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Stopping Smoking Is Not A Sacrifice, But A Liberation

This Monday marks 365 days since I gave up smoking for good. It sounds ridiculous now for me to say that it took me that long, but it did. I glamorized smoking for much of my life. Writers smoke, right? I’m embarrassed to tell you how young I was when I snuck my first cigarette. Let’s just say that shortly after I left home at the age of 18, I was quickly up to a pack a day, and I stayed there for most of the next 25 or so years, with only a few breaks.

Finally, at the age of 42, I decided enough was enough. I didn’t fancy attending family functions later in life with a respirator inserted into a permanent tracheotomy. Nor was I excited about a long, slow death from cancer. I felt horrible all the time. I was spending huge amounts of money that I was essentially stealing from my wife and children to support an addiction. I didn’t even like smoking. Every time I stubbed a butt out, I looked at it with disgust and thought, How I wish that could be my last one.

I had tried to quit many times before, but I always thought I was too smart for self-help books. Yay, ego. So here’s where I cut to the chase: Allen Carr’s book The Easy Way To Stop Smoking, despite its simplistic title, is a masterful work of cognitive behavioral therapy. In plain language, that means he reaches into your head and shows you how your thinking about smoking is just plain wrong.

I won’t repeat much of what he says in the book, except for two things. The first is the headline of this article: Stopping smoking is not a sacrifice, but a liberation. I just want to expand on that for a moment. You are not giving up anything by stopping smoking. You are gaining something. Think about that!

The second is the myth that smoking is harder to quit than any other habit, even heroin. Let me be blunt: that’s just flat-out bullshit. I’m convinced the cigarette companies are responsible for that one. The physical addiction to nicotine is in fact a very weak one. It can be dealt with in a couple of days. It’s the mental addiction to cigarettes that you will have to contend with. And while admittedly that can be much harder than a physical addiction to break, all the same, like any other psychological experience in your life–it’s only as hard as you make it.

Here’s a link to Mr. Carr’s book, which has helped millions around the world quit this absurd and fatal habit. I hope soon you can be one of us.

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