Monday, February 23, 2009

Addiction, fear, & brainwashing

Unlit filtered cigarettesImage via Wikipedia

About a month ago I did something that I've done many times over the years. It was something I should never have had to do in the first place, and after failing once, I should have only had to do it once. But I failed many times. This time, I am certain it will be the last time I ever do it.

I quit smoking.

The first time I actually inhaled from a cigarette was when I was 17 or 18 years old. I really don't know why I started. Nobody pushed it onto me. It gave me quite a head buzz. So much so that I had a couple more soon after. That evening, I remember being white as a ghost and sick to the stomach. I should have stopped right there. But I didn't.

It wasn't until after basic training in the military in the mid-80s that I started smoking regularly. In the years that followed, sometimes more than a pack per day.

I tried to quit countless times -- once for a couple of years -- but the lure of the "lung darts" always got the best of me.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which I now take a pill for every day.

Last year during my annual physical examination, my doctor gave me "the lecture", as he put it. Lose weight, eat better, and quit smoking.

I lost a few pounds, I ate a little better (but not as good as I should), and I didn't quit smoking.

Last month, I had my annual physical examination again. It ended with my doctor asking me if he had given me the lecture the year before. I chuckled and said "Probably, but it wouldn't hurt to give me a reminder." He smiled. He then gave me the lecture but to put things in perspective, he added that he had recently attended or assisted with two open heart surgeries for men 43 and 44 years old.

I left with my blood work requisition and renewed prescription in hand, and something to think about.

I'm 43 years old.

Despite feeling pretty good, health-wise, I can't help but wonder if those two men were at one time in the same position as I am today. It's probably a safe assumption that they were, or were at least aware of their health situation at some point.

On January 24th, I took the first step in making a change and quit smoking. Only a few days later, I could feel the difference. I even saw the difference in my blood pressure, since I have my own blood pressure cuff at home.

I decided to get a little help , and went on the 21mg nicotine patch. It helped. It helped quite a bit. I used it for 3 weeks, one week short of the recommended time, and then switched to the 14mg patch.

In that time, I learned about a book: Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. $20 later, I had it ordered from Chapters.ca.

I'm 50% finished reading it and it's quite an eye opener. The thing is, he doesn't really tell you much that you probably haven't heard before, but somehow manages to get you to see it in a different way to reverse all the brainwashing and beat the fear.

I stopped using the nicotine patch altogether after the third 14mg patch.

The way I feel now is nothing like the other attempts I made at quitting. That's why I firmly believe I beat the nicotine addiction. In the past, if thought about how it felt to have a smoke, I would end up craving it. This time, when I try the same thing, I have absolutely no desire to have a cigarette.

If you've ever tried and failed at quitting smoking, give this book a try. It's cheaper than any of the other methods and has a higher success rate. You've got nothing to lose and your health and freedom to gain.

P.S. Here's a free download of another Allen Carr book: Scandal. ‘SCANDAL’ is the book that the pharmaceuticals, the Department of Health, the NHS, ASH and QUIT will not want you to read!
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