July 2009 Newsletter:
Cut Back on Smoking or Other Addictions

*Emotional addictions
*Tools to change

One day I was walking and saw a young boy; he was perhaps only 11 or 12 years old. He was smoking in front of an apartment complex. I watched him acting out – trying to be older. His clothes, his hair and his smoking – everything designed to help him appear older than he was. Why? Was he just trying to fit in with the people around him? I thought he should have been out playing or having fun. He is the real reason that we are now writing about the addiction of smoking.

Smoking is the result of our bodies having a chemical reaction to an emotion. When we have an emotion that makes us feel bad or out of control, we light up a cigarette; that helps us feel as if we are back in control, back in charge of our emotions or feelings. It is an addiction, so it feels as if we have no choice but to light up. These emotions or feelings happen all the time in our lives. These emotions can come whenever we feel controlled, used, bad, when our feelings get hurt, we are worried about ourselves, our family, job, boss, healthy, money… There could be thousands of things that make us unhappy. They create that chemical reaction that causes us to pick up a cigarette in order to get in control of our feelings.

This is REAL LIFE. Remember, this could have been something we have had around us since we were a baby or in our childhood. Our family might have smoked and we picked up the same habit. We know smoking is not healthy for us or those around us, and the message that it gives to children could be deadly by pointing them to the path of addiction. This cycle often goes on for many years, if not generations in some families. Studies have consistently shown that second-hand smoke can be every bit as damaging to those around us – those that we love. How can we get help from our families or our partners when they often smoke themselves?

For many, smoking has been a difficult path and it has cost us a lot. The smell and the smoke get on our clothes – affect others we are around and ultimately, hurt our bodies. By now we have all known someone who has gotten sick or even died as a result of smoking. So if we know it’s not good for us and makes others in our life unhappy, why can’t – why won’t we stop smoking?

There are many types of addictions – smoking is only one. Some individuals emotionally eat and that becomes an addiction. Alcohol and drinking can change anyone into someone we no longer recognize. Gambling addictions can take a family to where they can no longer afford to pay their bills. Yet while most of us have different types of addictions, some have been able to keep them under control. It’s like coffee – okay for us, yet too much caffeine can be unhealthy for the blood pressure. Too much of anything can be bad for us. We just need to do the best we can to stay balanced with our health and our happiness and make sure our additions do not hurt those around us.

Emotional addictions can be energetically draining. It often feels is as if the life force has been taken from us:

1) Like when someone close to us makes us feel guilty or bad, or we feel sorry for them…

2) When someone uses our energy or our own creation for themselves without regard for us…

3) When we feel responsible for someone else’s emotional needs – we try to fill those needs with our own energy…

These are only a few of the ways that we engage in emotional addictions - old patterns that have been with us for most of our lives. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the emotions and energetic dynamics in your life, you might want to just Stop*Look*Listen and read more.

So the question for one addiction becomes:

What emotion or feeling is actually ‘driving’ us towards our addiction? Do we remember what promoted us to begin smoking in the first place? Many of us have tried over and over to stop smoking only to find that our body reacts in different ways. Than we feel even worse than when we were smoking. What we need to do is fill the chemical response to an emotion – and to cut back on any of our addictions.

To work on our emotions – we first need to understand them. Sit quietly for 10 minutes and write down when it was you first began to smoke, shop, overeat, gamble etc. What were you doing at the time? What was going on around you? How did you feel? How were you feeling about yourself? What did smoking or that addiction do for you? What feelings or emotions were you covering up?

Just how do we cut back on smoking – to smoke less today than yesterday? What if there was a way to cut smoking down by one-half ? Would that help?

Tools to Change

The following technique has been recommended to thousands of our clients, each one having their own experience.

First: we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We don’t need others to judge us – we have already done that. No one else can be as hard on us as we can be.

Second: Why not enjoy that cigarette when lighting up? Taste it as if it were the first cigarette – the best cigarette ever. Then the chemical reaction to an old emotion could be met by only 3 or 4 puffs on the cigarette. Once our need has been met, we can put out the cigarette and save it until the next time we need to smoke – again only taking 3 or 4 puffs – again putting the cigarette out. Try to re-light the same cigarette 4 or 5 times. This will help we cut back the amount we smoke and also meet our needs.

The first day it ought to be easy to cut back by at least one-half or two-third of the amount we normally smoke and still meet the emotional needs that cause the smoking in the first place.

Do that for one entire week. Then cut back again – this time 2 or 3 puffs on the cigarette for another week. Cutting back slowly for about one month allows the body to adjust to the slow withdrawal of the nicotine.

This technique can be used for most all types of addictions – cutting back to meet the emotional needs that ‘drive’ the addiction in the first place. Yet – we enjoy each time so much that we no longer need as much; and we enjoy each time as if it were the first time.

If we can allow our bodies to adjust to a limitation of our chemical addiction, we can stop smoking or at the very least – we can cut back on the amount that we smoke. If we can do this, we can help someone else – we could help save the life of that young boy, our own children, others or maybe even ourselves.

Just try it – there’s nothing to lose, just an addiction.