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BETTER START THE "STOP SMOKING PROCEDURE" NOW

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Increasing the pleasure derived from smoking and curbing the habit

It is possible to stop smoking without chemical assistance and without trying too hard. It is possible to stop this way smoking even without gaining weight.

If one only wish to half the amount smoked or to make hours of abstinence less stressful - it is even easier and quicker.

We (me and my trainees) stumbled on this option, when we used the sensations involved with the urge to smoke, as signals one can attend to.

(The core of the training in the use of the general technique - expounded in other pages of this site - is the attendance to the various bodily sensation and the building of the habit to do it frequently. We used the sensations involved with the urge to smoke to this purpose... and so we discovered its effect on the smoking habit.)

One does not need to acquire the whole technique if
all one wants is just curbing or overcoming
the urge to smoke or get rid of the
smoking habit.

The basic principle of the general procedure is "biofeedback WITHOUT instruments". In the regular biofeedback training, one can change any measurable process, by attending to the measurings of the instruments. In the new procedure - as adapted for the regulation of smoking, one can train oneself to attend to the various sensations involved with the smoking habit. By attending to these sensations one can change any process related to a discernible (bodily) sensation, and thus curb the habit.

By attending to the sensations one cause them and the urge to smoke to gradually diminish till the habit stops to exist.

The main "side effect" common to those who start to train with the smoking procedure is the sharp increase in the pleasure derived from each cigarette smoked. This may be the reason for the sharp decrease in the number of cigarette smoked in the begining, as "each cigarette brings about double satisfaction".

Curbing the smoking habit or loose it altogether

Many of the readers of this text are used to smoking nicotine mixed with various ingredients and burning materials. A significant number of you are not satisfied with the amount of the material smoked, the frequency of the smoking occasions and/or the sensations derived from it.

Frequently, smoking is an automatic behavior - a reaction to unaware internal or external cues. Some smokers think from time to time about trying to abolish the habit, but various internal habits of the mind prevent them from even taking that decision.

Other smokers have already reached a decision and want to decrease the amount smoked or to stop it altogether, but find that it is extremely difficult to do so - due to internal conflicting processes involved - and therefore cannot adhere to any of their decisions. They cannot do it at all or they regress to the old habit after a relatively short period of success. In both situations, the inability to reach a conclusive decision, or the inability to adhere to it, makes them the same as any other addict (of drugs, alcohol, etc.), who wants to stop but cannot.

I stopped smoking "cold turkey" 11 years ago while in an intensive care unit (because of a false alarm), but as a veteran of 28 years of numerous failed attempts to rid myself of the habit, I still remember what it was like. I still remember the difference between one failure to abstain from smoking and another, and how each cigarette (or pipe smoked) is a unique experience.

However, it is still possible to classify the smoking experiences into a few categories:
1.
"The real one" - the first one you smoke at the beginning of your smoking day (usually first thing after getting up), or each time you feel a strong need or an intense urge to smoke.

2.
"The boredom cigarette" - the one usually smoked when there is little with which to employ the brain. It is usually smoked when you are "killing time" - killing the felt sensation of boredom, or waiting without anything else to do.

3.
The "substitute cigarette" - the one you light up when you are hungry or in pain or experiencing any other feeling you want to change on the spot. (It usually functions successfully as a robust divergence of the mind.)

4.
The "stimulating" cigarette - the one you smoke when you need more attentional power. You smoke it when you are not fully awake, and whenever you need to recruit resources to enhance your concentration, to sharpen your vigilance or to keep from falling asleep on duty.

5.
The smoking for pleasure - the cigarette one usually smokes after a satisfying meal or other pleasures of the body to achieve a deeper satisfaction or to complete the pleasant feeling. It is really used to curb the effect of various "pessimistic" regulating procedures of the mind which are trying to destroy the good emotional climate of the moment.

