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Change Begins Within

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Change Begins Within

How to let go of your addictions.
Louise Hay
Louise Hay More by this author
Nov 18, 2010 at 09:00 AM

No book, much less a single chapter, can fully take the place of therapy and 12-step programs in healing an addiction. However, change begins within. The best programs cannot help you if you are not ready to release your addictions. It’s time to make a new vision of your future and let go of any beliefs and thoughts that do not support it.

I hope you find inspiration in the following story of addiction from Teresa, an artist and writer from Oregon:

How I Quit Smoking

I was a light smoker for 30 years, on and off. After my divorce at age 50, however, I became a confirmed, pack-a-day smoker for several years. I was definitely hooked. I couldn’t quit and wasn’t even sure I wanted to—but I had to, for health reasons.

I purchased a very expensive prescription drug that was supposed to curb nicotine cravings. The bonus was that I could smoke during the month or so that it would take for the drug to become effective. Two weeks after starting this drug, I was puffing away, wondering how long it was going to take to give the cigarettes up. I still didn’t have the slightest desire to quit.

Louise’s book You Can Heal Your Life was lying next to me at the time, and I remembered that she had a “smoking section” in it, so I went right to it. She’d written:

You might ask yourself a series of questions like: “Am I willing to give up uncomfortable relationships? Were my cigarettes creating a smoke screen so I wouldn’t see how uncomfortable these relationships are? Why am I creating these relationships?” 

Those questions hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought of my friendship with a woman who was opinionated, negative, and highly critical; and then I thought about my marriage, where everything had supposedly been my fault. Louise continued:

Then you notice the reason you’re so uncomfortable is that other people always seem to be criticizing you. . . . You then think about criticism, and you realize that as a child you received a lot of criticism. That little kid inside of you only feels “at home” when it is being criticized. Your way of hiding from this had been to create a “smoke screen.” 

I flashed to my childhood, especially to the parents who’d stamped their “Good Housekeeping Seal of Disapproval” on everything my siblings and I said or did. Nothing was ever good enough for them.

I had an epiphany! Stubbing out my half-smoked cigarette, I grabbed the remainder of the pack and ceremoniously crushed every one of them into a pile and announced, “I am willing to release the need to be criticized.”

I quit smoking that day and never took another pill from the prescription. Quitting was easy, so I was ready to start being easy on myself. Since then, I’ve continued my healing journey and have found new relationships that support me in my truth. Before, when I believed I wasn’t good enough, I attracted plenty of people to support that belief. Smoking provided the shield that kept me from seeing the truth.

Now, I watch how I talk to myself and about others. I’ve learned that if I criticize someone else, I’m just criticizing myself. I like me too much to practice that old self-loathing behavior. It just doesn’t fit anymore.

About Author
Louise Hay
Louise Hay Louise Hay was an inspirational teacher who educated millions since the 1984 publication of her bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, which has more than 50 mill Continue reading