Jeff was sitting at his desk talking on the phone to a business associate. The Stop Smoking Clinic which his company was sponsoring was about to begin. He was in the process of debating with himself as to whether or not he should show up for the group in which he was enrolled. Finally, he said to his friend, "No, I don't think this is the time for me. Maybe next time I will be more ready." All of a sudden a loud cracking sound filled the room. Jeff looked down at his glass ashtray and to his amazement he saw that it had split down the center. Without being physically touched, his ashtray had cracked in half. He looked up at the ceiling and said into the phone, "I have to hang up now, it's time for me to quit smoking."
The above story may sound like an unlikely occurrence. But it actually happened to one of our clinic participants. While most smokers do not get such divine revelations, all smokers get direct messages that they should stop smoking. The messages come from the smoker's own body. It may be in the form of a cough, a chest pain, tingling sensation or numbness in an extremity, headaches, indigestion, difficulty in breathing and a multitude of other complaints. Unfortunately, though, while the messages are constantly being sent to the smoker, they are not often received.
Sure, the smoker will feel the symptoms, but he will often disregard any association with cigarettes as being the causative factor. Sue, another clinic participant, had constant bouts with chronic bronchitis. Her doctor told her she was highly allergic to cigarettes and had to quit smoking. She accepted the fact that an allergy was causing her problems, but refused to believe her sensitivity was to cigarettes. She changed her diet, got rid of her carpeting, wore hypoallergenic make-up, and dusted constantly. She did everything possible but quit smoking. Even with all the positive changes her condition did not improve. But when she finally quit smoking, the attacks immediately subsided. She could then no longer refute the evidence--cigarettes caused her bronchitis.
The odds are when you smoked, you too received personal messages that smoking was not for you. Always remember these warnings for they become very powerful ammunition for overcoming the occasional urges for cigarettes. Whenever Sue would get an urge, all she had to do was remember the pain and terror involved with a severe bronchitis attack. Jeff kept his cracked ashtray on his desk as a constant reminder of how he should not smoke. Think of your personal messages when the thought occurs and it will be easy for you to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
One humorous side note. On the fifth day of the clinic, Jeff confided to me that he was a little concerned because he was snacking more since he quit smoking and was afraid of gaining weight. I told him not to worry. When it was time for him to diet, he would probably go to the refrigerator and see the door fall off.Joel
© Joel Spitzer 1986
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