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on September 1, 2007
I don't even know where to begin, but THIS BOOK JUST WORKS!
It seems weird to read a book and "just quit", but that's what happened.
Trust me, it won't be "different for you"... it will work. Buy it.
I've read the hundreds of reviews on the last book's edition, and it inspired me to purchase this latest (2006) edition.
A friend of mine who quit (after reading to pg. 95 of this took me longer, by the way) recommended it to me about 8 months ago.
It's taken me that long to buy the book because
I mean, I'm 41 (just had a birthday)and I've been smoking for 25 years and I "like it" (or so I thought)!
I kind of didn't want to quit smoking, but thought I should.
I smoked for 25 years (that's plenty). ...At least one pack/day for 23 of those years. Of course, I stopped while pregnant (didn't have the urge, thank God) and slowly started again, only this time (for the last 3 years) it's only been 5 cigs./day (or more if I was "out" partying).

I bought the book and didn't really think I'd quit and wasn't really "ready" or anything and I started reading the book and it just happened anyway!
I smoked my last cigarette on Monday, August 13, 2007 (while I was still 40)! I just had a birthday... this was my gift to myself.
I know it's only been shy of three weeks, but it was pretty EASY! And, I know I'm done. You can just tell. (like when I met my husband, you "just know")

The first week was only very slightly bothersome, but I was EASILY able to talk myself out of it (surprisingly). I really shock myself. Honestly, it's an easy read and I'm sure you'll quit. Seriously.
I know your thinking, "It sounds good, but it probably won't work for me"
... I said THE SAME THING! AND IT WORKED! (I thought I was "different") Boo hoo.

I've been telling EVERYBODY!
The book says that if after reading it, you have any urge at all, whatsoever to smoke, then you should also read the larger book (which I'm doing, just for reinforcement)and you will never think about another smoke again (most people feel this way after reading the first one)
This is the second (very long) book: Allen Carr's "Only way to stop smoking permanently".

It's funny that it occassionally occurs to me that maybe I wasn't committed enough to quitting, when I read it, so it didn't work with just the one book.
It only took me one time to think, "I'll have just one more"
... how stupid!
I smoked for 25 YEARS, but one more was going to do it! HA!
I EASILY talked myself out of that one.

Additionally, I have never tried to quit, before. He says it's easier if you HAVE tried before, for some reason.

Also, it is VERY important to smoke while you're reading this book! (I didn't, enough, probably)
He actually tells you on a few occassions while reading to light up (if you're not, already).

My last cigarette was the one that he told me to light. I had just finished one about 20 minutes before and didn't really want another one but I lit it anyway, because he told me to. (I wanted to follow the directions exactly)
It did NOTHING for me.
I didn't even think when I tossed it in the fireplace that that was going to be my last one. Turns out, it just was. Probably this is best.
Funny, I remember my first one, too, and it was equally distasteful.

So, no. After 25 years of smoking, I don't really need another ONE to "make sure". Now, I could really care less.
It's so cool.
It is a little strange to me (the fact) that I haven't smoked in three weeks.
That's NEVER happened before (except when pregnant)!
I couldn't even imagine that, before.

I'd even smoke when I was so sick I didn't want to get out of bed or eat anything, let alone smoke.
But there I was, sitting at the fireplace, stuffed up and ache-y all over, puffing away. What a moron.
You're only laughing because you've done the same thing!
That's 'cause we're smokers and that's what smokers do. Pathetic, I know. But true.
I remember putting those "sick-time" cigarettes out and saying,
"That didn't really help anything", but at least I didn't go a whole day without smoking, that would be too weird. Crazy.

Read this book. Please read this book. Pretty please, read this book.
You'll be glad you did.

I am such an advocate now that I feel like running a stop smoking clinic. But I'm too busy, so I'm writing this for you.

Anyway, just get the book.
You'll really be glad you did, and so will your kids, your parents, your friends or anyone else you tell!

