I spent an hour or so today talking with a three pack-a-day smoker who once met an ex-user who told him that he succeeded by cutting down the number of cigarettes he smoked by one each week, until getting down to just one, where he remained for a number of months. He informed me that this was what he'd been doing since last year and that he was now down to just 17 cigarettes per day. Taking his sweet time about things, I could see in his face the addict's dream of being able to smoke just once daily and staying there for a long long time.
The smoker looked to be in his late 50s and Joel's gradual withdrawal article immediately came to mind. Repeatedly, it was as if he wanted me to acknowledge that he'd accomplished some great task while still sucking down 17 cigarettes a day. Normally I would not have done anything to discourage a quitting attempt, regardless of the method. But this smoker had not yet quit. And under his one per week withdrawal plan, he planned on smoking for months to come. I weighed the pros and cons and after arriving home the first thing I did was send him a copy of this article.
I don't know if the person who shared this idea with him was friend or foe but do know that within 72 hours he could reside inside a nicotine free body, and have reached peak withdrawal. I also know that so long as all nicotine remains on the outside that it is impossible to relapse and he gets a 100% guarantee of success.
The primary message I tried to leave him with was the Law of Addiction
, that just one puff and up to half of his brain's dopamine pathway receptors would quickly become occupied by nicotine, that while likely that he would walk away from relapse feeling like he'd gotten away with it, that he would soon discover his brain wanting for more. I felt he was showing interest in getting serious after our time together but take comfort in the fact that he now knows how to break free. There was always only one rule ... none today!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
John (Gold x11)