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How to Quit Smoking, When to Quit Smoking, Naturally
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Welcome to the Smokers Freedom School. Welcome to the easy way out.
You’ve finally come across a way to quit smoking that:
What you find for free on this site will be more than enough to help you quit smoking easily and permanently. Yes, some folks who come to this site may choose to hire a personal coach or sign up for additional personalized classes. And Bear’s Books have helped hundreds and hundreds of smokers to first understand and then walk away from the habit. These each have a low fee. But it’s not necessary. We don’t hold anything back. Our goal at the Smokers Freedom School is to help a million smokers quit smoking in the next ten years (by 2026). To do that we decided to open our doors, freely offer all that we’ve discovered. The huge amount of material that you can access for free on our site should be more than enough to help you quit smoking, forever. Guaranteed!
See our ever-growing testimonials page. You’ll be adding your own before long.
Seven month follow-up evaluations by independent evaluators found that the success rate for the Smokers Freedom School approach is well above the national average.
It didn’t take rocket science to get into this goofy habit. It shouldn’t take rocket science to get out. You’ll find this approach is “almost” too easy!
As human beings, mother nature has already equipped us with everything we need to live a free and happy life.
What you experience and the tools you use to help you quit should also work to help you stay quit. You’ll discover our approach does just that. Quitting smoking is something that happens on a particular day. Enjoying not smoking, being at peace with not smoking is something that continues to grow, year after year!
Let’s start with number seven. We guarantee that the Smokers Freedom School (SFS) approach to quitting is radically different than anything you’ll find anywhere else. For example:
Yes, this really is your first homework: Enjoy your smokes! No, we’re not being facetious. Most smokers beat themselves up all the time about smoking, and if they don’t, then someone around them will do it for them. But beating yourself up about smoking doesn’t work! We’ve had students who have been beating themselves up about their smoking for fifty years! Albert Einstein is rumored to have said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results.” Has beating yourself up about your smoking worked in the past? Why should it work in the future?
So enjoy your smokes, even if you’re smoking while reading this. (Or maybe especially if smoking while reading this.) You’ll learn more about this tactic as you get deeper into your school work. Nevertheless, this is where you begin, this is your first homework assignment: Enjoy your smokes!
Here’s some good news: your homework doesn’t get any harder than this!
Name one other stop smoking program that starts with homework so easy. Again, what you find here is different than what you will find anywhere else. Guaranteed. (We continue to study and monitor all the other ways of quitting, because what we are looking for are ways that work, regardless of who gets credit.)
WHAT YOU WON’T FIND HERE: A QUICK FIX OR MAGIC BULLET (or HERBS OR DRUGS OR GIZMOS)
Sorry to say, nobody has yet found a quick fix or magic bullet that dissolves the incredibly subtle, complex and crazy-making smoking habit. The pharmaceutical companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars looking for such a magic bullet, such a quick fix. And they often market their latest drugs, devices and supplements as being “The” quick fix, magic bullet. And then of course they charge big bucks to let you try their magic bullets. And yes, all these new gadgets and gizmos and drugs and herbal remedies do work for some smokers, some of the time. But none of them have been found to work for most smokers most of the time.
As you will see, what we offer for free at the Smokers Freedom School is a simple, natural yet profound approach to reclaiming your original freedom. Some smokers find this approach works immediately, even while reading the first lessons. Most smokers, however, have been smoking for so long and have tried so many other approaches and are so “trained” in old failure approaches that the process of “undoing” this faulty training and the smoking habit is a process that takes a little time, maybe days, weeks or even months. From our perspective, that’s okay. Even if it takes six months of studying and practicing the materials on this website, taking six months to succeed in quitting is much, much better than more years of failure. Most students at the Smokers Freedom School can do it in under six months. Many succeed within a matter of days. Again, we promise no quick fixes.
Bear Gebhardt, the founder and Head Coach of Smokers Freedom School spent over thirty years working on this approach, first to simply get himself free (he was a smoker for many decades) , and then by working one to one and in small groups with smokers wanting to quit. He has worked with literally thousands of smokers! He found out what works and what doesn’t.