Sometimes I just tell strangers so that I can see the happy look on their faces and get compliments.
Smoking is the only thing that when you are doing it, you kind of wish you weren't and when you're not, you wished you were. ridiculous!

Every day since I quit has been a good day. I was literally giddy and bubbly the day I quit... and that's not really my personality.

I take deep breaths, now.. (because I can) and it feels SO good!

On occassion, I think of the act of smoking at different moments like getting into my car.
I would always light up if I was alone in my car, because I knew I could smoke there without getting any dirty looks. Sometimes, I would even try to hide it while driving... like when kids were in the car next to me, especially.

Now, I wouldn't say I "crave" a smoke, but there are still times when it occurs to me that I'd be smoking now, if I were a smoker. Like in my car or having a beer, etc. (this is why I'm reading the next book)
The difference is, I can EASILY talk myself out of it and in about 10 seconds, I forget about that thought and it literally "doesn't matter" anymore.
I don't care if people smoke around me, or if everyone in the room is.
You'll see.
It even works for "secret smokers"... those who say they've quit but then get up at 3:00 am and sneak outside for one or make up stupid errands to have an exuse to drive somewhere alone. (ridiculous, but true)
Those smokers are actually the ones who REALLY need this book, too!

I'm so thankful and indebted to Allen Carr (I wish he were alive to tell him, myself) for setting me free.
(He went from chain smoking 100 cigaretts/day to zero with NO PROBLEMS)!
So, see, he was worse than you!
(regretably, he died this year from lung cancer, by the way, but was able to enjoy many years as a non-smoker before he died)

I haven't told my parents yet, but I can't wait to see the excitement on their faces when I tell them.

Having a beautiful three year old daughter, myself, it just KILLS ME to imagine her with a cigarette in her mouth!


The best way I can rectify all those painful years they watched me, is to relieve them with the great news.
I can't wait.

Honestly, if I were any happier, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I want you to feel that way too.
Thanks for reading.
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on March 23, 2012
To All People Out There Who Want to Quit:
(And Even Those Who Simply Want to WANT To Quit)

I understand how it is, I really do. I want to try and help, even if it's something that you've heard a thousand times before. Yes, indeedy, I did have success with this book. I found out that I was pregnant with my first child on January 9, 2012. At age 24 I had been a pack-a-day smoker for almost 6 years. I enjoyed the ritual of taking some "me time" to reflect each day while enjoying a cigarette with an iced coffee. I liked smoking while driving in my car on a beautiful day. If I went out drinking for the night, I could kill a pack in a matter of a couple of hours, no problem. What I really *didn't* like was the disgusting ashtray-mouth the next morning, or, on other occasions, the feeling of panic that would set in if I only had one cigarette left, or, even worse, NONE left. If I was short on money, I'd get desperate, and try any way to get one. I also didn't like the stale taste in my mouth that would linger hours after smoking. I felt self-conscious whenever I spoke to someone really close-up, or when I kissed my boyfriend. I didn't like that when I went on vacation or went to visit someone, I would open my luggage and smell a rank ashtray smell radiating out. I'm sure these are all things you've experienced before.

What really helped me to quit for good (immediately and without regret, depression, or any *real* withdrawal problems) was the imagery in this book about the "Nicotine Monster". The idea that for the past 6 years of my life, I was carrying around this evil little parasite in my brain. He moved in to my brain and made himself comfortable the day that I smoked my first cigarette at a party my freshman year of college. From then on, every single time the Nicotine Monster got "hungry" (which, as time went on, became more and more frequently), he would whisper nasty little demands to my Subconscious Brain. To make sure that everything progressed the way he wanted, the Nicotine Monster would hold a knife to my Subconscious Brain's throat and say: "Subconscious Brain, you'd BETTER go tell Lindsay that she wants a cigarette. You'd better CONVINCE her that it would be a good idea to light up, RIGHT NOW". And my poor Subconscious Brain, fearing the worst, would have no choice but to pass along that insidious message that, repeated over and over and over throughout the years, would CONVINCE me that smoking was a good choice for me, that it made me feel better, that I LOVED it. And so it went. I became addicted. On those occasions that I ran low on cigarettes or didn't have money to buy a new pack, the Nicotine Monster would go BERSERK. He would rattle his cage, scream and shout, kick the walls, tear his hair out, and bombard my Subconscious Brain with some pretty awful threats. Again, Subconscious Brain would pass the urgent message along to my Conscious Mind, which caused me to get sweaty, nervous, desperate, panicky, and, well, act like a DRUG ADDICT. Which is exactly what I was.

