Everyone who has ever quit and relapsed did it the same way–they took a puff. The vast majority of them took that puff because they just thought they could and “get away with it.” Get away meant they were only going to have one or smoke for a limited time or just smoke a controlled amount. These are all the same mistake, they let go of the concept of addiction.
I am going to attach two pieces here that I use for my clinics. The first section is a small part of a hand-out I give them the first day, the second piece is the promotional piece for the clinics. You will see from the very start of the clinic, or even from the very first contact I have with people, I want people to recognize what they are dealing with when quitting smoking.
First, here is the excerpt from the introductory session letter:
The purpose of this program is to get you to the point where you have a choice about smoking. By the end of the two weeks one of two options will exist for you. These are:
1. If you decide you like not smoking, you will have the choice of staying off cigarettes for as long as you wish. It may be you will stay off the rest of your life, if this is what you desire.
2. If you decide you hate not smoking, and life is just too miserable without cigarettes, you will have the choice to go back to smoking at your old level, or maybe even higher.
Those are the options. Smoke nothing or smoke everything. But let’s make something else perfectly clear.
There is no in-between choice. Smoking is now and always will be an all or nothing proposition. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can have just one cigarette or just one puff. You can have a puff anytime you want, you just have to be willing to take the other 20, 40, 60 or more cigarettes a day that goes with that puff! You must also be willing to accept all the consequences which accompany being a smoker!
This is a one day at a time program. Every day we will ask you if you made it all day without smoking. Answer “yes” if you had no puffs on a cigarette, cigar, pipe, nicotine gum, snuff, chewing tobacco, patches or any other creative ways you have of administering nicotine into your body. Answering “no” means you took some nicotine and you are out of the clinic. There is no difference between one puff or a thousand cigarettes. Once you take the puff feel free to take all the cigarettes that day you wish. We don’t need to know specifics and there is no need to call with excuses. In fact, there are only two legitimate reasons for taking a puff:
You decide you want to go back to smoking until it cripples then kills you; or, you enjoy withdrawal so much you never want it to end. Just take one puff every third day, peak withdrawal will last forever.
One final note, if you see somebody smoking a cigarette tomorrow and you are tempted to ask him for one-don’t. Rather ask him for his pack. Or, better yet, ask him for his carton, and if he would be kind enough to go out and buy you a case, you would appreciate that, too. Then be prepared to smoke them all. If you still want them under these terms, then take them. Otherwise, be on your way. When we see you at the next session and we ask if you made it all day, you can proudly proclaim-Yes! Good luck in your next day without smoking.