“A little secret in the stop smoking biz that nobody wants to share,” says Bear, “is just how low the success rate is across the county. The success rate for smokers trying to quit is very low no matter whether they’re trying it on their own, in a group, over the internet or on the phone, with patches and gum or with Zyban or Chantix or cold turkey. All of these can help—and have helped-- , but still the overall success rate for smokers trying to quit is very low--- from 4% to 30%. Even at 30%, that means seven out of ten smokers wanting to quit don’t do it!
“Such a low success rate, even with the help of deeply experienced and highly trained professional cessation counselors, gives us not only freedom but a mandate to try a whole new approach until we find something that actually works. This is a life and death quest.”
More good news: Bear has found an easy, natural way out of this habit that actually works for anybody who earnestly (or joyfully) tries it. Our experience at the Smokers Freedom School shows that this approach works no matter how long you’ve been smoking, how much you’re smoking, how many times you’ve tried to quit before, how addicted you think you are and no matter how many other crazy things you have going on in your life. And it’s all yours, for free. Welcome aboard.
We help smokers quit in the easiest, most natural way possible.
We help smokers’ families to help their smokers quit - without nagging or threats.
We help professionals to help their smokers quit, gracefully, in one to three minute pep talks.
We train ex-smokers to teach other smokers how to quit, and get paid for their work through our unique "social business" structure.
Very Basic Observations, and a Very Basic Practice
1. We have something very real and natural in us that has never been addicted to smoking.
If we didn’t have something in our being that had never been addicted we wouldn’t care about being addicted. Somehow, being addicted doesn’t feel quite right or natural. This is a very simple observation. .
2. When wanting to quit, we’re basically wanting to prioritize, emphasize, reclaim this real and natural aspect of our being. No matter what method we use when trying to quit, the purpose of all these methods is in essence to help us get back to our natural, addiction-free being, that is already present.
3.Smoking is something we are addicted to doing. We “do” smoking not only with our hands, our mouth, our eyes and our breath but we also “do” smoking with our thoughts, our images, our feelings, our sensations, our circumstances and relationships. This, too, is a simple, basic observation.
4. We “do” smoking because we get certain real benefits from it.
A. We get a small, momentary “cognitive enhancer” from nicotine
B. With a smoke break we allow ourselves a moment’s rest from our “doing.”
C. We give our focused attention a momentary break.
D. We connect, for a moment, with our personal history
E. We reclaim our privacy for a moment
F. We find momentary companionship, camaraderie
G. We get a moment’s simple pleasure.
5.It appears we won’t stop “doing” smoking until we have experienced how to consistently obtain these same real benefits in some other way. Often when we try to quit “doing” smoking we tell ourselves we’re going to “do” something different instead, like exercise or eat more carrots or paint the house or walk the dog or knit or pray. These are all worthy activities, worthy “doings,” but are generally insufficient “doings” in themselves to replace the momentary benefits derived from “doing” a smoke.
6. When we discover how to experience all these same real, momentary benefits elsewhere, our attachment to “doing” smoking will naturally fall away. In a national Gallop Survey published in American Health Magazine it was observed that people most often change their habits not because of social pressure or health concerns but rather because they are feeling good about themselves and want to feel still better. If we found something to “do” that we could do twenty or more times a day that helped us feel as good if not better than smoking, wouldn’t we do it? This observation is the only observation that we can’t make until we actually discover and practice that “something” that can easily, efficiently and naturally replace our doing of smoking
7. In essence, quitting smoking is not something we do. It’s something we cease doing. We can easily observe this. For non-smokers, not smoking is like not bunji jumping or not robbing a bank. There’s nothing they have to do in order to not bunji jump or not rob a bank! Curiously, it’s the same with smoking. Quitting is not something we do. It’s something we cease doing.
So, based on these simple observations about smoking, is there anything we might “do” to help us stop doing smoking, help us return to our natural, ever-present, addiction-free selves? Something that will offer all the benefits—without any of the negatives—that we derive from smoking? Does this “alternative” sound (almost) too good to be true?
The Basic Practice:
For a brief moment, simply emphasize being rather than (previous, present or future) doing.