6.
"The automatic cigarette" - the ones you smoke without applying will power or deriving pleasure. Those are the ones you do not really want to smoke, the ones you are not really aware of and the ones you generally do not remember smoking. It is not you who really smoked them!!!. It is the pure act of your sub-conscious regulating procedures of the mind, which serve processes not shared with the awareness.

7.
"The social cigarette" - the ones offered to you and the ones you smoke from your own packet when people around you smoke. This situation as well as many others activate in you kind of social regulating procedures of the mind, which initiate imitation behavior.
Actually, plenty of regulating procedures of the mind are involved in the smoking behavior. When one wants to quit smoking or only to introduce a radical change in it, one has to deal with all of them. However, when one only wants to change the smoking pattern a bit, it is much easier. The mission of the person who needs to refrain from smoking in a few places or at certain periods of time or to restrict the number smoked, is an intermediate one. The focusing related to smoking is more efficient if done according to the following steps:

The first step - preliminaries

Decide for yourself what you really want to achieve: cessation of smoking or only a better control on the habit. Heavy smokers have to take into consideration that restricting the daily consumption to half a packet takes about a month. It takes about three months of arduous training to overcome the addiction completely. (For those experienced with the general technique it may take only a few weeks.)

The second step - getting acquainted with the habit

You are invited on a tour to acquaint yourself with the whole variety of felt sensations and other body sensations related to smoking. Usually you will find them in body parts involved with the handling of the cigarettes and the inhalation of the smoke. The most appropriate time for this tour is the half minute preceding the actual lighting of each cigarette. During those seconds write on the packet the time each cigarette was lit (or mark on the form*), and pay attention to the felt sensation of the moment.
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*
A standard form to mark the time each cigarette is smoked, and short instructions for this, are to be found in the end of this text - click to see it. One can use it in the fight against other habits too.
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During this period, try from time to time (in the few seconds immediately before lighting the cigarette) to locate the exact place you feel the sensations and feelings related to the urge to smoke, or the feelings of expectancy for the inhaled smoke.

The most recommended places to focus your attention on are the pharynx and larynx, the throat and especially the vocal cords. The sensations and feelings located in the lips and fingers are not so important but are worth focusing your attention on - in order to become acquainted with them - as they are often the source of the first signals to the awareness that it is time to light a cigarette.

At the end of this step you are supposed to reach the point where you mark the time of each cigarette smoked - whether before lighting it or afterwards - with no more than one or two misses a day. Though it may sometimes help, you are not supposed to focus your attention on each one of them. At this stage it is recommended to focus your attention on about 50% of the cigarettes. In this step (and even afterwards), it is not mandatory that you adhere strictly to the 30 second period of focusing before lighting a cigarette.

The third step - the beginning of the real struggle

In the second, step you started reconnaissance activities and a guerrilla warfare against your smoking habit. This third step starts the real fight. So, do not start it before you have reached the target of the previous step. At the beginning of this step, the preliminary focusing before lighting a cigarette is supposed to take the whole 30 seconds - mainly dedicated to the vicinity of the vocal cords.

After focusing for about half a minute on the sensations and feelings that precede the smoking of the cigarette, light it and pay concentrated attention to the first and second inhalations of smoke. It is a good tactic to try to discern the minute variations occurring in various sensations related to smoking - during the waiting period, at the time of inhalations of smoke from a cigarette, and along short periods after each inhalation and after finishing the cigarette. It is also worth comparing the sensations derived from different cigarettes.

Those who wish to use the technique in order to stop smoking, are advised to hold the cigarettes smoked, from now on, in the opposite hand to that usually used. Breaking this aspect of the smoking habit is the easiest. It brings quick results, it makes the cessation of smoking easier, and it decreases its "mission impossible aspect". Undermining this part of the regulating procedures of the mind which are responsible for the smoking habit can be a most suitable prelude to changing all the other regulating procedures involved.

Whether you are using the technique in order to rid yourself of the whole habit, or only intending to use it to restrict the amount of cigarettes smoked, do not refrain from smoking the cigarette you have focused your attention on. Even if the urge has faded, do not refrain from taking in the first few inhalations.

