Below are some of the many questions and comments we have heard since Smokenders opened their doors. Most of words will be recognised by any one who still smokes or has ever smoked. We use these to postpone the pain of stopping and to continue smoking, however we are all secretly looking for a magic solution to be FREE from smoking and nicotine addiction.
Most smokers are. They think stopping smoking is a painful process and it’s natural to avoid pain – it’s what human beings do. So what we have to do is look beyond the cigarette, to what we really want. We need to focus on the great pleasure to come, a healthy life full of zest and energy, fun and enthusiasm.
This is how the program works. We don’t sweep your fears under a carpet, we work with it, and turn it around. One day soon it will be easy to look the monsters in the face and wonder how they ever had power over us!
Stress is often a state of overload. There are many emotions involved, such as anger, resentment, agitation, worry, anxiety, depression, fear, irritation, even grief. Smoking seems to bring relief, but the relief is temporary, and shortly after the cigarette, we go right back to being stressed again.
The worst part is that much of our stress is caused by smoking, the body has a shock reaction to tobacco smoke. Many smokers are no longer permitted to smoke at work, in their own homes, or cars. They can’t enjoy an evening out with friends and family as they continuously have to go outside to “top-up”. This all adds to our daily stress load.
“I’m so much calmer,” is a frequent comment from our participants. “I just don’t get so worked up any more.”
Many smokers are rebels. They’ve been battered with the ugly facts so often that they don’t even SEE the warnings anymore. If scaring smokers was going to work, it would have worked already.
How do you feel when somebody tells you what to do? Irritated? Resentful? Non-smokers seem to think it’s open season on telling smokers to stop. We (at Smokenders) remember how annoying it was, so we won’t tell you to do anything! We don’t use scare tactics. The whole focus is on how to stop without craving; to learn the skills to never smoke again and start enjoying your life again.
Some parts of you really want to be free, if you’re like most smokers, you want to be free of the smell, the worry, the secret fears. More than that, you want quality of life, the clean, light energy of the youngster you once were. And can be again. It’s seldom a clear choice to stop smoking, but if you’ve got this far you’re probably 70% convinced – and that’s plenty!
Nicotine is a drug. It is more addictive than heroin. Many smokers are more prone to addiction than others because of the make-up of their body/brain chemistry. They produce less of the “pleasure & relaxation chemicals” (dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline) OR too much of the “mopping up” chemicals. We need to learn better ways to promote pleasure & relaxation rather than compromising with the toxins in tobacco smoke.
If you really want something, it’s not willpower you use to get it. It’s desire!
That is a hugely powerful force. The problem we have as smokers is whether we really want to stop smoking or not. This is no joke – it’s one of the main reasons why it’s hard to stop. Clarifying what you really want is the first thing that happens in the program. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, it’s a step-by-step gradual process.
Anger is a way some of have learned to handle situations. Cigarettes calm us down partly because they adjust our brain chemicals. It’s not unlike medicating ourselves. Anger, agitation, aggression, are all aspects of stress. Most smokers find they are calmer, less angry, when they stop smoking.
Much of our feeling of stress is caused by smoking – this is a major part of the program, and we show you how it works, we don’t just preach at you. Being a smoker, you need to understand how it works, not just accept a collection of new rules.
Nicotine has de-activated your natural system of producing “feel good” chemicals. It takes a short time before the natural system gets going again.
Depression is an important subject, and treated as such in the program. Smoking is used by many as a “medication” for depression, however it’s use comes at a price. It’s a price most people won’t and don’t need to pay. There are other, more effective and constructive methods.
Many smokers experience stopping as a “loss” and experience a period of “grief”. We will help you to deal with these feelings and to fill that “loss” with a new healthier and more active life.
Alcohol is a strong trigger to smoke. It has a similar effect on the “feel good chemicals” and the two added together deliver a double whammy! And don’t we know it. Alcohol also increases acidity, speeding up nicotine absorption, hence more craving.
Yet, there are millions of people who enjoy drinking without wanting a smoke. A lot of them are Smokenders graduates!
The course works intensively on this aspect of smoking, and one day you will forget you ever smoked. That’s a promise – if you do the assignments as recommended.
What we really enjoy is relief from the discomfort of needing a “fix” i.e. we smoke because we it removes the “pain “of NOT smoking. The pain has stopped so that’s interpreted as “pleasure” or “enjoyment”.
Can you remember the first time you had a cigarette? The taste has been described as “licking an ash tray”. As smokers we are so used to the taste of burned paper and tobacco that we really don’t “taste” the cigarette any more.
The average smoker would have to weigh an extra 35 to 50 kgs to put a strain on her heart equal to the risk of smoking a pack a day. That doesn’t take into account lung damage, cancer risks and all the other dangers of smoking.
The danger of extra weight is that many ex-smokers use it as an excuse to go back to smoking. They think that if they smoke again they will lose weight. To their surprise, they go back to smoking and keep on the extra pounds. The body adjusts.
Learning to stop smoking can teach ways to reduce weight, including:
- how to handle wanting something “more” (emotional causes),
- raising metabolism, and
- eating correctly
No Smokenders Facilitator has ever told a smoker to stop! We never will either. It’s your choice and we respect it. Having said that, thousands of smokers have told us they are not ready. Yet they came. And they stopped, and they are happy about it.
