I Quit!

Eight years ago today, I smoked my last cigarette before heading to my appointment with a hypnotherapist.

It was time.

When I’d called to make the appointment, she assessed my readiness to quit smoking with a few questions and then agreed to schedule me for two sessions. Hypnosis can’t make you do something you don’t want to do; your outcome depends heavily on your mind set.  I had an unopened pack of Marlboro Lights in my purse, just in case. I didn’t know what to expect.

Marie was a very nice lady with a calm demeanor; as an introduction, she detailed her background as a registered nurse and the path she took to become a hypnotherapist. We had a nice chat, and she explained that while we spoke, she’d be taking notes to use during my session. She asked me why I wanted to quit, what my expectations were, and what I thought the greatest benefit of quitting would be. I told her that my impetus for quitting was my children – I didn’t want them to grow up seeing me smoke and thinking it was a normal thing to do. Most importantly, I wanted to be healthy for them, to be there as they grew up.

She asked if I had any special requests, and I did: the previous times I had tried to quit, I had found that the smell of cigarette smoke made me want to light one up, myself. I asked her if she could make it so that I could tolerate the smoke without craving the cigarette, as I had friends and neighbors who smoked. She cautioned that it might be a difficult task to pull off, but she would try.

I lay back in the recliner and closed my eyes, focusing on her voice. Soon the outside noises faded away and I felt at peace. Contrary to popular belief, I was not asleep; I was completely awake, yet completely relaxed. Her words were soothing and pleasant; I remember that more than what she actually said that day. I do remember, though, that she asked me to visualize myself a year from that day, both as a smoker and also as a non-smoker, and to describe how I felt in each incarnation. She had my ‘future self’ talk to my ‘present self’ to encourage me to choose well.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was alert, sitting up, and feeling refreshed. She asked me how I felt, and I realized that I felt terrific! She asked if I had any idea how long I’d been there with her, and I said, “I don’t know – an hour?” I was shocked to find out I had been there close to three hours!


I asked if we were all done, and she said we were. I reached into my purse to get my checkbook and found an unopened pack of Marlboro Light cigarettes. I was sincerely puzzled – What are these doing here? I don’t smoke! It was as if someone had flipped a switch – I was a non-smoker now. I asked if she’d throw them away for me, and she laughed and said, ‘sure.’

I drove home, still feeling great. When I got there, my neighbor, who had been watching my kids, motioned for me to join her out on the porch for a cigarette so she could tell me how the boys had behaved while I was away. I said, ‘I’ll join you, but not to smoke.’  I sat across from her at a table on the porch, but the cigarette smoke didn’t bother me one bit.  I couldn’t believe it. Success!

The boys asked me where I had been; I reminded them that I had been at an appointment so I could quit smoking. Number One Son asked, ‘Did you quit?’  I said, ‘Yes.’  He burst into grateful tears and hugged me tight.  Number Young Son told everyone he saw that his mom had quit smoking, from the bus driver to the lady at the grocery store.  When I found a partially-opened pack of cigarettes in the house, I offered to let the boys throw them away for me. They happily obliged, destroying the pack and everything in it. They hated cigarettes and were glad to see them gone.

It has been eight whole years since that day.  I have never had a craving, and I have never cheated. It was painless, and my kids have told me they no longer remember when I smoked. I did go back for my follow up appointment, but it was only to reaffirm that I was a non-smoker now. For a while, I kept track of the money I was saving by not buying cigarettes, and it was amazing to see how much money I had literally burned in my years of smoking. When I quit, cigarettes cost about $5.00 to $5.50 per pack, and I smoked about one and a half packs a day. It sure adds up.

Quitting smoking is the best thing I have ever done for myself and my family. My clothes, hair, car, and breath no longer smell like cigarettes; I no longer rush out of a movie or restaurant to huddle in the corner and smoke; I no longer panic when I’m down to the last couple of cigarettes in the pack and scrounge for change to buy more; or worse, pick through my cigarette butts for something I could smoke. I don’t worry about crushed packs, broken cigarettes, or no-smoking signs. I don’t wake up with a hacking cough every morning, and I don’t get every cold that goes around anymore.  I don’t miss holding someone else up because I had to ‘finish my smoke.’

I don’t like to preach; I never liked being preached at.  Yes, I would love for all of my smoking friends and family members to quit, but they, like me, must do it for themselves.

All I can do is support them when they decide to take that step.



photo credit justj0000lie

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Aging like a fine wine. ;-)

10 thoughts on “I Quit!”

  1. Wow, I’ve often wondered if I should go to a hypotist but the initial expense throws me off — until a few years go by & I realize I could have paid it back in many, many packs! I just might make the plunge now — thanks for your enlightening post. 😉

    1. Thank you for the comment! I’m glad to give you some inspiration.
      Marie apologized because right before I’d called to set up my appointment, she had raised her rates. I paid $100 for my session, which was the equivalent of two cartons at the time. I could have gone through 20 packs of cigarettes in 2 weeks, easily. So it paid for itself in no time at all. Totally worth the money.
      Now, my sister-in-law did the hypnosis folks you hear commercials for on the radio. She paid hundreds of dollars, I believe, for some group sessions and a tape/cd to listen to at home. Last I heard, she was mostly quit and only smoked when she was drinking. I don’t know if that is still true. Even if she doesn’t quit entirely, the reduction is better for her lungs as well as her pocketbook.
      For me, it was immediate. One session was all it took. I was shocked to see a pack of cigarettes in my purse — it really was a total change, and I was instantly a non-smoker. Not an ex-smoker — the difference being that a former smoker might fall back into the old habit. Non-smokers are not interested in smoking at all. That’s how I see it, anyway.
      Talk to people who have done it. That’s how I got interested. My friend who encouraged me to try it has since gone back to his habit, but I think he’s still trying to get to an end point.
      I taught my sons that if they could just get through school without smoking, they would probably stay smoke-free their entire lives.
      I explained to them how most people get hooked as kids, when they’re too young to realize and truly understand risk. The companies like to get them hooked and keep them loyal to their brand for life. Thank the Lord, both boys have made it through school without smoking. I kept telling them they were too smart to start, and thankfully, they were.
      For my smoking friends who have young children, I would tell them to picture their kid with a cigarette in his/her mouth; that is precisely why I wanted to quit. Kids learn what they see.
      Good luck to you, Vanessa! It is a totally worthwhile endeavor. You reap nothing but rewards — more money and better health, just to start!

    1. Thank you, Christi, for the kind words!
      I am a true believer in hypnosis. The mind is a magnificent instrument, and Marie explained to me that we ‘hypnotize’ ourselves every day with our self talk — when we talk ourselves into that pizza because it sure looked good on tv, or when we tell ourselves that we hate our jiggly arms and dishwater dull hair, or when we justify something to ourselves.
      If we can turn that talk into something beneficial, more power to us, right?
      I have seen it succeed and I have lived it — it is painless and it works. I think the key is to know where your head is.

      1. The Bearded One (Keith) quit smoking years ago for the same reason you did…he didn’t want to smoke around the kids as he became their stepdad. Self-talk is powerful stuff, I so agree. I love reading about how you did this amazing thing for yourself via head talk.

    1. Hello, my friend! Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment!
      I tell my story all the time, but usually just parts of it. To me, it is a wonderful story that changed my life, and I will always be glad that I called her that day. I am still just amazed that I have no shred of desire for a cigarette. Ever.
      Life is good.

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