For a brief moment we stop emphasizing what we have done, or are doing or will do, and instead simply emphasize just being, right here, right now, no matter what we are doing!
This practice may seem almost too simple, too easy. (The simplicity is what keeps some people from trying it.) Nevertheless. our “being” is natural, already present and free! When we practice “just being,” for a brief moment, we immediately experience:
A. a small, momentary “cognitive enhancer”;
B. a momentary break from our emphasis on “doing”;
C. a momentary rest of our attention;
D. a moment to reconnect with our personal history;
E. a moment of privacy;
F. a moment of companionship, camaraderie (with all of life!) and finally, simply,
G. a moment of simple pleasure.
This Basic Practice will lead (guaranteed!) to observations 6 and 7. SEE IT for YOURSELF!
The Smoker's Prayer: The Spiritual Healing of Tobacco Addiction with or without Chantix, Nicotine Patches, Hypnosis, Jail Time or Duct Tape.
I had to be an old guy, with thirty years in the business, before I had the gonads to write this book. You can buy it cheap-- just 99 cents-- on Kindle. ($9.99 for the print copy.) I'd love to hear your response.
Practicing the Presence of Peace
This is my non-religious "updating" of the 17th Century spiritual classic by Brother Lawrence, "The Practice of the Presence of God." But this book talks about retaining peace during traffic jams,homework assignments, election seasons..
The Potless Pot High: How to Get High, Clear and Spunky without Weed
This is a fun little book that does exactly what it says it does: gets you high, just by reading.
How to Stop Smoking in 15 Easy Years: A Slacker’s Guide to Final Freedom
If you're still smoking after many years of trying to quit, this radical little book will set you free.
How to Help Your Smoker Quit: A Brave and Happy Strategy
If you have a smoker in the family, or close by, your reading this book will help you relate and help more than any other book around.
Happy John: An Advaita (Non-Duality) Gospel
This is the Book of John (yes THE Book of John) rendered through a contemporary, non-dual point of view. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was Joy."
The Enlightened Smoker’s Guide to Quitting: Learn to Forget to Smoke
A classic book that has helped smokers all over the world.
A Wave of Thanks--and Other Human Gestures: 31 Quick Stories.
This is a small collection of small storIes-- flash fictions-- most written fairly recently, though a few from years and years ago. They were fun to write. Hopefully they are fun to read.
Obviously, quitting smoking is both a one step process---("just don't smoke the next one, pilgrim") and a 1,000 step process ("I quit a year ago yesterday, and so have not smoked more than 1,000 cigarettes.")
Here at the Smokers Freedom School we sometimes break it down into seven simple steps:
2.Take a deep breath.
5. Set Your Quit Date: "A Year Ago Yesterday."
6.Start Practicing Your Quit Date
7. Repeat, steps 1-6, as often as possible.
Naturally, we give you much more detailed instructions for each of the first six steps. For example, some of the articles here, including your First Home work and The 5 Second Exercise, will help you understand very clearly why, if you're not relaxed about this whole quit smoking business, it will be much harder for you to quit! If you continue to beat yourself up about your smoking, if you stay uptight, worried nervous, you're going to smoke more! Isn't this already your experience?
So step one is to consciously relax, and particularly to relax about your smoking, maybe even do some self-hypnosis so that you enjoy yourself more, mentally, emotionally and physically. The Freedom Exercise will help you do just that.
And then in step two we show you how your smoking is, in a way, a type of poor man's "breathing yoga." Even though your smoking costs more than if you attended a regular yoga class, it is your current yoga practice. So we help you breathe deeper, live longer.
Step Three: grin. This is probably the most important step of all. Why? Because at the Smoker's Freedom School we suggest using the same door to get out of smoking as we used to get in to smoking. And as kids, weren't we all grinning to beat the band when we first started smoking? Yes, of course. So grin, again, and find your freedom. We'll show you how.
Step Four is forgive, yourself and those around you and the tobacco companies and anybody else you think is responsible for your current smoking habit. Or just lighten up. Get over it. Here's why: They didn't do it! It's like forgiving your brother for spilling the milk after finding out it was actually the cat that spilled the milk. Your brother's innocent and so are you! Forgiveness is easy when you realize, step by step, there's nothing to forgive.
