smoking to relax

Smoking to relax

I had another interesting client today. This was another smoker who just can not give up. His story was that he was smoking to relax. He doesn't smoke a lot, five to fifteen a day, but must have his cigarette at various times of the day. He smokes on the walk between the train and his work, then at break times, at lunchtime and on the walk back to the train. But he does not smoke in the house. The reason he gave was that smoking was his time to himself. I have heard this many times and never paid much attention to it.

Smoking to relax?

However I couldn't find any reason why this man was smoking.  I will not go on with hypnosis until I know why they smoke, or I get a way into their world that I can use. This man said that he gave up once for a week, when he went on a camping holiday in Scotland on his own. He stopped for the whole week and never gave it a thought until he returned home. And immediately lit up again. He also said that he gave up when he came to this country for a job interview and spent three days in a hotel preparing and actually forgot that he smoked. He does not normally smoke as a response to stress at work, and if he is really busy will forget to smoke all day. Not smoking on a plane for ten hours doesn't bother him either.

I have a theory that you always have to examine the other side of the coin, what people are not doing, as well as what they are doing. I asked him what it was that he needed time to himself for. He said he had responsibility for his family and always worried about them. I pointed out that this could not be true when he started smoking. We pursued this idea of what it was that he was trying to avoid. I asked how he got on with his parents and siblings. He said he never got on with his dad. Then I dug into that and discovered that his father had divorced from his mother when the client was thirteen years old. He also said that he was afraid of his father. And that put the whole thing into perspective.

Reason for smoking

As a boy he felt he had to defend his mother in her time of need, and look after her, but he was not prepared for it at that age. He also knew that he could not in fact deal with his father and protect her, so he had he classic childhood trap. He had to do something but was prevented from doing it. This set up a life long anxiety. The only time he got away from it was when he had a smoke. It started with being with his friends as a teenager, and carried on. The reason he gave up in Scotland was because he was totally on his own and no one was relying on him for anything. So he had no anxiety, and no need for time out, so no need to smoke.

Knowing this I knew how to tackle his smoking - remove the source of the anxiety.

I did that and he is now a non-smoker for life.

I felt that this case has given me an important insight into the motivation of a lot of smokers.

David Mason

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