Tag Archives: Smoking

How do I help someone with addiction?

One of the most frustrating things on earth is watching someone you love throw their life away on an addiction.

It seems like nothing you say or do gets through to them. In fact the more you try to help them, the deeper they seem to sink into their addiction.

Sometimes that’s just annoying. Other times it’s a life and death situation.

If someone is addicted to coffee, you may not approve, but the chance are they’ll be ok. If they’re addicted to smoking, it may well be killing them, but it’s happening slowly and it may or may not affect them. If they’re addicted to alcohol, illegal or legal drugs they could be in more imminent danger. If they’re addicted to starving themselves, you may be watching them die.

Yet, despite this they don’t seem to be able to get their heads around the damage that they are doing to themselves. It’s as though the connections between what they ‘know’ is happening and the consequences to them are entirely gone.

I know this from personal experience.

I was a smoker for 17 years. I started when I was 21 (entirely old enough to know better) and quit 5 years ago. I can remember people saying to me “you know it’s bad for you right?” as though I was a moron or lived under a rock or something. People on the street would come up to me and say things like “It’ll stunt your growth you know”. I think they thought that was funny as I’m 6ft tall and a grown ass woman. My mum (an ex smoker) hated the fact I smoked and would ask me repeatedly to quit.

None of that made any difference.

It wasn’t about education either. As I said, I started smoking when I was 21. I was working as a microbiologist in Liverpool having been to University studying Biochemistry. I knew what smoking did to a body. I knew what it ‘could’ do to me. The thing was, it didn’t really do anything nasty at first. It was just a laugh with mates when we were out drinking. By the time I’d developed a smokers cough, I was already well into the addicted part.

So what made me try to quit? For me it was my best friend. I was complaining to her about people moaning at me about smoking and she said “So, are you just going to smoke until you die?” That was it. No attitude, no lecture, just a question. A question I had to think about. As I thought about it over the next couple of weeks I realised I didn’t want to die a smoker. I could visualise what my old woman self would look like smoking and coughing, wheezing along, maybe with an oxygen tank….and it horrified me. So then I had to think, well if I don’t want to die smoking, I’m going to have to quit at some point. Why not now? I mean it’s not like it’s going to get any easier?

Here’s my advice.

Don’t

  1. Don’t Nag – it’s annoying and it just makes people dig their heals in.
  2. Don’t lecture – it just makes the person being lectured at think up opposite arguments, which then helps to persuade them that what they’re doing is OK
  3. Don’t promise rewards for abstinence – study after study has shown that offering rewards convinces the psyche that it must mean that thing they are being asked to do is difficult.

Do

  1. Model the behaviour you want them to adopt. If you have someone in your life who is drinking too much, don’t drink around them. Don’t make a thing of it, just don’t do it. If you do what you are asking them not to, it just normalizes it for them and they think you’re an idiot.
  2. Spend time with them. Show them they are loved and worth loving. One of the main reasons people self harm (and addiction IS a form of self harm) is because they don’t like themselves very much
  3. Do fun stuff that distracts from their addiction. The more good stuff they have going on in their lives, the less room there is for bad stuff.
  4. Ask questions. Get them to think about what they are doing, in their own time, in their own way
  5. Be prepared for the fact that you may never get through to them. Ultimately you have to accept that it’s their life to live.

One final note – don’t forget to look after yourself. Don’t get obsessed with their addiction. It won’t help you or them. Take care of yourself and model healthy, social behaviour. It’s more powerful than you know.


If you or someone you know has an issue with addiction, get help. You do not have to deal with this on your own. There are plenty of support groups online and in person. There are also thousands of professionals out there who can help you.

Good luck on your journey

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Am I addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you are an addict? Chances are that you probably have some form of addiction or another. If you smoke, drink daily, can’t start the morning without a coffee or end dinner without dessert then you may have an addiction.

An addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

So let’s think about that for a moment. We know smoking is harmful to us so it’s easy to see that as an addiction, but other things are sometimes more difficult to see that way. Did you know that you should go at least 3 days a week without drinking any alcohol in order for your liver to recover? So drinking alcohol every day is damaging, even if it’s only a small glass of wine with dinner. If the idea of giving up booze for three days a week is uncomfortable – you have an addiction.

How about sugar? We know that too much sugar in our diet causes obesity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Still fancy a doughnut? Then you, my friend, are addicted!

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction? Looking back at the definition, no there isn’t, but it’s not quite that simple.

Some people go to the gym every day. Exercising is good for us right? Yes, of course it is, but exercising every day is not. Your body needs time to recover and heal from exercise too. If you can’t have a rest day, you have an addiction. If you are exercising against doctors orders, you have an addiction. if you are exercising when you are unwell, you have an addiction. If you are exercising on an injury ….you guessed it.

How about a healthy diet. If you read my blog regularly you will now that I am always banging on about eating healthily. Veggies are good for you, nutrient rich food is important, eat you fibre blah blah blah. But if you are out with friends and can’t order off the menu because there’s nothing on it you can eat (and you don’t have specific allergies related to the foods) then you may have a type of addiction. It’s known as orthorexia, and it’s where people restrict their food choices in an unhealthy way.

Addiction is everywhere. I would suggest a few things.

First – Recognise your own addictions. If you don’t know you have them it’s very difficult to do something about them. Look at your day in a critical way and ask yourself is there any part of it that you would be unhappy if you couldn’t do. Then ask yourself – is that a healthy habit?

