Although for most smokers, the assumption is that their habit and their
addiction are synonymous, this isn't quite true.
In fact, my thesaurus defines "habit" as synonymous with "inclination, tendency,
routine", while "addiction" brings up "fixation, chemical dependency,
I see that as a dramatic difference of definitions, dont you?
I see it as far more than a slight variance in
semantic interpretation. To me, there's a huge discrepancy between an
inclination or tendency, and a fixation or obsession.
Defining these differences is the root tool of
the process described in my book, "How to Quit Smoking Without Willpower or
Knowing how much of your smoking is habit and
how much is addiction is the huge step toward dismantling and removing both
from your life.
I separate them this way. The addiction is to the nicotine. The rest is
It's my experience from my own cigarette
struggle, and assisting others with theirs, that the addiction to nicotine in
a seriously addicted, long-term smoker is actually only about four cigarettes a
Once all, or even most, of the habitual behavior is
removed, four fully smoked cigarettes per day will satisfy most nicotine
Yet most heavy smokers assume that each
cigarette smoked, each urge to light up, stems from the chemical addiction.
This simply isn't so. Cigarette habit/addiction is far more
complex than that.
Most, seemingly all, of the current discussion
about cigarettes revolves around the nicotine content.
But little, if any, of the material Ive
recently researched discusses how the tobacco companies have attached
cigarettes to the smokers self-image, sexuality, and social acceptability.
I've placed an article in the
reference section of my book about illegal cigarette "product placement" in
the movie industry. But since Wilson Key's book, "Subliminal Seduction" in
1974(?), I have found no information whatsoever about the subliminal
advertising techniques used by all the tobacco companies.
I'm not talking about suggestive images of
people being happy while smoking, I'm talking about the word "SEX" quite
literally being micro-embedded into the ads, among other practices.
These techniques have nothing to do with the nicotine
addiction. Nonetheless they have an addicting effect of their own, on
subconscious psychological levels the tobacco companies pray never get
mentioned in the press.
These tactics alone would keep many smokers
"hooked", even if there wasn't any nicotine in the cigarettes at all!
The old adage, "It takes one to know one," certainly seems to
apply to smokers. I dont believe anyone who has never experienced that panic of
finding out that it is 1:00 in the morning, they are out of smokes and money, and
theres no stores within miles can know how that feels, forget be able to teach
anyone else how to make that craving "go away". While an "eater",
finding themselves out of munchies, won't likely start going door to door in the middle
of the night, asking neighbors for a Twinkie or a baloney sandwich, a true "butt
junky" will not hesitate.
I know. Been there, done that!
So when I say that I know the way out of this insidious problem
infecting fifty million Americans and perhaps ten or even twenty times that many more throughout the
world, it isn't from some theory Ive dreamt up, or some strategy Ive designed
because "it ought to work". IT DOES WORK. I successfully used it to end my
sixteen year compulsion, and have now helped literally thousands of others as well.
I know there are those who will say, "Sure, it worked for you.
But Im different. Im more addicted than you were. I have less willpower
than you did. Im not as smart as you. Its harder for me."
That can be true...but only if they want it to be. The only
difference between those folks and me is I decided to quit, and they really
dont want to quit. They insist on believing that there's something
positive for them in smoking that outweighs the negative. That it's worth the
risk of dying a horrible, expensive, painful death to suck smoke from weeds
whenever they think they "need" to. This book wasn't written for them, and it's not to try to change anyone's mind. They don't want to quit smoking, and I
Sure, they'll say, "Yes, I do want to
quit! You have no idea how many times
and how hard Ive tried! If I could quit right now, Id do it on the spot."
But unfortunately, they're lying. Not so much to you or me. They are lying to the one
person with whom they must be on the level...themselves.
Another semantic differentiation that must be made is the difference
between "trying" and "doing". While common understanding is that the
first leads to the second, this is only true for the first few efforts. Then,
"trying" can become a way of behavior in and of itself, having little to do with
As a Certified Master Hypnotist for nearly twenty-five years, I've
performed hundreds of theatrical hypnosis demonstrations called "hypnosis
shows", as well as many instructional seminars in clinical hypnotherapy
One of the "tests" to "prove" a subject is
"under" is I have them clasp their hands together, interlacing and overlapping
their fingers, the way most adults do when they pray. Then I tell them to "try" to get them apart, but that they
"cant". The confirming suggestion (instruction) is, "In fact, the
harder you try, the more you'll find you cant. Trying only makes them grip
tighter!" After they've demonstrated that indeed, they "cant" get
the hands apart, I say, "Now, on the count of three, you will release your fingers
and your hands will come apart quickly and easily." Of course, you know how this
always works out.
