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!