Pam's Story

Spring 2005

A little over four years ago I was stumbling around trying to find a way to quit smoking that made sense to me, looking for answers yet not even knowing the questions I wanted to ask.

All I did know was that, like most other quitters, I'd failed many times, and the thought of yet another failure made me wonder if it was even worth trying again. I'd tried going cold turkey, used every NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) on the market, hypnosis, acupuncture I think if there had been a witch doctor handy I'd have signed up with him too. None of these methods had ever worked for me, so why would the next quit attempt be any different?

I vaguely recognized that feeling angry, stressed, bored or anxious were huge triggers to smoke, but as I couldn't spend the rest of my life avoiding difficult situations and living in some bubble, I was clueless as to what to do next.

Around December 2000 I did some searching on the internet, found a few quit smoking sites and signed up hoping to get a bit of inspiration and a new angle. I read many debates about whether chewing sunflower seeds or straws worked best, just how much water quitters should drink, and where to get the best downloadable quit meter. Plenty of "you can do this" and "hang in there!" and other distraction techniques, but nothing to actually teach me how to quit (and, more importantly how to stay quit) and give me the answers that I was looking for.

I decided one day to try out a quit smoking chat room at one of the quit smoking venues I'd visited. The first person I met in there was Steve. I remember he asked me some searching questions about my reasons for smoking, and why I lit up. He got me thinking very differently, and more deeply, about my smoking behavior. When I read the articles on his website, I knew that I'd finally found the answers I had been seeking.

I set a date to quit, and then found that as I did the work I became anxious to bring my quit date forward. February 24th, 2001 was the day. I can remember clearly feeling very excited about it, and enjoying stubbing out the last cigarette. The hours, then days, rolled by and I was in control. That was such a great feeling, and in chat Steve shared that excitement with me. Then he patiently coached me through the early weeks of my quit (as he does with so many quitters).

When I learned how to quit cognitively, I not only learned how to stay comfortably quit, but also gained tools that would help me direct and live my life very differently. I learned how to step back and to think for a moment before blindly (automatically) reacting to events, and how to become much more self aware. I learned how to listen to my body and how to address the needs I identified, and, in doing so, how to disconnect the old smoking associations. I learned how to live my life without needing a cigarette between my fingers in order to accomplish anything.

Pam H. Careers Adviser/Counsellor, Certified Life Coach


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