The point is this. In the first part of the test, I tell the subjects to
"try" but not "do". In the second, I tell them exactly what to do, and
they do it. Two completely separate actions. Therefore, I assert that anyone
"trying" to quit smoking is probably not in the process of quitting, and someone
truly in the process is not "trying", they are "doing".
In a personal growth training seminar I attended many years ago, among
the many valuable lessons I learned about people, life, and myself was simply this: You
can generally tell what someone really wants to do, and will continue to do, by what they
are doing now, and have done in the past.
Its called "based on results." It assumes that we all do
exactly what we want to do all the time. That each choice we make and action we take leads
us to an inevitable, predictable end. That end, to the largest degree and general
certainty, can be foreseen. Perhaps not by the person taking that action the first time,
but certainly by anyone who's been down that road a time or two.
I'm not saying that the future must
necessarily equal the past , but unless one recognizes that a change in
behavior must be taken in the present in order to change the outcome of the
future, it likely will. After all, it's often said that the definition of
"crazy" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results
each and every time.
As to the issue of willpower, I must say that I am a lazy person. I'll
always try to find the "easy way out". It's my nature (as was, I now choose to
believe, the man or woman who invented the wheel). It was for many years a personality trait that
caused me to feel guilty, and discount myself as somehow unworthy. I actually believed in
that "No pain, no gain" crap. I now know "gain" can be made, not only
painlessly, but while having fun and enjoyment at the same time.
(The following story is true and accurate to the best of my
recollection and information. Apologies to Charles Tate and any other family member who
may find errors in my account.)
About twenty-five years ago, I took in a
roommate named George, a man who, at thirty-four years old, had quit working
"hard", and became "lazy". Hed lost his $600 per week job, his home, ended
his long-term relationship, and according to him, was nearly financially and
emotionally broke. He
just laid down on an army cot in a friends garage "to think", where he told
me he'd stayed for "a couple of years."
When he moved out of that garage and rented
a room in my home, he was worth over $25,000,000, and was earning nearly a
million more a month! About
a year and a half after that, he took his new business public and took home
millions the first day of offering. Less than ten years later that business he
started in a friend's garage was sold to Borland for a TON of money & stock.
Was he smart? He told me his IQ was 90. George said, "Thats
just one point above moron, buddy!", which of course it's not. It's just the bottom
point of average on the old Stanford-Binet IQ test, no longer use.
Was he educated? Dropped out of school in the 10th grade, later to get a
GED. He had absolutely no foreknowledge or training whatsoever about the one product that
brought him the bulk of his success. In fact, George never even learned how to fully or
properly operate it!
Was he industrious? He told me he worked about six hours a day, and most
of that with his hands in his pockets. In his own words, he was "...lazy as an
ol coon hound!"
Was he a physically compelling presence? He was overweight and
prematurely balding. His constant daily uniform was a pair of well-worn Chinos, and a
K-Mart white dress-shirt, always open at the collar, cuffs turned back, with a pocket
protector full of pens and pencils, and many stripes of ink above the pocket from where
he'd missed the protector. I never saw him wear a suit or tie. He could pass
for the janitor of any building he happened to be in. He had a "Matlock" type
of soft-spoken country-boy charm. But no, he wasn't a compelling presence in
the movie star sense. He appeared to be just an average guy. In fact, except
for the incredible income, that for the most part is what he was.
We had many late evening talks about what he'd done and was doing, and
how easy it seemed. What he finally got through to me was that he'd simply
"...decided..." to get rich. Not "try" to get rich. Not
"work" at getting rich. As Nike keeps saying, "Just do it." George
just did it.
How? With only his self-taught understanding of computers, he built one
of the first Altair 8080-based home computers from a kit, and immediately set
about studying computers and educating himself. George decided to make his
fortune somewhere in that industry.