When I read this in Allen Carr's book, it clicked for me. It made sense, and it made me realize cigarettes were NOT my friend; they were my keeper, my warden, my prison guard, whatever you want to call it. My smoking was not decreasing my stress, aiding my concentration, or giving special moments of "me-time"; rather, it was turning me into a slave to the Nicotine Monster in my brain. I realized that no matter how many times I tried to appease the Nicotine Monster, his demands would never stop. I realized that no matter how many hundreds of dollars I threw down the drain, or how many puffs I took, the Nicotine Monster would never, EVER be satisfied. At the same time, I knew that I, as a strong, capable, independent woman, COULD defeat this monster by STARVING it. Now that I knew how insidious, sneaky, and evil Nicotine Monster was, I knew how to outsmart it. I knew that every time I sensed the Nicotine Monster asking for its next fix, I would purposely ignore it. I would laugh in its face, call it pathetic, and smugly tell it that I was not going to feed it ever again. I would tell it that it would starve and die without its precious nicotine, and there was nothing to be done about it. I came to that realization immediately after reading Allen Carr's book. It was January 15, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

THAT'S where the feelings of joy, triumph, and elation come from: the knowledge that you have figured it out. You see it clearly, and therefore you know how to beat it. You will not feel sad, you will not feel like you're giving up ANYTHING, you will not miss it, you will not crave it. You will jump for joy and thank your lucky stars that the cycle has been broken. You have quit. You have become a lifelong non-smoker.

Which brings me to my next point. Imagine that a year later, you're at a party and you see someone smoking. In a moment of poor judgment you think: "Hmmm, I bet one cigarette wouldn't hurt, just for old time's sake. I've been quit for a year now, so this'll just prove that I'm not longer addicted." You light up a cigarette for the first time in a year, take a puff, and as the smoke fills your lungs and is circulated throughout your bloodstream, the Nicotine Monster (dried-out, contracted, and crumpled in a pile of death in a dusty corner of your brain) suddenly SPRINGS to life with all its former vigor. "FINALLY!!!!" it says. "AFTER ALL THIS TIME, I'M ALIVE!! AHHH, PRECIOUS NICTOINE, MY BELOVED FOOD, YES! NOURISH ME ONCE AGAIN!!!!" Nicotine Monster does an evil, devilish victory dance on the floor of your brain, laughing manically and already planning ways to infiltrate your Conscious Mind once again and once again secure its front-row seat in your life.

DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. You're better than that. You're stronger than that. Don't let some dead, dusty old punk-ass Nicotine Monster rob you of your freedom.

