy shiny puppy who can have whatever she wants.
Because, this is about more than quitting smoking. It’s about you learning that you’re not nearly as powerless as you’ve been led to believe. Quitting smoking is just the tip of the iceberg. This is about you getting everything you’ve ever wanted. This is about you realizing Who You Really Are and what you’re truly capable of. Yeah… you weren’t expecting that, were you?