Okay, Don't Quit

Chapter 9


The Final Stage — Stopping

After a couple of months of confusing, isolating, and forgetting, you may have your cigarette count down to six a day. At this stage in the program most people take one of two options.

In the first option, you continue with the program to the point where you forget to smoke more and more. It seems that you're always distracted, or the cigarette just isn't worth the effort. Without really stopping, eventually you just don't bother smoking anymore. No big quitting, you just don't smoke.

In the second, and more common, option, you get fed up with the annoyances and disrupting behaviors. You say the heck with all these weird steps and stop smoking — just stop.

Although this abrupt stop might seem contrary to the program's philosophy, it is a natural extension of the weakened habit theme. The months of eroding your habit structure will have weakened it to the point where you can just stop. Most of your old smoking connections are broken, and the addiction ties are negligible. You have reached a point where just stopping can work.

Either way, you stop smoking. Success!

Starting Up Again

With more traditional approaches to stopping smoking, starting up again usually pushes you right back into the smoking habit. Even though you may have overcome the addiction phase, all the old habit connections are intact waiting for your return. A couple of cigarettes and you're right back in the old groove.


"It was winter near the Canadian border. Two of us were on a health kick. We had quit smoking and starting running in the evening. Three weeks latter, well past the time to overcome the nicotine addiction especially with all the physical activity, we were on our run about three miles away from home. One-inch flakes collected on our hats.

"We suddenly gave each other a strange look and both said, 'Let's have a cigarette.' We flew home. The cigarette tasted terrible and we coughed like crazy, but something was right about it. We were back into a comforting, familiar groove."

"A couple of times a year several of the gang at work would set up a betting pool. We'd each chip in $20, giving us about $160 in the pot. Last one not smoking would win.

"Within a month there was always a winner; and within two months the winner was also back smoking. Some would last a week, others two weeks, but no one ever quit for good."

With this program, however, coping with starting up again is easy. Go right ahead and have the cigarette. It's not a problem. Don't fight it — have the cigarette. One little catch, though. You must give the cigarette a full blast of isolation: eyes closed, mint in mouth, earplugs, etc. Apply all the isolation tricks you can muster. If that doesn't stop the urge, start the program up again with full isolation and disruption.

Over time, persistence will destroy your smoking habit.

Each day on the program you destroy a bit more of your habit. The longer you persevere, the weaker your urge to smoke becomes. Eventually there won't be any desire left.

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