If you are a smoker, you might have entertained quitting, and you may be aware of the book that Allen Carr wrote called Easy Way To Stop Smoking. Now if you are not a smoker, but know someone who would benefit from quitting, then read on. I just finished the Kindle version of the book, but have also read the paperback version which is a little over 200 pages long. The premise of the book is that we continue to smoke because we don’t really understand why and that we perceive we are getting some positive benefit from smoking. He talks about the Little Monster and the Big Monster a lot in this book. The Little Monster being the addiction to nicotine and the Big Monster being our psychological dependence on smoking, with the Little Monster being a mere 1% of the problem, and the Big Monster being 99% of the problem. Now given that I’ve read this book three times, I might be a bit slow on the uptake, but you know they say three times is a charm. He goes on to cite all the people that he has helped quit smoking, some of them celebrities.
The author also makes a great point that using nicotine replacement therapy as it is called, is flat out bullshit. Why would you want to continue to feed the Little and Big Monsters and keep yourself a prisoner to the physical and psychological addiction by putting nicotine in your body, then as the levels drop having to do it over and over. Having experience doing this myself, I can tell you it is a losing proposition that just perpetuates the addiction.
He encourages you to keep smoking while you are reading the book, which I found be a reasonable, if a not so subtle way for you to analyze why you’re are smoking and if you are really getting any pleasure out of it. His own realization came after decades of smoking two packs a day. He finally realized why he was smoking and understood the fact that he received not a single benefit from it, and just stopped cold turkey. He went on to share this realization with other people, writing this book and opening Allen Carr
Quit Smoking Centers all over the world.
What I liked about this book
This book helps you understand that fear is keeping you hostage to this addiction. You think if I quit I will suffer, when the truth is the nicotine addiction is really fairly mild to overcome. The suffering is mostly the psychological relationship you have developed over the years with smoking. He rightly points out that there are no positive attributes to smoking and the mild relief you get when you light up is just satisfying the addiction. He goes to great pains in the book to repeatedly enforce his ideas about the physical and psychological addiction and how to rephrase them. One of the core themes is that you don’t need willpower to quit, because by the end of this book you realize that willpower would only be necessary if you felt you were giving up something that was beneficial to you in some way.
What I disliked about this book
The book is very repetitive and probably could have been half the length without all the repetition, but realize much of this repetition is a form of brainwashing to get you to rethink what smoking really is. The idea that you keep smoking while reading the book until you get to what he calls your last cigarette is somewhat dis-concerning, but there is also a purpose for this, which is to make you analyze what is going on as you continue to smoke.
If you or someone you know is addicted to smoking or vaping then this book is for you. This book re-frames the whole way you think about smoking or vaping. That is the key to the success of this approach; so instead of thinking quitting is too hard, you understand it is not that hard and there is great hope in knowing you are giving up nothing, well at least nothing but a dirty, addictive, and health destroying habit. I highly recommend this book, but with the caveat that you not skip chapters and be in too big a hurry. Let the information sink in and re-frame your thoughts. Good luck!
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About the Author
Allen Carr (2 September 1934 – 29 November 2006) was a British author of books about stopping smoking and other psychological dependencies including alcohol addiction. He stopped smoking after 30 years as a hundred-a-day chain smoker.
London-born Carr started smoking while doing National Service aged 18. He qualified as an accountant in 1958. Carr finally stopped smoking on 15 July 1983, aged 48, after a visit to a hypnotherapist. However, it wasn’t the hypnotherapy itself that enabled him to stop – “I succeeded in spite of and not because of that visit” and “I lit up the moment I left the clinic and made my way home…”. There were two key pieces of information that enabled Allen to stop later that day. First, the hypnotherapist told him smoking was “just nicotine addiction”, which Allen had never perceived before that moment, i.e. that he was an addict. Second, his son John lent him a medical handbook which explained that the physical withdrawal from nicotine is just like an “empty, insecure feeling”. He claims that these two realisations crystallised in his mind just how easy it was to stop and so then enabled him to follow an overwhelming desire to explain his method to as many smokers as possible.
Carr teaches that smokers do not receive a boost from smoking a cigarette, and that smoking only relieves the withdrawal symptoms from the previous cigarette, which in turn creates more withdrawal symptoms once it is finished. In this way the drug addiction perpetuates itself. He asserted that the “relief” smokers feel on lighting a cigarette, the feeling of being “back to normal”, is the feeling experienced by non-smokers all the time. So that smokers, when they light a cigarette are really trying to achieve a state that non-smokers enjoy their whole lives. He further asserted that withdrawal symptoms are actually created by doubt and fear in the mind of the ex-smoker, and therefore that stopping smoking is not as traumatic as is commonly assumed, if that doubt and fear can be removed.
At Allen Carr Clinics during stop-smoking sessions, smokers are allowed to continue smoking while their doubts and fears are removed, with the aim of encouraging and developing the mindset of a non-smoker before the final cigarette is extinguished. A further reason for allowing smokers to smoke while undergoing counselling is Carr’s belief that it is more difficult to convince a smoker to stop until they understand the mechanism of “the nicotine trap”. This is because their attention is diminished while they continue to believe it is traumatic and extremely difficult to quit and continue to maintain the belief that they are dependent on nicotine.
Another assertion unique to Carr’s method is that willpower is not required to stop smoking.
His contention was that fear of “giving up” is what causes the majority of smokers to continue smoking, thereby necessitating the smoker’s perpetuation of the illusion of genuine enjoyment as a moral justification of the inherent absurdity of smoking in the face of overwhelming medical and scientific evidence of its dangers. Instead, he encourages smokers to think of the act of quitting, not as giving up, but as “escaping”.
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