I know that got a little bit dramatic near the end there, but I really hope this is helpful to you in some way. Allen Carr has helped not only me, but also my father (who has been smoking 3 packs per day since 1968), my two brothers, my best friend, and my best friend's boyfriend. All of these people shared my same experience, and are now spreading the message to their own loved ones, friends, and anyone else who will listen. Good luck, stay strong, and remember why you are doing this. FEEL the power of your own brain, your own body, and REJOICE in your freedom. Peace to you and yours!
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on October 8, 2003
It was a Monday morning. Hungover. Broke. No cigarettes. This, I thought, was as good a time as any to start reading a book about giving up smoking.
Plunging bravely in, I got to chapter two within a matter of minutes.
"Follow all the instructions in this book," it advised as rule number one.
Rule number two? "Don't stop smoking until you've finished this book."
Damn. Blast. I had to drag myself back out of bed, shower, change, ring my editor for an advance, go to the bank, cash my cheque, buy a packet of cigarettes, all so I could give up smoking.
Except, as Allen Carr points out, I was not 'giving up' anything.
At the tender age of 38, I had been thinking about not smoking for two or three years. Visiting my neighbour, who happens to be the wife of our prime minister, I noticed she was not smoking.
"Nah, and haven't been for 14 months now."
Woh! Wasn't that really hard?
"No it was quite easy, really."
No way! How did you do it?
"Read a book."
Pause. Silence. Big breath.
Can I borrow it?
"Sure," says our first lady.
Three months later, after giving up on 19 June 2003, I still get nicotine pangs. Maybe as much as two or three times a day. This is good. In fact, this is incredible. The last time I tried to 'give up' I thought about cigarettes two to three THOUSAND times a day.
The rest of the time? No worries!
I feel like I've turned a corner on 19 years of fagging and there's no looking back. Mind you, my mother read the same book and is still having great difficulty. Problem is, she only 'gave up' because she had to spend time in hospital and was terrified at the thought of going through withdrawals. Now back in the real world, she has also been off the cigarettes for nearly three months.
The difference is that I thought about it for a long time and really wanted to stop smoking forever.
If you are one of those people, then read this book. Just don't stop until you finish it!
Yeah, it took me three weeks to read the book ... ;-) Take as long as you want!
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on December 14, 2005
I was very sceptical of this book, but read it after two of my friends read it and quit. I can tell you right now -it works. You quit without any cravings, any pain, any weight gain.

There is no sensationalism -nothing about lung cancer, strokes and the usual fear tactics used to try and stop people from smoking (hey -they don't work anyway!).

By the end of this book, something inside you will have shifted, you will throw away your cigarettes without a backwards glance -free at last, forever.
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on April 4, 2014
First, a little about me; 35 year old female who's been smoking since about the age of 20. I took a three year break from 29-32 but started right back up with a vengeance. 2 weeks ago I was smoking 1.5-2 packs a day. My last cigarette was at 10:30 pm on March 26th 2014.

Ok, so I had made the decision that it was time to stop smoking. I am a sales rep and am in front of customers all the time, I was embarrassed and ashamed that I might smell like cigarettes. I called my doctor to get a prescription for Chantix, because I had success with it a few years back. I let my inner circle (husband, close friends, boss) know that I was quitting smoking and that "the crazy train might be making a temporary stop".

I picked up my prescription after work, came home and Googled "advice for quitting smoking", this book came up. I read this whole book that night and haven't touched nicotine since.

Notice that I said "nicotine" and not cigarette's, I really appreciate this books' focus on getting rid of your nicotine addiction. You don't need patches, gum or those silly vapor cigarette's. Stop being a slave to your nicotine addiction, be strong and free yourself.

I truly can't believe how I get to tell people that I quit with just the help of a book, which falls into the "cold turkey" category. I never hid my addiction so a lot of my friends and family are being super supportive. Tell people you're quitting, you deserve recognition and it helps with accountability.

I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who uses any sort of nicotine. I wish I could buy copies and hand them out to friends and family who are addicted. Please give this book a try, I feel it has changed my life. I'm so proud and feel better, I can say with 100% certainty that I will never, ever touch nicotine again. You can do this!

***Update as of 4/26/14***

100% nicotine free! :D

***Update as of 9/9/14***

STILL 100% nicotine free!
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on November 28, 2014
I don't normally leave reviews, but this book deserves all the reviews it can get. This is kind of long, but I felt the need to say everything I've left in this review. If you want to skip my "smoker story" leading up to the book, scroll down to where it says "The point of this review."

