Smokers are in an addiction class all by themselves. If you have read the previous two blogs you now know that smokers, in general, are dopamine deficient and are “psychologically” addicted to the “feeling good” effects of the dopamine release stimulated by nicotine. You are also aware that will power has very little to do with the ability to stop smoking – because addictions tend to be regulated by the Subconscious Mind and the Right Brain. The Subconscious Mind (which is like the hard drive on your computer) and the Right Brain set up set up the automatic and associative responses in the body. In the case of a smoker, he or she has physical associations, like associating drinking alcohol and smoking, or taking a break and smoking, in addition to the addictive compulsions. On top of this, the smoker over time also develops a subconscious belief or program that “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”. Everyone is entitled to feel good – including smokers, of course – but the smoker’s mind is playing a trick. If smoking is the only way that I can feel good, all other ways that could provoke the feeling good response become secondary.
For a smoker to quit smoking permanently, the individual must become a non-smoker (no
addiction) and an ex-smoker (no habitual associations). In order to do this, the Subconscious Mind must be involved – since it creates these associations in the first place. Will power for the chronic smoker, in my opinion, is useful but has very little to do with quitting in the long term. The easiest way to access this part of the mind is to use the natural mind state called hypnosis. It is a state that we use daily, but no one teaches you how to use it to our advantage.
Most smokers need subconscious help to quit permanently – since they have often tried to quit multiple times and failed. Reprogramming must occur around self-esteem, creating health and motivation. If someone has a faulty program, it must be identified and updated, or deleted and replaced in the Subconscious Mind- and this is especially true with smokers. Everything that they believe smoking “gives” them is a lie. Smoking has never given them anything that the non-smoker doesn’t already have. If you have the conscious desire to give up the psychological addiction to smoking, or you know someone you care about who smokes, please consider the program that I have created called “Stop Killing Yourself: 21 Days to Your Last Cigarette”. It uses self-hypnosis to access the Subconscious Mind and establish new healthier programming. It is time for smokers to reclaim their health. It has recently come to my attention that many medical doctors are refusing to take on a new patients who smoke. Is this because medical doctors consider patients who smoke to be on borrowed time? Your body is a miracle. Give it a fighting chance. Take the steps to quit smoking now.
In the first installment of “Nicotine Addiction – Fact or Fiction”, I mentioned the following information about smokers which I believe are backed up by research in the area: 1) Smokers are psychologically-addicted to the effects of nicotine rather than physically-addicted to nicotine – due to the effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine (the “feeling good” neurotransmitter); 2) most chronic tobacco users who have trouble quitting are deficient in dopamine and were probably dopamine-deficient before they started smoking, and 3) attempting to quit smoking soley by reducing the amount of nicotine over time – without taking other measures to increase dopamine levels – is almost impossible as a dopamine-deficient smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms in proportion to the lack of dopamine e.g., anxiety, irritability, depression. We have all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. When it comes to dopamine, however, the consumption of beets has been shown to raise increase the production of serotonin and dopamine. Perhaps a beet-a-day would keep the psychiatrist away – and help smokers to quit.
There is another side to the smokers dilemma. All smokers associate cigarettes with other activities like eating, drinking coffee or alcohol, driving and so on. These are habitual associations. As a Bio-medical hypnotherapist as well as an ND, I am aware that the subconscious mind has everything to do with creating and maintaining addictions and these habitual associations. The Subconscious Mind is very strong. In fact, the Subconscious Mind via its Right Brain Hemisphere connections runs all the “automatic” actions in the body below your conscious control. In other words, actions that you don’t have to think about that happen automatically. The problem with the right brain is that it is based on emotions, not logic. The right brain and subconscious mind are like the hard drive on your computer. It has all your beliefs about yourself and life, as well as the associations between thought forms and actions, but these beliefs and associations are not often logical and get acted upon anyway.
In the case of a chronic smoker, the primary associative belief is often “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”. If this associative belief remains active, unchallenged and unchanged, the right brain/subconscious mind has no choice but to continue the internal drive to smoke. This is why the natural mind-state we call “hypnosis” can be beneficial – because it allows access to the subconscious mind and can eliminate these unwanted associations and beliefs. I will have more to say about this in the final installment.