Step Five is setting a quit date. Here at the Smoker's Freedom School we've found the best quit date is a year ago yesterday. We'll talk more about that.
Step Six is actually a meditation technique that you can do all day long. If you actually do this technique, which we explain in detail, you'll soon find yourself smoking a lot less, and then, none at all. Why? Because you already quit. A year ago yesterday.
Step Seven-- which suggests you start again at step one-- also recognizes you can take your own sweet time about this. We know that you'll do it-- quit smoking-- at just the right time, in just the right place, with just the right help. We are at root timeless beings, so in fact we've got all the time in the world.
Welcome aboard. First step? Relax. The train has already left the station . . . Read on . . .
A Slacker's Guide to Final Freedom
Here you can read the first chapter of my funky, heretical and somewhat revolutionary new book... Alas, without the nifty formatting which appears in the book itself. Maybe I'll have time to redo it all for the website. In the meantime, I'm sure with this rough version you'll get the idea... Hope it helps
Chapter 1 :
Homework Assignment # 1
Just Be Who You Already Are
and Enjoy Your Smokes
“Happiness it the highest spiritual practice.”
-- - Rupert Spira
Who you already are is already enough.
We’re diving right in on the first page of Chapter One with your first easy homework. I guarantee if you do this first homework it will immediately help you start to get unstuck from this silly smoking habit.
So here’s your first homework: Just be who you are and enjoy your smokes! Got it? I’ll repeat: Just be who you already are and enjoy your smokes. Yep. That’s it. Go ahead, you can start doing your homework right now, if you want. (This book is easy so far, yes?)
This is the same homework I give when clients call to set a first appointment. I tell them to stop trying to change things, simply be who they already are and enjoy their smokes. Most of the time they laugh and say okay, that’s easy. Sometimes, though, they insist that they don’t like being who they are as a smoker and can’t enjoy their smokes. So I encourage these folks to at least stop beating themselves up about smoking. (Most smokers beat themselves up all the time about their smoking. And if they don’t, someone near them will do it for them.)
If you’re going to try me out as your new stop smoking coach and this book as your new how-to-do-it manual, this is your first assignment: Simply be who you are and enjoy your smokes. Questions?
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"If you want to learn how to do something, teach it"
Shortly after becoming sober, in his first week or so, Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, told his cohort Dr. Bob that he, Bill, needed to find someone else to help get sober, right away, that night, or he might start to slide. So that night Wilson asked around and shortly found a longtime drinker who was wanting to quit. Bill dove in, sharing his own story. The rest is history. From that sharing, a worldwide movement began.
With great respect and deep admiration for the AA folks, we here at the Smokers Freedom School offer a radically different approach--- which we have experienced to be much easier, more natural and in the end more effective than the 12-step approach offered by AA. (After all, our first homework for smokers wanting to quit is, “Just be yourself and enjoy your smokes.” That obviously is NOT what AA teaches!)
Although we take a completely different approach to addiction, based on our own long experience, we nevertheless have learned much from the 12-Step “Mother Ship” of addiction treatment. One of the sweetest lessons is how powerful it is for our own daily practice when we share it with others. As we do so, as we help others to also recognize their own natural freedom, our own practice naturally deepens, matures, becomes more specific and tangible.
Thus, for many years, from the very beginning, we have encouraged our students who have learned to walk away from their smokes using our simple yet radical techniques to freely share them with others. This encouragement has been not only for the sake of the many other smokers wanting to quit, but also to help our students grow in the exercise (and experience!) of their own happy freedom. Until now our encouragement to share this approach with others has been very honest, yet also very informal, unstructured, random. This is about to change.
The Smokers Freedom School will soon begin formally training people--- mostly ex-smokers--- in the art and science of helping other smokers quit. We still have 46 million smokers in the U.S. alone, 1.3 billion in the world. There’s a huge work ahead.
If you are interested in helping out with this work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We will send you information as it becomes available. Or simply check back with this site.
Thanks for your interest--- Bear Gebhardt, Head Coach, Smokers Freedom School
© 2017 Smokers Freedom School