I've tried quitting cigarettes for years, even though I didn't want to quit at all, because of knowing I needed to, or because I was sick of the price going up. I am 26 years old and I have smoked 3 packs a day, sometimes four packs a day, since I was 19. I simply tried ONE little cigar the day I turned 18 because I was old enough to legally buy one and a lottery ticket. Well, I lost on the $10 lottery ticket and developed a nasty habit for the next few years.
I smoked cigars for the first year, then switched to cigarettes a little before or after I turned 19. I loved them. I honestly enjoyed every second of smoking and my friends would laugh because you would NEVER see me without a sweet tea and a cigarette in my hand. My cigarettes of choice were either the non-filtered Lucky Strikes or Camels, as I always thought the non-filters had a much better "throat hit," flavor, and were just "classic." I defended smoking more than anyone I knew. Even when my dad developed lung cancer after 50 years of smoking 3 packs a day, I would say "Well, I know of people who died of lung cancer who never smoked," or "I know of people who died of complications normally caused by alcohol who never drank," which is TRUE, and I wasn't making it up, so I believed very strongly in what I was saying. We all die eventually, so why not smoke away, right? That was my attitude for years. (For the record, my father was lucky enough to have the cancer found in it's earliest stages, so they removed half of his right lung and had to perform heart surgery as well. He is alive, but has severe COPD and it kills me to watch him run out of breath so easily.)
For me, the biggest reason to quit was because of the ridiculous smoking bans everywhere. I live in South Carolina, where it's not so bad, but I travel to New York and New Jersey every week for work, and every time I lit up, I felt like I was about to be fined or lectured by a stranger. My band played a show one night in Georgia and there was a sign on the front of the club that read "No smoking within 250 feet of building." 250 feet!? Obviously someone hated smoking enough to put that sign up, because there was a four lane highway exactly 250 feet in front of the entrance...hardy har, guys. On top of that, my girlfriend constantly told me I smelled like an ashtray. When I was single, my friends who didn't smoke would say "Doesn't it bother you to smell like smoke all the time?" and I would say "Who am I trying to impress?" Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a jerk who would light up around someone who honestly just couldn't handle cigarette smoke, I would always make an effort to distance myself enough from non-smokers to not be a problem, but after a while, it started to feel ridiculous. Long after it started to annoy me, I continued to smoke.
I purchased an electronic cigarette. That worked for a little while, but eventually, I was back on the real smokes. This happened several times on and off, as the electronic cigarettes just never satisfied me the same way a real one did. I even bought some of the really nice, expensive e-cigs, as they ARE much better than the cheap ones (if you've considered it, NEVER buy the cheap gas station disposables, those things are a complete waste of money.) Anyway...
So at this point, I feel like I'm out of options. The e-cigs don't cut it for me, I refuse to dip, and I've tried the nicotine gum, patch, lozenges. I don't want to try the pills because the side effects are terrible (quit smoking and develop depression or anger issues? No thanks.) I had quit as a new years resolution 4 years in a row, but always started back after a few days or weeks. At this point, I decided I would be a smoker for life. And sadly, I was okay with that. But then, I heard about this book.
I bought the book for around the price I would pay for 2 packs of my beloved Luckies and had no real belief that it would help me quit. If all the other options didn't work, why would a book? But it was worth a shot.