He began a mail-order software business, called it
Software, one of the first of its kind. He started reading computer magazines
and studying software for inclusion in his business. One was highly
recommended to him. He read a magazine article about this program that a man
had written at home as a hobby. He read the article several times. He sensed
he was on to something big, something apparently no one else had recognized.
When he finally did understand the implications and ramifications of
what this program could truly become, he found the man, a computer programmer
at Jet Propulsion Laboratories named
Ratliff, with whom he met on the
Wayne's lunch break at work. They wrote a one page, hand-written contract on a yellow legal
pad, giving George the exclusive right to sell the program. George agreed to pay
Ratliff (whod become overwhelmed by all the work he had to put into
marketing and selling the program he'd named
Vulcan), a small royalty for each copy he could sell. Ratliff readily accepted.
When they parted that day, he wished George, "Good luck!"
That program was called dBASE! Yes, dBASE! Yes, Borlands (now
named Inprise) foundation for their Enterprise Technology!
believe dBASE was recently acquired by Ksoft,
The father of the modern small computer database was a high school
drop-out, self-proclaimed "hillbilly" from Greenville, SC, with virtually no
formal education in computer science (albeit self-taught beyond what "formal"
education could have possibly offered him), by his account a barely average IQ, and
a lazy man to boot. But a man who had DECIDED! And then he followed up that decision with
Because of this one man, who'd decided to become
financially prosperous, IBM launched
full-blast into its budding PC division. Until then, they apparently couldn't see the application
for PCs for the mass market. This one man's decision and focus literally
dramatically changed the way the entire world does business today. His name was George Tate.
Ashton was his parrot. He called that business
George loved life. He used to walk around our house saying,
"Nobody's life works better'n mine!" He seemed very happy. He'd found the love
of his life, bought her a million dollar home farther down the beach, and together, they
had a beautiful baby girl.
When the child was about eight months old, George's wonderful fantasy
life ceased to work, and ended. At 39 years old, with "the world at his feet",
he dropped dead at his desk one morning from his first heart attack. You see, George was
courting another love too...cigarettes!
The point is that all of life can be mastered by decision, followed by
action. Clear decision followed by decisive action. Ridding oneself of an unwanted habit,
even a chemical addiction, is as simple as this: decide to do it, then follow up on that
decision. It's that simple.
"But", you say, "it cant be that
Did I say easy? No, I said SIMPLE.
But yes, it can be relatively easy as well. Analogize it this way. If
you had to move a mountain, would you put your shoulder against it and begin to push? Of
course not. Youd get a shovel and wheelbarrow, and start digging. With each shovel
full youd be moving the mountain. Not "trying" to do it, but
"doing" it. That's an important distinction.
If you were here in Las Vegas and had to get to Los Angeles, would you
take a running jump from the Las Vegas Strip and hope to land on Wilshire Blvd.? No, of
course you wouldnt. If there was no other way to go, youd put one foot in
front of the other, toes always pointing southwest. You wouldnt be
"trying" to go there, youd be "going" there. And eventually, if
you kept just doing that simple process, youd arrive (or die along the way.)
Quitting smoking is the same process, applied to a different journey.
My Pulitzer Prize nominated book, "How to Quit Smoking Without
Willpower or Struggle" details the ultimate, nearly effortless method to escape from
that most evil weed known to man, without fighting "that craving urge" EVER,
without using patches, gum, pills, or any device, for less than the cost of a carton of
cigarettes. If you've truly decided to quit, and need an instruction manual, this is it.
Buy it. Use it.
But understand this, the book doesnt do the process, you do.
The "work" is easy. First, you learn to begin dismantling your
"habit". After that's gone, the addiction part is much easier! And you can
smoke a cigarette each and every time you want to...really want to...while
you are doing it.
Hard to believe, isnt it? Yet to this very day,
I know I can smoke each
and every time I want. But I havent wanted or smoked a cigarette since
Tuesday, January 2, 1979, at about 10:00 p.m. Really!
And if you sincerely do the process for a year, and are still
smoking, well give you your money back... TRIPLE!!!
for a guarantee?
Mark Whalen, President
PresMark Publishing Co.
"How to Quit Smoking Without Willpower or Struggle"