They Shoot Smokers, Donít They?
“To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.”
- Mark Twain
Uh-oh. When I saw the title of the book that I’d be reviewing this month—Love Not Smoking, I started to sweat. This meant I would have to divulge my dirty little secret: I used to be a smoker.
Nowadays it’s almost a crime to pick up a cigarette. But back when I was in my 20s, it was the cool thing to do. What budding journalist/wanna-be writer didn’t have a cigarette dangling from their mouth? Coupled with a cuppa joe, the sweet taste of my NOW Menthol 100s could inspire me to create some of my best prose. Or so I thought.
But now as I openly admit this to you, it doesn’t feel very good. That’s the thing about habits. They are so much easier to hide. Grab a quick smoke behind the office building while everyone is busy at work. Chow down a few candy bars when no one is looking. Pop a few pills when things get too stressful. Suck down another beer when you know you’ve had too much.
In Love Not Smoking, Karen Pine and Ben Fletcher tell it like it is. There is no BS in this book. They explain how habits—smoking or otherwise—are virtually wired into your brain’s circuitry. Plus, whatever your habit of choice— smoking, excessive eating, workaholism, texting, TV— it is not just a physical addiction. It’s hooked into many other routines, rituals, and beliefs you already have—which is why they are such a challenge.
What I really love about Love Not Smoking, is that authors Karen and Ben (psychology professors and behavior experts) are former smokers who have been there through the smoking trenches, and they offer raw and real facts about smoking habits and addictions.
Here are just a few:
- Whether you smoke 2 cigarettes a day or 50—heavy or light—you’re still a smoker.
- Most kids smoke before they are 18. And a quarter of them smoke before the age of 10. (10!)
- Your loved ones are terrified that they’re going to lose you because of your smoking.
- Are you still waiting for the right time to quit? There is no right time. Start now.
And the best part: Karen and Ben found a workable solution—a 6-Week Program that can really help you toss away your last pack of Marlboros or package of Twinkies. These professors have a method they call, Do Something Different. It’s a progressive step-by-step program where you take many small steps toward your goal. No quick fixes. You give them six weeks and they will help you dissolve your habit.
The Love Not Smoking program really makes a lot of sense. It gives you the time to prepare for this lifestyle change, identify all the things that trigger your habit, build a support system that can lend the help you need, designate smoke-free areas in your home, and try other everyday activities to help rewire your brain and your thinking. Plus, the authors set up an online support group in case a former smoking friend tries to temp you back to Camp Nicotine. They also have a new Love Not Smoking App to help you on your journey.
I wish I had discovered a book like Love Not Smoking when I decided to quit. It was one of the toughest journeys I ever took. I suffered inside and out. I was cranky, bitchy, bitter, angry, moody and not a lot of fun to be around. And some of my relationships didn’t survive the trip.
Even if you’re not a smoker and can’t relate to any of this personally, there is bound to be someone in your life who needs to read Love Not Smoking. Do yourself and them a favor. Pass this book along. As Karen and Ben say, “By sharing this book, you are communicating what really, really matters in the world and what’s most important. And it’s love. Not smoking.”
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