******The POINT of this review!*******
I got the book. I bought what I hoped were my "last" 2 packs of smokes (how many times have we all done that? Our "last" pack?) I got a pack of Lucky Strikes and a pack of Camel non-filters. Before I even started the book, I lit up. The main reason I even picked this book was because it said you could smoke while reading it. Go figure.
As I'm getting into the book, the ash tray is piling up and my hopes are running high. The more I read, the more I "get it." I start to realize things I never thought of. I start to realize that maybe I WASN'T enjoying the cigarettes the way I thought I was, that maybe they weren't truly relieving my stress, maybe it was all in my head as a smoker. Before I even finish the book, I feel like I'm on my way to being free. I can't begin to describe how he breaks it down because I've never heard anyone else explain it the way Allen Carr does. He doesn't try to "scare" you out of smoking, that doesn't work, or at least it never did for me. He doesn't try to convince you by telling you it's expensive and nasty, we all know that. He breaks down the psychology behind why we smoke and why we THINK we are loving every minute of it, why we defend it, why we are willing to go to the grave with it. One of my favorite parts was when he talked about how he had decided he would rather live the shorter, "sweeter" life of the smoker who enjoys his simple pleasures rather than the longer life of someone who doesn't smoke but doesn't get to have as much fun. It hit the nail on the head. If you are trying to quit, have tried and failed, or are simply thinking about giving it a shot, please buy this book. From a former smoker (I never thought I would call myself that) to anyone who reads this and smokes, I promise you, it feels so good to know you can be free. You might not even feel like you need to be "free" from anything, you may love every cigarette you smoke, but give this book a shot. I honestly believe with all my heart that this guy was a genius.
Now, I will get to my only disappointment with the book. I have to say, I was really, really bummed when I got done with the book and smoked my last cigarette, only to find out I couldn't thank Allen Carr myself. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago, and even as someone who had never even heard of the guy until a few days before buying the book, I was actually pretty sad when I found out. I will never get to thank the man who helped me get rid of this habit I "enjoyed" for so many years. To everyone who purchased the book and quit as easily as I did, congratulations! To those who may still struggle with it, keep trying, I PROMISE it's worth it!
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on August 3, 2015
I bought this book at the end of May 2015 and read it while on a 4 week vacation. The book advised to choose carefully when to quit smoking but I figured I would try even though I was on a road trip, thinking that I have tried everything under the sun to quit smoking for the past 50 years. I really wasn't even looking to quit smoking at this time but while talking to my daughter she said that 3 of her friends quit by reading this book and they said it was the easiest thing ever. So I figured nothing to lose, the worse thing was I would have tried once again and add it to aversion therapy, wellbutrin, hypnosis, cold turkey, acupuncture , gum, cancer society program,etc. I smoked a pack - two packs a day since the age of 12. For the last year I could not walk across the room without my heart racing out of my chest. I could not breath for anything. No gardening, no walking, no mowing the grass, going to the lake, painting a room, etc. I couldn't do anything I loved anymore. On my road trip I secretly figured I was heading to Arizona to say goodbye to my daughter and grandson. I really thought I tipped my health scale and there was no turning my body back.
I heard that quitting cigarettes was harder than quitting heroin. No it isn't. QUITTING SMOKING IS EASY.! This method works. As hokey as this book sounds and is written. It really does work. I know I have quit smoking for good. I have even had an extremely upsetting deep emotional loss of a close family member and didn't even ever want a cigarette. Seriously it is like I never smoked before.
Also, almost immediately (within a week) my health was back to normal. I can once again, mow my 1/3 acre lawn with my walk behind mower and still do other things afterwards. I cannot believe it. No more racing heart, no more no breath, no more clearing my throat, not more coughing and rasping sound. It is truly unbelievable and mainly why I am writing this review. To gain quality health at 62 is better than great.
I say if you are going to try one more thing try this. Like me you will have nothing to lose (except an enemy).
Good Luck to everyone!
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on December 14, 2005
I was very sceptical of this book, but read it after two of my friends read it and quit. I can tell you right now -it works. You quit without any cravings, any pain, any weight gain.

There is no sensationalism -nothing about lung cancer, strokes and the usual fear tactics used to try and stop people from smoking (hey -they don't work anyway!).

By the end of this book, something inside you will have shifted, you will throw away your cigarettes without a backwards glance -free at last, forever.
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on March 22, 2012
I used this book to quit smoking over a year ago, but decided to wait before writing a review. A review after a full year is much more likely to convince someone than a review from someone who has only quit for a day or two, after all.

I bought this book after reading that the comedian Michael McIntyre had use it to quit when he was the same age as me. So I thought I'd give it a try. To be honest I was skeptical about the whole thing and didn't expect much to happen - perhaps I would just use the book to entertain the idea of giving up smoking, even if I didn't actually do it.

