I'm so glad to have
this chance to tell you about my experience with Steve's Cognitivequitting
Program. I found it to be a very different way to quit smoking.
It worked for me. Over 35 years of smoking, I tried to quit
many times. Tried everything. I tried Smoke Enders, The American
Lung Association Group as well as a smoking cessation program
through my medical insurance. I tried acupuncture and hypnosis
(twice). None of the "scare" methods worked for me
either. I failed over and over because all I could focus on
then was the awful deprivation I felt and the heroic struggle
I was having, fighting off my ever-returning urges to smoke.
Now, you'd think
I'd be more skillful in my own efforts to quit smoking because
I'm a psychologist, in practice for over three decades. I know
how to help others make positive changes in their own lives.
But then, of course, we all know about addiction. Right? Well,
maybe not. I think Steve has a really new and more accurate
take on what addiction and quitting smoking are really all about.
It's not just about being a nicotine addict.
So, what's different
about Steve's way to quit? First of all, he has an expert understanding
of the process of quitting. He met me where I was while I was
still a smoker. He guided me very carefully; and so very importantly,
he saved me from feeling overwhelmed by the towering goal of
quitting. He did this very systematically by having me focus
on simple and manageable tasks. Steve puts a spot light on the
physical realities of the smoking habit. I really needed his
coaching when I first started tuning into my body cues which
I had always interpreted as time to light up again. Cognitivequitting
also involves the skill of discovering alternative ways to find
actual relief from any nagging withdrawal symptoms. Instead
of fighting or depriving myself, I was in a whole different
mode of paying attention to my body signals and finding a non-automatic
way to respond to any physical or emotional discomfort.
is that Steve puts first things first with his well-carved-out
and crucial Foundation Statements. I found these to be the bedrock
of beliefs about my decision to quit and the necessary commitment
it takes to actually do it. From the start, he was preparing
me for the future, for those especially vulnerable moments when
I might be at higher risk of erroneously believing that relief
meant choosing to smoke again.
The absolutely essential
piece in this process is doing the Timer Exercise which Steve
calls the amazing eye opener! He’s right. The Exercise
increased and deepened my awareness of what body sensations
I was experiencing in various situations at different times
of the day. I learned to become an observer. I observed any
discomfort I was feeling; I observed my old automatic response
of wanting to reach for a cigarette. Eventually, I began to
find a new, nonsmoking response to manage my discomfort.
I know I couldn’t
have quit by myself. I chatted with Steve on line almost daily.
He will tell you that he has no counseling credentials; he isn’t
a therapist or a personal coach; however, in my experience,
he is absolutely brilliant when it comes to his offering support,
clarifying irrational thinking, asking his searching questions,
discerning what to focus on next. He was very patient with me
and nonjudgmental, too. He was very quick to affirm good work.
He was such a keen listener. He frequently understood both what
I was saying and what I was not saying. I felt so genuinely
understood. I felt his presence. I didn’t feel alone during
the whole quit process. And then there is, last but not least,
Steve's incorrigible (and sometimes life-saving) sense of humor,
I have been able
to apply the skills I honed through Cognitivequitting to other
areas of my life. For the first time, I am actually motivated
to eat more intentionally and to exercise regularly. You can’t
begin to appreciate what an amazing change this is for the likes
of sedentary me! So in the end, it’s not just about nicotine.
For me, it’s been about learning a whole different way
to respond to life stress.
Copyright ©1996 - present
Stephen Polansky All rights reserved.
No part of this site may be copied, without prior permission
from the copyright holder unless otherwise stated.