I Don't Smoke

Give Yourself a Chance

Make living as a non-smoker easy for yourself. There are numerous ways you can do this. One way could be change some of your habits, particularly those where smoking is a major contributor to the 'ambience'. For me this meant giving up alcohol as well and staying out of pubs for a year. I only started this when I finally stopped physically smoking. I knew that there was no way that I was going to be able to go down to the pub and have a few pints in that smoky atmosphere and not end up lighting up. My drastic solution, that of giving up drink as well, worked fine for me but you will need to work with your own life and will probably have to follow a different route. Several years later when I returned to full-time education to get my degree I returned to drinking alcohol socially, but I was now secure in my non-smoking persona. Perhaps not surprisingly I had also come to enjoy being tea-total and after I graduated I started drinking less and less often until eventually I returned to being tea-total completely, it felt like coming home.

Your social life is probably quite different from mine and you will have to think about how you can help yourself best. However smoking is often inextricably linked with drinking and as alcohol is not particularly good for you either I would recommend giving it up also, even if it is not a problem for you. Think of it as an investigative experiment. What would my life be like if I didn't drink alcohol at all. Ultimately there is only one way to find out. Can it be mere coincidence that those who live without alcohol because they just don't like it are all happy that way.

Another way to help your self is to talk to your friends, and family if they are close, and ask their help. Remember we all live spiritually within one another, and a part of how we see ourselves internally depends on how others see us. Therefore it is worth asking those you associate with regularly to practice thinking of you as a non-smoker from now on, even if you are still physically smoking. If they ask why explain to them what you are doing. If they are condemnatory, or simply refuse to take you seriously you may be better off reducing the amount of contact you have with them for a while. If they agree to help it may be worth asking them to put a yellow note-it on their PC monitor saying someting like. "Remember Maddy is a NON-Smoker Now!!"

You may even want to do something similar for yourself. Put a little sign saying 'Hey I'm a non-smoker now' on the bathroom mirror. Be creative, imaginative. If possible make it fun to think of yourself as a non-smoker.

It is also helpful to remove things that generate mental associations. So washing and putting all the ashtrays away will help, do not worry if you have to get one out again when the smoking persona is in control. Just keep washing them and putting them away, you know that eventually they will not be needed any more and you are just preparing for that moment. Once you have actually physically stopped smoking then it is a good idea to wash curtains, chair covers etc, anything that smells of cigarettes, you will find you really do not like the smell any more anyway. Rearranging the furniture can also be helpful, as can taking up a new hobby that involves you associating with other non-smokers. These and many other ideas can be found in many already existing self help books relating to cigarettes.

An important aspect of many drug related, and other psychological addictions is the degree to which our addictive habit acts as an escape from the real world, that in some way changes our focus of attention, distracting us from the problems we have in the real world. Learning more of the truth about ourselves, and about the world around us helps us overcome this tendency in at least two ways.

1) It changes our image of ourselves, allowing us to be less demanding of ourselves, and less in awe of others. This in turn makes it easier to see ourselves as a success in the game of life, meaning we can accept ourselves as we are, knowing that what we are is not only good, but also in a state of change. The more we can accept ourselves as we are the easier it is to live with ourselves and hence the less we feel a need to escape from ourselves. From accepting ourselves we progress to actually liking ourselves and then looking after ourselves comes naturally to us.

2) It changes the way we see the world, understanding makes things familiar and we are always more comfortable with the familiar. A world that fails to live up to our expectations is a disappointing world to live in, when this disappointment becomes too much we retreat into false world of some sort. Much of the world of fiction, and of the entertainment industry would not exist if people were more content with the world as it is. The simple answer is not to expect the world to be anything in particular, but to accept it exactly as it is. Yes there are things in the world that we as humans feel the need to change, however making useful changes to the world around us is only possible from a position of clear perception and understanding. Odd moments when we have time to usefully fill can often be well used seeking out the wisdom in old sayings and proverbs such as "The way to hell is paved with good intentions". We can ask ourselves questions such as, "Just exactly what was this designed to teach and how can I make use of it". We may not get the whole truth first time around but worrying at it will often bring useful insights.

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By gjramel@hotmail.com
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