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Cravings? Just Breathe….

I don’t believe in cravings.

Yup. You read that right. I simply don’t.

What kind of a smoker would say that, I hear you cry?

The kind who has seen through the lies and deceits perpetrated on his poor brain by that most devious of opponents.

The Nicotine Brigade.

It took me thirty years to work it out. To slip free of their bonds just long enough to realize, with joyous clarity, that the whole process of smoking was a con trick.

From the very start. Beginning with the very first cigarette

THAT was when the seeds of doubt were planted in my unsuspecting mind. The idea that I couldn’t live without nicotine.

And the illusion of cravings if I didn’t light up.

I say illusion, because that is precisely what it is. And, as every stage magician knows, the secret to the trick is DIVERSION.

When you quit smoking – even for a few hours – you begin to deprive the Nicotine Brigade of their greatest asset.

Replacement troops.

And the physical feeling you experience – a kind of mild discomfort, a feeling of want, nothing more – is really THEIR discomfort as their influence over you begins to wane. So, they try to divert your consciousness away from their plight. They send existing, fast declining molecules around your body in a last gasp effort, (quite literally), to distract your resolve long enough to light up, inhale, and replenish their strength, and their hold over you.

The trick is to recognize this distraction for exactly what it is. We may call it a craving – our brain may, momentarily, be fooled into believing it actually IS a craving, but it isn’t.

It’s a sign that they are losing. A sign that they are dying.

It’s a good thing!

Embrace the feeling! Like any illusion, it only lasts for seconds. As it happens, use the rule of three.

Breathe in slowly for three seconds. Hold your breath for three seconds. Then exhale for three seconds, while at the same time imagining – no – feeling them being ejected, unceremoniously, from your body and soul.



Seven Years Today!

Seven years today, seven years today, I quit, I quit, I quit!

I was sitting on my back door step, dressed as D’Arcy, (it’s a long story, I’m an entertainer, it was post-show, you had to be there). It was snowing. I was realizing that hosiery on stone was not the best option in the snow, when I suddenly knew.

This was it.

Last cigarette.

It wasn’t a Damascene moment. I wasn’t in the desert, there were no asses (except me), and no blinding light. I was on the ice, in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales,  and the hoar frost on my breath was matched only by the smoke.

And I simply thought:

Enough. That’s enough.

I took a long look at that cigarette butt, wept a little, and buried it in my garden.

In my book, I speak of aggressive self pacifism. The ability not to go to war with oneself. To not make quitting a struggle.

To walk away from smoking, you need to walk away from willpower.

Even when you are dressed as an eighteenth century fop………..

Let The Festivities Commence!

Yes. It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving. Peace and goodwill. Etc, etc. Cripes, I need a cigarette just THINKING about such enforced bonhomie.

Having to smile at Uncle Nerdie as he does his fart gag for what seems like the fiftieth time. Oh, that’s right, it IS the fiftieth time. Consoling poor Aunt Madge, whose doleful countenance only darkens as the jollity intensifies, until, after a vatful of egg nog, she pounds violently on the table with her fist, upsets the cutlery (and baby Henry, who instantly emits a startling variety of yells and smells), and storms dramatically from the room, screaming: “Never mention that man’s name again”!

Not to mention Grandma, who seems to have passed on in the corner and joined the heavenly choir invisible, until you realize she is still with us when she jabs you with her cane and hisses: ” Hey, cheapskate, I hate those slippers you bought me, I hope you kept the receipt ‘coz they are going back to the store Monday”.

And you want me to quit smoking NOW? Are you insane?

Truth is, God willing, Uncle Nerdie, Aunt Madge, and yes, even Grandma will still be there next year. But if you carry on smoking, you may not be. And to be honest, the gags will still be just as crap whether you have a cigarette or not.

Moral of the story? The presence of the cigarette doesn’t change anything whatsoever. Keep it there, and you won’t improve the situation. In reality, each little puff on that tube makes the situation worse. It makes you more tense, less tolerant, and less healthy, because the Nicotine Brigade are con-artists, deceiving you into thinking you are more relaxed, when each smoke winds you up like a clock. Let’s face it.  It makes you smell worse than baby Henry’s diaper. It will never, ever make that fart gag funny. It almost certainly will improve your chances of being  around next year.

So maybe now is EXACTLY the right time to quit………

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