A premature victory on a few cigarettes, before the habit of focusing on the urge to smoke is solidified, may hinder the weaning-off process. If you refrain from smoking cigarettes too early, you may find that each time it becomes harder and harder to focus on the wish to smoke.

However, if the focused attention "killed" the urge to smoke a certain cigarette completely, you are not to be punished by a forced smoking of a whole cigarette. Few token puffs of the cigarette will neutralize the regulating procedures involved. Afterwards, you can extinguish it without being afraid that it will hinder the habit to attend to sensations you are in the process of building.

After a week or two, or even more if needed, when the addition of the prolonged focusing to the marking down of the time, has been consolidated (applied routinely to 90% of the cigarettes or more), it is time for the real assault on the smoking habit.

The fourth step - the real struggle itself

The target of this step is to start breaking the habit of casually yielding to the smoking urge. It is mainly intended for those who really want to restrict the amount of cigarettes smoked or even get rid of the whole habit. It is better to refrain from starting before the criterion of 90% of the previous step has been consolidated.

The novelty of this step is the lengthening of the waiting period between the emergence of the urge to smoke a cigarette and the lighting up. The mission is to delay lighting the cigarette till the minutes indicated on your watch are multiplications of five. At this stage, the most important part is the focusing on the felt sensations emerging during the waiting period (averaging two and a half minutes), whether they are related to the urge to smoke or not.

You will know that you have already graduated from this step, when you have succeeded a few days in a row, in restricting the lighting of 90% of the cigarettes till the legitimate time arrives.

The fifth step - the branching of restrictors and abolitionists

In this step, the schedule splits into two patterns - a special one for those who are on the weaning-off program, and another for those who only want to restrict smoking.

For the restrictors:
If you have already reached in the previous step a stable amount of cigarettes smoked you feel content with, you can start to gradually lift the restriction against smoking whenever you want, and the need to mark down the time of the cigarettes.

However, in order to keep from regressing to the starting point, continue to pay attention to the daily amount smoked, and each time you remember and can spare a minute, pay attention to the beginning of the cigarette smoked. It is also a good policy to defer the lighting of a few cigarettes a week, in order to keep the habit in shape against a time when you might slip back to smoking a larger number of cigarettes.

If this happens, the renewal of the waiting periods in combination with the dedication of attention efforts to the sensations during them, will bring you back to your goal. If you have not reached your goal during the previous step, join those who strive to stop smoking completely for as long as needed.

For the abolitionists:
After about a month of gradually intensifying the struggle against the habit of smoking impulsively, now is the time for the long and decisive step. The following are two sub steps for curbing the habit before stopping it altogether.

1)
Put the target of the third step higher and try to delay the lighting of each cigarette to the times when the minutes are multiplications of ten. When the 90% goal is reached and consolidated, continue to the following sub step.

2)
Gradually, in small increments, push the target higher and higher - each time the previous goal is achieved. At first, wait with each cigarette till the minutes are multiplications of fifteen, then twenty, and then thirty. Afterwards wait with each cigarette three quarters of an hour then try to restrict the smoking to full hours only.
In both sub steps, whenever you fail to adhere to the restriction with one cigarette try to compensate on the following one. If a temporary regression occurs, just go back for a while to the previous target before pushing it up again.

The sixth step - the decisive struggle

After succeeding for a whole week in refraining from smoking outside the hour limit, start an assault on the addiction from all directions:
a)
Start to delay the lighting of the first cigarette smoked at the beginning of a new day.

b)
Find the time of the day in which the urge to smoke is milder and increase the waiting time there.

c)
Try gradually to cut the number of cigarettes smoked by eliminating the one easiest to drop.

d)
In addition to focusing on the other felt sensations, do it also on those of all the inhalations of smoke from each cigarette.

e)
Don't feel obliged to utilize the smoke of each cigarette to the utmost. Let the UN-smoked stubs of the cigarettes lengthen.
When the number of smoked cigarettes declines to five a day or less, for a whole week, it is time to enter the final stage.