And here's the thing - I wasn't even particularly desperate to give up smoking. I for the most part enjoyed the rituals of smoking. The only times I questioned it were when I felt pangs of embarrassment if someone stood close to me on the train - can they smell the smoke or not? But even this was only of mild "I know I shouldn't, hahaha" concern. So my nine year pack a day habit was, except for the occasional niggle that I wasn't doing anything to help my health, something I just believed to be part of me. Something that wouldn't go away and maybe didn't even need to. The book would just be an interesting experiment. That was my mindset when I began the book.

So when I found myself becoming excited at the prospect of giving up, I was more surprised than anything. How did that happen?

Carr breaks down every excuse you might have for smoking and simply tells you why it really is pointless. And lo and behold, you start to believe it. This book is written by a smoker and KNOWS your smoker's mind better than you even know it yourself. It doesn't bombard you with statistics and admonish you, it just tells you how and why you're not looking at things clearly. The most important thing it does is it makes you ANALYSE YOUR OWN PATTERNS. Your physical automatic behaviour and also your own psychology. When we light up in the morning with our coffee, what are we feeling? Are we even thinking about what we're doing? Did we consciously decided to smoke at that moment? Whatever the answer, I found myself observing my own smoking (and the smoking of those around me) with not just increasing disdain but pity. Pity that they haven't "woken up" yet, while the book was gradually enabling me to.

The most important message I learned was that we are not "giving up" anything - to give up means to sacrifice, or lose something. What do we lose from not smoking? Nothing. There are only gains. There is no need for the word "willpower" at all either - it is EASY to end something that you are learning to hate.

I found myself looking forward to getting to the end of the book so that I could quit faster. I was smoking constantly while reading it, and in the final chapters I was stubbing cigarettes out after only one or two puffs. Your revulsion for smoking grows as you read. I stayed up until 5:30am reading, I was so impatient to become a nonsmoker.

I smoked my final cigarette in the early hours of March 7, 2011.

That's it. I am very grateful for this book.

And another thing - I live in Japan, where there is still an ashtray on almost every table. If you can give up here, then you can give up anywhere!
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on July 5, 2013
Until recently, I was one of those hard-core smokers that Allen Carr used to describe himself as. I bought Allen's book last month (Ellen DeGeneres and Sir Anthony Hopkins convinced me) and it is definitely a labor of love. He was honest and forthright from his perspective and you can tell he's genuinely out to help people first. I think he really, really believes what he says, and a lot of people can and have experienced quitting precisely the way he did. But I didn't.

He actually had me weeping at a few points in his book, particularly when he talked about how ass-backward the government and medical profession are about the way they approach profoundly-addicted smokers (trying to scare us into quitting, pulleeeze)... about how American culture addicted its smokers then turned on them the way the pilgrim Puritans went after "so-called" witches, harlots, and (dramatic pause) sinners... about the hypocrisy out there that punitively judges and banishes addicts into the shadows - from smokers to drunks to overeaters. Yes, I agree with him. Our cultures in America and Europe have tried to shame us, scare us, overcharge us, and socially exile us into quitting. And despite the fact that none of those strategies work, they continue to act as if they do, while we die in gruesome ways by the thousands every day and the nonsmokers blame us for their screwing up their health care premiums.

Despite the sad state we are in... smokers for being caught in the grip of a life-threatening addiction... and nonsmokers for looking down their holier-than-thou noses at people who are suffering in ways they couldn't possibly imagine... the truth is that cigarette smoking is a customized addiction. And that's what makes it such a monster. Every person who gets caught in the smoking web does so by customizing how they use the drug to cope with their idiomatic version of psychosocial pain. And that means that the only way out of the web is for the smoker to find his or her customized quitting treasure map. The medical and helping professions have not yet acknowledged this fact and are still promoting one size fits all quitting strategies. If you don't believe me, try calling a quitter's hotline sometime and chat with a coach for a while.