Most smokers will never be ready to stop! Cigarettes are their friends, support systems, means of coping with life, enjoyment, relief, relaxation. Smoking is a strategy and a useful one too. It’s an instant, effective, handy medication for many problems (however it has a few nasty side effects).
All actions have consequences, however, and at a certain stage all of us chose to find another coping strategy. We chose a friend that isn’t going to kill us, a means of coping that didn’t enslave us, we found more truly rewarding, enjoyable ways to be relaxed and happy. The realisation finally hit us that smoking had never solved one of our problems – not one, ever. Because all the problems come back right after every cigarette, this time with more problems attached.
Yes it’s hard to think of giving up something we “enjoy” until the price of that enjoyment becomes more than we are prepared to pay.
For some of us smoking is so deeply ingrained that it can take longer to weed it out of their lives. Part of it is a lack of faith that the program can work, so they skimp on the tasks, decide to pick & choose, not do some. Each task is a vital piece of the puzzle, so the second time around they become deadly serious about it, still longing to be free.
Some of our graduates start smoking again and most of them tell us that they thought they had the monster conquered and could “just have one”. Almost as if they needed to prove that they could have a cigarette and still be a non-smoker.
So if you’ve started smoking again, you may repeat the program at half-price. Yes, you have the lessons, but it’s the interaction, the knowledge that your Personal Coach is with you, ready to talk to you, write to you, that makes all the difference.
It means that you still have live triggers operating. This is what the Smokenders program handles, so that you just have no urge left to smoke. It becomes as undesirable as cold cabbage.
What many of us have used before is won’t power: I won’t smoke, I won’t smoke, …
If I say to you, “DO NOT think of a red Volkswagen,” what will you think of? Yes, right. That’s because the mind doesn’t hear DO NOT. It also doesn’t hear don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, can’t. So the instruction you are giving yourself is – guess what – SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE, …
What you resist, persists! Learn to dismantle the triggers so you’re just indifferent to cigarettes.
It’s not easy to imagine yourself being indifferent to smoking. And that’s just exactly what happens. If you dislike chillies & your partner loves them, will you suddenly grab his chillies & chomp them?
Read what our graduates say (on the right) and find out how astonished most graduates have been, that people can smoke all around them, and it’s a big “so what.”
There are good reasons for this, and we promise you will understand them and just revel in your freedom! Even more, your freedom from craving. It doesn’t have to hurt. This is one time when it really can be easy.
We are happy if smokers can be helped by whatever method they try, and for many conditions acupuncture and hypnotism are marvellous and much to be valued. However the success rate in smoking cessation has not been high with these methods. This is judged by reports from our participants who have tried both.
Many of these cases seem to end up with Smokenders, those that have tried all the so-called easier, quicker methods. Most of the Smokenders Coaches themselves tried every method they could find, before coming to Smokenders and stopping for good.
The nicotine receptors in the brain never die or “go to sleep”; all it takes to get hooked (or hooked again after stopping) is one or two cigarettes, or one puff of a cigar.
You are a puff away from a pack a day – for ever! There is no way around this.
We will teach you how to avoid future pitfalls, how to say NO to temptation, and how to ultimately stay free from cigarettes.
Smoking is a two-armed monster.
First there is the nicotine that causes addiction. With the first few cigarettes your brain learns to rely on the nicotine (carried to it by the bloodstream) to stimulate the “feel good” chemicals. If you don’t smoke the brain sends out signals, “Hey, we’re uncomfortable up here, have a smoke.” If you don’t listen, it sends more messages – you twitch, can’t concentrate, get jumpy, irritable. The messages get worse until you give in and have a smoke, then aaaaaah! The body is flooded with relief that we interpret as “pleasure”. Now there’s one arm around your neck.
Secondly your mind remembers “pleasure”. Next time you feel “bad” it will remind you how to “feel good” – have a smoke. Now the mind trans-contextualises – it adds all “bad” feelings to the list one by one, and pretty soon, all good feelings as well. Who would smoke after winning a jackpot? Or when you party? Have a look what situations and feelings “make” you smoke and you’ll see it’s many. The other Arm is now wrapped around your neck as well.
The Smokenders program will teach you how to peel off those arms, weed out the tentacles of this parasite, one by one, so that you are completely, finally free.
Most stop-smoking methods focus on the physical nicotine addiction only e.g. patches, gum, vaping. The Smokenders method goes to the cause of your smoking. We took up smoking because it served a purpose – whatever the reason, it worked! That’s why we kept on doing it.
The next stage then took over: the double parasite of physical dependence on the drug and emotional dependence on its effects. A smoker is caught in the iron grip of a parasite that digs ever deeper into body, mind and emotion.
If you are well and truly hooked, to be truly free is no instant-coffee method: it’s a step-by-step process, slowly pulling out the roots of the parasite until you are finally, completely free, physically and emotionally. There is no craving because the cause and the effect have been eliminated.
There are many choices, each with their own consequences. We see no point in replacing nicotine (a deadly poison) with other nicotine when you are coming off nicotine. It is one of the most addictive drugs known to man, more addictive than heroine or cocaine.
We find that nicotine replacement therapy only complicates the issue, prolongs the process, and you run the risk of becoming addicted to the replacement itself.
Smoking is more than just a physical addition; the emotional bond we have with cigarettes – is still active. Most of our graduates have tried some or all of these remedies but still come to us to help them address the emotional bond that they have with cigarettes.