The seventh step - the final assault

At the beginning of this step, take an interval of at least two hours between cigarettes. Then start to delay the lighting of each cigarette smoked to the maximum of your endurance - till you succeed in stopping altogether. In the course of this step, it is most important to focus on each fleeting urge to smoke and on each superficial felt sensation even remotely related to the smoking habit - both before the lighting up and between smokes. At this stage it is also important to focus on all the sensations available in circumstances which in the past, were cues for smoking. This step continues till you stop smoking for a few days in a row.

Regular maintenance

After about three months of arduous struggle with the smoking habit it is time for implementing the maintenance of the new habits of a non-smoker. It is worth being on guard for a few months at least - especially if you spend time in the vicinity of smokers.

The urge to smoke may emerge in the first period of abstinence quite often. Even many months and years later, it may emerge from time to time. It is better not to yield to it as the old regulating procedures of the smoking habit are just lying dormant. Even one cigarette may cause the revival of the old habit.

If a regression occurs, don't panic. Even if one returns briefly or for a longer period to the habit of smoking, a short course through the seven steps can abolish it relatively quickly and easily.

Vicarious focusing on smoking

During the development and examination of the General Sensate Focusing Technique which this program is part of, many smokers focused on sensations and feelings related to smoking as part of the wide pool of sensations to be focused the attention on. Most of them kept on smoking without intending to give it up or even reduce the number of cigarettes smoked. They focused on these sensations and feelings "just in order to catch regulating procedures" that use smoking as a behavioral divergence of the mind ("defense").

Actually, nearly each cigarette smoked is a kind of a divergence. It is used as a means of preventing the subjective experience components included in an emotional or other regulating process from entering the awareness (or to weaken and remove it after entering there).

Following now are the main results of the systematic focusing on the subjective experience of smoking for those in training in the new technique:
a)
The focusing enhances the pleasure derived from each cigarette one focuses on.

b)
It decreases the daily amount of cigarettes smoked even if this is not intended.

c)
When there are environmental obstacles (mostly when social pressure or laws forbid it) the focusing helps to delay the smoking of a cigarette.

d)
It helps those who have decided to stop smoking "cold turkey" to pass the first few days, which are the hardest.
(These observations contributed to the idea that a suitable focusing schedule can enable one to undermine the habit of smoking. This was found to be true by many of my trainees, who used it successfully to decrease the amount smoked or to rid themselves of this habit.)

A form for marking the time of cigarettes lighted, or other bad habits

The bold print numbers are for the hours, the others are for the minutes. Print and/or photocopy this supplement and cut a square for each day. On each occasion of lighting a cigarette, mark the approximate time.

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 | | 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 | | 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 | | 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 | | 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055 | | 05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055
06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055 | | 06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055
07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055 | | 07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055 | | 08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055
09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055 | | 09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055
10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055 | | 10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055
11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055 | | 11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055
12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055 | | 12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 | | 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 | | 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 | | 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 | | 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055 | | 05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055
06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055 | | 06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055
07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055 | | 07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055 | | 08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055
09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055 | | 09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055
10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055 | | 10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055
11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055 | | 11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055
12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055 | | 12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 | | 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 | | 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 | | 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 | | 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055 | | 05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055
06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055 | | 06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055
07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055 | | 07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055 | | 08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055
09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055 | | 09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055
10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055 | | 10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055
11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055 | | 11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055
12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055 | | 12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 | | 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 | | 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 | | 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 | | 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055 | | 05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055
06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055 | | 06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055
07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055 | | 07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055 | | 08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055
09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055 | | 09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055
10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055 | | 10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055
11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055 | | 11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055
12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055 | | 12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055

Day________ Date:_______
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
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07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
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Day________ Date:_______
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
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Day________ Date:_______
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
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Day________ Date:_______
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
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