Unfortunately, Allen Carr is doing that 'one-size fits all' thing too. Don't get me wrong. His strategy gets RESULTS for a much higher percentage of people than all the other known strategies. He is hitting the greater majority jackpot. But a little digging into the fine print of a few research studies will reveal that his "EasyWay" numbers are grossly inflated. One particular UK study explained the reason that only 5% of people asked for their money-back guarantee on his seminars. That was because a vastly higher number than 5% fail to quit smoking but feel like it was their fault that they didn't quit, not the fault of the program. So they don't ask for their money back. Thus they never report (or are asked) if they quit or if they are actively smoking again. You are being misled when the claim is made that 85% of people who engage Carr's EasyWay products quit and are sublimely happy during and forever after the quit date. I forgive Allen Carr that marketing ploy because I am convinced he really cares about helping as many addicted smokers as he can. This is how consultants squander and deform perfectly beautiful missions in search of your almighty dollar (or other currency).

I read Allen Carr's book and I quit smoking but there is no DIRECT cause-effect relationship between the two. There's an infinite number of INDIRECT causes though. I have been smoking for 50 years and trying to quit every year for the last 20. I have quit multiple times, hours at a time, days at a time, months at a time, only to smoke again during or after a rough crisis. I have used every nicotine quit product available, every Rx available except Chantix since I have a history of two nervous breakdowns while trying to quit addictions. I have experienced hypnosis, EMDR, NLP, tapping, acupuncture, Reiki, herbal concoctions, you name it. I am signed up on five quit smoking websites.

I've got a huge amount of experience going for me here and decades of failure. Be careful not to let anyone convince you that failures are a good thing and will eventually lead to your success as a quitter. Put their statements to the self-examination test. You might decide that failures might indeed be good for you, like building those failure muscles in the gym of life. Then again, that precept might be total ca-ca, like it was for me. Failures made me way more afraid that I wouldn't succeed next time I quit. Finally I had to go to therapy to fix my darned fear of failure before I could even attempt to quit smoking again.

Allen Carr absolutely convinced me that cold turkey is the only way to go. It was the only method I hadn't tried yet (at least beyond the first 4 hours). I took his theory about addiction, flat out filthy addiction, to the bank. I convinced myself that being free was a strong enough motive to make the pain go away, to make quitting easy and happy as Allen promises. Spoiler: beware the crap about 72 hours and the nicotine is out of your system. It might not register on a blood draw but I'll guarantee you that the nicotine receptors in my brain were screaming so loud at 85 and 100 hours that I was on my stomach, crying like a baby. By Day 4, I had to have two really trusted friends with me at all times. It was strait-jacket, bouncing off padded walls day. I actually had to fend off suicidal thoughts that afternoon. I had a really great support team, thank God.

I'm clean a week now. It's way better than it was a few days ago. It's no picnic though and I figure I'll be on the white knuckle tight wire for at least 300 to 400 days yet. But somehow Allen Carr's promise that this would be easy didn't work for me. His whole schtick felt a bit too Disney-fied for me but I sure prayed I could have the Cinderella miracle he swore was possible. I suppose the reason why Allen didn't work for me is the same reason every hypnotherapist I've ever seen grumbles under his breath when I keep coming back because the hypnotism simply doesn't work. I hear Stanford experts are close to figuring out why a minority of humans like me have brains that are not wired to accept "suggestibility."

Buy Allen's book. He was honest. He cared deeply about helping smokers set themselves free. He was a gift to humanity and spent his life admirably. He wanted you to quit smoking. He wanted you to be happy. He wanted you to feel free. When he finally achieved those things, he wanted to share them. I say, receive them graciously. And use them in the best way you can to help yourself. If you're one of those who can quit painlessly, you are an incredibly lucky person. YAY! If you're more like me, you'll be better prepared to quit because of Allen's hard-earned wisdom. It's still going to hurt like a sonuvagun for a really long time but all you can do is keep quitting one craving at a time, using the strategies you have experimented with along the way. Thank you Allen, and everyone else I have read or talked with the last 20 years about my smoking. Every one of you gives me a little something that goes into my customized basket of quit goodies and one of these days I'll wake up and realize I finally got there. Couldn't have done it without you!
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