What a heroin addict taught me about quitting smoking.

What a heroin addict taught me about quitting smoking.

When I first became a Hypnotherapist, I was told that smoking cigarettes were an addiction, and quitting smoking, was one of the hardest things anyone could do. All the medical papers and research studies on smoking tobacco, (many carried out by the tobacco companies) concluded the same.

The first line of the NHS quit smoking advise papers, states Nicotine is highly addictive and quitting smoking will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. (How’s that for a suggestion?) In my career as a Hypnotherapist, I have helped many clients overcome addiction including, alcohol and heroin.

The medical definition of an addiction whether it be heroin or any other drug including prescribed medication is this.

  1. To continue to receive any benefit from an addictive substance you have to continually increase the dose.
  2. You have to have the addictive substance in your blood stream to function normally.
  3. You have no choice, you feel that you, have to have it.

In the late 1990’s a man of 28 years old came to see me to help him overcome his, 10 year addiction to heroin. He said that pop stars and film stars would struggle to afford his addiction and went on to say at times he spent £1000 a day on heroin. This man did not have a job, he had stolen from everyone he loved, sold everything he owned including his body to get the drug.

He told me the amount of heroin he needed just to function had increased year on year and many of his friends had died through overdosing on the drug. He said that he had been shunned by society and most of his family, but even this had no effect.

He told me that if he couldn’t get the drug he could not sleep, that he would shiver and shake until he got his next fix.

I listened to this man’s sad story and something occurred to me that changed a long, held belief of mine, and which ultimately led to me helping over 20,000 smokers quit.

The understanding is this.

  1. Smokers, settle on a number of cigarette’s per day, and then smoke that same amount each day for the rest of their life. They do not have to continually increase the dose, year on year.
  2. The majority of smokers will sleep throughout the night, at the same rate of hours as non-smokers. If someone is smoking 20 cigarette’s per day and sleep for 8 hours that is an average of 1 cigarette every 35 minutes throughout the day. They then sleep for 8 hours without the need for a cigarette. If smoking was an addiction and they are smoking a cigarette every 35 minutes because their body needs the substance to function, (as in the example of the heroin client above) they would not be able to sleep.
  3. Smokers settle on the number of cigarettes they smoke based on one of two criteria, social or financial. Smokers make a decision on how many cigarettes they smoke, based on what they can afford, or in what environment they work or live in. The heroin addict does not have the luxury of that choice.

Once this understanding has been conveyed to my client and the belief that they are addicted to cigarettes undermined, I explain how we learn and the power of habitual behaviour in enabling us as human beings to function at the level that we function at. I then explain that with hypnosis the habitual, programming can be changed, to a more positive skill. Then with a technique that I call Parts Negotiation, together with the client I make the changes at an unconscious level that enable the client to quit the habit easily, automatically and painlessly.

If you would like to learn more about Parts Negotiation you can get my book on Amazon – it’s available in paperback and Kindle