I’m assuming you’re here for one of two reasons. Either you are trying to stop smoking and want help with cigarette cravings, or you have been to see me and want a reminder of the cigarette craving removal process we used at the beginning of our session. This page is aimed at helping people in both such instances, so forgive me if I’m repeating information I already gave you during our stop smoking session.
When I book a client in to stop smoking I ask them to bring 3 things with them to the session, one of which is the biggest cigarette craving they can handle. I get them to create this craving by stopping smoking 24 hours before our appointment; as I’m sure you can imagine, this usually does the trick!
The reason I do this is because one of the first things I will do with them when they arrive is to run through a simple process that will get rid of that cigarette craving in a matter of just a few minutes or less. Sceptical? I welcome your scepticism with open arms, because when you arrive sceptical of a process and it still works then you know that I’m serious about what I say and that I can back it up with action.
And if it doesn’t disappear? Then you’re welcome to get up and leave. You won’t owe me a penny, and it will have cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time to come and find out. (HINT: Nobody ever leaves)
With this process out of the way, we are set up for a great session. The client is already 24 hours into the process of finally getting rid of cigarettes, permanently, and they have a great mindset knowing for sure that they don’t have to have a single cigarette craving or withdrawal symptom.
It’s often a lovely surprise for them that 24 hours since their last cigarette they actually don’t want one!
The Cigarette Craving Removal Process
I’m going to give you a series of instructions. After the instructions, I’ll explain the principles behind the process, but don’t worry about the why for now.
The first time you do this it’s probably a good idea to get someone to read these instructions to you, because the first instruction is to close your eyes, after which point you can’t read the page! It’s actually totally reasonable to just read through yourself, understand the principles of how this works (next section) and improvise your own version, but it does take a bit more effort until you know what you’re doing.
- Close your eyes and imagine as if that cigarette craving is an object in front of you.
- Show me with your hands, how big that object is. (Even if you do this on your own, physically move your hands to indicate the edges of the object)
- If you could assign a colour to it, what colour would it be? What colour would happy and no worries be?
- If you were to pick it up, would it be heavy or light?
- What shape is it? (Round? square? triangle? Something else?)
- Is it solid or transparent?
- Is the surface of it rough or smooth?
- Is the surface warm or cold?
- If you were to knock on it, what sound would it make?
- Does it have a smell or a taste?
- What would happen if you threw it at the ground?
- Take the object and put it in some kind of strong box or container. It can be a safe, a packing crate, a shipping container, anything you like that you know is secure and big enough to hold that object.
- Close the lid or door and let me know when that thing is shut inside.
- Now seal the box shut. You can lock it, glue it, tie it, chain it, weld it, whatever you like, use your imagination. Just make sure that box is sealed and nothing can get in or out.
- Take the box and get rid of it. You can fire it off in a rocket, drop it out at sea, blow it up with dynamite, anything you like, but make sure that thing is really gone. Include as much sensory information as possible, so if you blow it up feel the ground shake, hear the boom, smell the gunpowder.
- When you have done this open your eyes.
- Now, try to find that feeling.
*Note: There are no wrong answers. I want you to get a sense of these properties if the object has them.
If the cigarette craving is gone then this is the end of the process. If the feeling is just reduced in size, cycle through the exercise again and do it as many times as needed to get rid of it.
It’s not unusual for the cigarette craving to completely evaporate on the first attempt, and it is fairly unusual to need more than three cycles through.
If you’re here because you initially came for a session with me I will have given you cards with this process printed on them. You will have noticed (because I will have pointed it out!) that the instructions on the card are slightly different than what we actually did. If we cycled through it more than once you will have noticed that each run through was also slightly different (also because I pointed it out!).
That’s because the above instructions are not a script, or a magic spell; they are simply an application of a psychological principle.
Feelings are a lot like smoke; when you try to grab hold of them they move about and slip through your fingers. When you say to your subconscious mind, “I don’t want to feel like this”, your subconscious will shrug and say, “that’s nice, what do expect from me?” However, the subconscious mind loves metaphors and stories. So this process creates a metaphor for your subconscious to grab hold of and work with.
Everyone has one sense that they rely on more than others. Some people will be more visual, some will be more kinesthetic, some will be more auditory. A few may be olfactory dominant (smell) and a few gustatory dominant (taste). So this process incorporates as many different pieces of sensory information as possible to cover as many people as possible.
Using this process, we create an object that represents our unwanted cigarette craving, we put as much sensory information in as possible, we take control of that object but shutting it away, and then we get rid of it.
When you speak to the subconscious mind in this way, instead of shrugging, it says, “OK Boss! leave it to me!”, and it gets to work.
It’s worth noting that this process actually works for any feeling you would like to remove including anxieties, fears, phobias and anything else, so it’s useful for much more than getting rid of cigarette cravings. It’s not a substitute for seeing a therapist, but it really can help manage unwanted feelings on a case by case basis.
Hopefully this has been useful to you. Feel free to comment below or to send me feedback about it, and if you are ready to stop smoking please consider working with me, The Stop Smoking Man. Call me on 07967 473 691