First Chapter: How to Stop Smoking in 15 Easy Years

Here’s the first chapter of this revolutionary stop-smoking book… Alas, without the nifty formatting which appear 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 is 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?

Why Being Yourself and Enjoying Your Smokes is Necessary:

As you’ll discover, contrary to what you might assume from that first homework, I really am a professional stop smoking coach, (or smoking cessation counselor, or tobacco treatment specialist, as some stuffed shirts like to call it.) And I was also a long-term smoker who finally quit. So this first homework assignment is not something I just throw at you to make you laugh or get on your good side.

I assume I don’t have to explain the first part of the homework— where you just relax and be yourself. You don’t have to be anybody else to quit. Just be yourself— your ordinary, everyday, non-heroic self. That’s the only self that has enough power and wisdom to stop doing the smokes. Besides, as Oscar Wilde put it, “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”

What may not be quite so apparent is why you should be yourself and also enjoy your smokes. So here are five quick good reasons to enjoy your smokes:

First, because not enjoying your smokes and beating yourself up about smoking doesn’t work! I know this because I’ve coached clients who have been beating themselves up about their smoking for forty, fifty, even sixty years, and still they smoke. I had one old friend who started smoking at age eight, so he’d been beating himself up, stressing out about smoking for seventy years! But still he smoked. Beating himself up about smoking for most of his long life didn’t work. He still hadn’t quit!
You, too, may have noticed, if you’re currently in need of this book, that stressing out about your smokes hasn’t worked yet to help you quit for good. And it probably never will. So let’s try something different than stressing out and beating ourselves up about smoking. A different approach might lead to a different result, yes?
The second reason to enjoy your smokes is that it’s probably a toss-up as to which habit is worse for your health: smoking, or beating yourself up about your smoking. You may be different but most smokers beat themselves up about their smoking all the time, sometimes all day, every day. Yes, everybody has heard that stress (which is what happens when you beat yourself up) is the number one health hazard we encounter. We know that stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and on our minds in a thousand different ways. But smokers assume that stressing about smoking is good stress, politically correct and socially acceptable stress. If you’re not stressed about your smoking you’re not being a good citizen. You’re not taking responsibility.
Wrong. Stress is stress. Stressing about smoking is almost as bad for your health as smoking itself is. That’s why your new stop smoking coach says its okay to go ahead, give yourself permission to enjoy your smokes again. To not stress so much about smoking. This is your first homework: Start to break the habit of beating yourself up about your smokes.
Granted, you have to be brave to stop stressing about smoking. You’re expected to beat yourself up. It is politically and socially correct to feel stressed, guilty, weak, shamed and fearful about your smoking. So if you secretly stop stressing, stop beating yourself up about your smoking, allow yourself to actually enjoy smoking, you’re going against everything you’ve been taught, going against your own cultural conditioning.

For most smokers, when they stop beating themselves up about their smoking they are doing something completely different than what they’ve been doing for many years. Again, if we’re going to get different results we need to try something different, yes? For most smokers, not beating themselves up, not stressing is something very different! Welcome to the first taste of final freedom!

The third reason to enjoy your smokes is simply because you can’t beat yourself up about smoking and enjoy this book at the same time. And I’d like for you to enjoy this book. If you’re like most smokers you’re tempted to have a smoke while you read (and while you drive and while you work and while you breathe). So go ahead. Since you’re probably going to smoke anyway, you might as well give yourself permission to enjoy it. I don’t want you beating yourself up, feeling guilty and sneaky while you’re reading this book. If you actually enjoy the book, the book is more likely to help you quit smoking, yes? Make sense?
The fourth reason to enjoy your smokes is because we’re going to use the same gate to get back out of smoking as we used to get in. Most smokers, when they first started smoking, were just kids, enjoying themselves, having an adventure. We were just goofing, having fun, wanting to be in with the in-crowd. When we first started smoking we were following our own natural joy, our secret curiosity and sense of adventure. This is what took us into this habit. Doesn’t it make sense to use the same gate — the same attitudes — to get back out? Let’s enjoy ourselves, have fun, be curious while we read this book, maybe even have an adventure while we figure out how to get out of this crazy maze.
And here’s the fifth and final reason why “enjoying your smokes” is your first homework: because enjoying your smokes is the first step in enjoying not smoking. And that’s where we’re headed: to help you actually enjoy not smoking. As you’ll discover, it is in the end quite natural, and easy and honest to enjoy not smoking.
In this book you’ll discover that quitting smoking, or what I like to call not doing your smokes, happens on a particular day, at a particular time and place. However, enjoying not smoking is something that stays with you and continues to grow day after day, year after year, no matter where you are. Your joy stays with you. But you have to (get to) practice enjoying yourself, just as you are, here from the start, whether you are smoking or not.
I promise that as you read this book you’ll learn how to easily, effortlessly, spontaneously enjoy not smoking. You can believe me or not about this promise. Be cynical, if you enjoy to be cynical. But do your homework, then watch, and see what happens.
In this book we will discuss how true freedom really isn’t about something as mundane as smoking or not smoking. True freedom is about the capacity, the wisdom to simply enjoy our lives, our being, regardless of circumstance, regardless of whether we’re smoking or not smoking. When we’re enjoying our lives, we’re free. When we’re not enjoying, we’re chained.
But I get ahead of myself. For now, just get started on this first easy homework assignment: Relax, be yourself and enjoy your smokes.
Good news: the homework doesn’t ever get any harder than this. Welcome to the Slacker’s Path!
So go ahead, have a smoke if you want, be yourself and enjoy. You can stop beating yourself up about it. That’s step one, and the end of chapter one. Easy so far, yes? We’re ready now for chapter two….

Note: At the end of this book you will find “Back of the Bus Questions and Answers” for each chapter, based on real questions real people have asked over the years about the content of each chapter. Most of the “Back of the Bus” sections will be compilations and syntheses from many questioners, though a few will be direct transcriptions of a single questioner’s interaction. The “Back of the Bus” Question for this chapter is, “How Do I Enjoy My Smokes?” which can be found on page 218. You aren’t obliged to read it yet, unless of course you enjoy to! I’d suggest instead to just go on to Chapter Two.

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