Second – ask those you love, and who love you, for their input. You may be surprised that they come up with things you may never have thought of. Things like excessive personal hygiene, excessive cleaning, watching too much porn and gaming often come up from other people.

Third – Try to change your routine to cut out your addiction.

Finally – Remember PEOPLE QUIT STUFF THEY ARE ADDICTED TO ALL THE TIME. Let that sink in for a moment. Just because you are addicted now, does not mean that you have to stay addicted. Yes it will feel uncomfortable. Yes it will be tricky and Yes, you CAN do it.

If people can quit heroin, you can quit smoking. If people can quit crack cocaine, you can quit sugar. I know you like it – they probably liked their heroin too.


Some people can kick their addictions on their own, and I would always suggest that as a first try. If however you struggle, that does not mean you have no other choices. Get support and help to quit your addiction from professionals who have the skills to help you.

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Quit Smoking Day 8 March 2017

https://www.talktherapies.co.uk

Hello you beautiful people!

Hands up if you’re a smoker….

Wow, that sucks for you. I know because I was a smoker for 17 years.

Let me list some of the many reasons it sucks…

  1. It’s seriously bad for your health – I mean seriously bad. Not only is it likely to shorten your life significantly, but it will also reduce your quality of life. Reduced blood flow can cause blindness, teeth falling out, amputation and stroke. Lung problems are almost a given and heart disease and cancer are likely. But you knew all of that right – I mean it’s not like you live under a rock.
  2. It’s expensive – now I’m all for spending your money on things you enjoy, but seriously, how much do you enjoy smoking? Work out how much you spend on smoking a week, then multiply that by 52. Chances are you are looking at thousands.
  3. You are constantly restricted. You can’t smoke here, you can’t smoke there. You are always being told where you can and can’t smoke.
  4. If you smoke in public, people are silently judging you all the time.
  5. You will occasionally have to go longer than you are comfortable with without smoking. Maybe it’s at work, maybe a friends home, maybe a flight, but there will be times that you cannot smoke for one reason or another and it will cause you stress, anxiety and discomfort.
  6. You kind of smell bad – all the time.
  7. The people that love you worry about you constantly
  8. If you have kids in your life they are learning from you. You are teaching them that smoking is a positive thing. Even if you tell them constantly that it isn’t they learn from your example far more than what you say. They see you smoke when you are stressed – they learn that smoking is good to calm you down.
  9. You are always thinking about whether you have enough cigarettes/tobacco. Do you need to make another trip to the shops? Will you have enough for the next day?
  10. Your self respect is not where it could be – trust me when I say, I have never felt prouder or more capable than the moment I realised I had quit smoking forever!

I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

Now for the good news – You can be free from this crappy habit.

It is entirely possible for you to decide today that you will never smoke again and do it. It’s literally that simple. You will go through a couple of days of feeling a bit awkward, feel itchy and unconfortable and maybe have a short temper. So what. That might sound a bit tough, but that’s all you need to go through – a couple of days of feeling unconfortable. No pain, No agony, No awful consequences. After 2 days the nicotine will be out of your system and if you decide to never put it back in again, you will slowly but surely feel better and better. It will get easier and easier. Within a couple of weeks you will have got rid of the habit too and will think about it less and less.

Quitting smoking is easy. You just don’t put another cigarette it in you mouth.


I tried to quit smoking for years – unsuccesfully. It wasn’t until I tried hypnosis that it all fell into place. If you want some help getting free of the evil weed, give me a call.

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How to be kind to yourself

www.talktherapies.co.uk

February is heart awareness month and as I wrote yesterday, I’m focussing on the relationship side of this subject.

I strongly believe that you will not have the best relationships you can if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, and unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest ones to get right as we don’t get good feedback on it.

Some people are too hard on themselves – way harder than they are on other people. They persistently tell themselves that they aren’t good enough, that they’re stupid, that they’re lazy, that they don’t work hard enough, that they’re not pretty enough, that they’re fat, that they’re ugly. Can you imagine if you spoke like that to another person? I think, at the very least, you could expect them not to want to hang around with you.  Why would you spend time with someone who constantly abuses you?

Some people don’t care enough for themselves. As a hypnotherapist I see people all the time who smoke, who are overweight, who don’t exercise. When I ask them how they would feel if their kids smoked, ate rubbish or didn’t do any exercise they are horrified. They want the best for them, but don’t appear to want the best for themselves….

Some people don’t protect themselves. They take stupid risks with their health. They starve themselves, or dramatically overeat. They take drugs. They put themselves in dangerous situations. Again, they would be really upset to think of someone they loved in that situation, but it’s OK for them….does that mean they don’t love themselves?

So how do you build a relationship with yourself?

Easy – the same way as with anyone else.

Start by being interested. Question yourself and your motives. Find out what is really important to you. Help yourself to achieve that.

Support yourself. Be kind, be understanding, but also be challenging. Stretch yourself without being mean to yourself.

Be a good friend to yourself. You can be your own inner bully or your own cheerleader. Think about what can go right, how brilliant things can be.

Stop being a hater. Don’t hate yourself – ever. Not any part of yourself. Hate is a horrible, destructive emotion and it doesn’t help anyone. I don’t care if you don’t love your thighs, or you skin. I don’t care if you don’t like the way you react in certain situations. I don’t care if you aren’t thrilled with your weight. Work out how to change it, but don’t hate it.

I believe that when you get this stuff right you attract people to you. Self confidence is attractive. That means you draw people towards you who enhance your life. It also means that you don’t need people to complete you so you stop hanging on to people who don’t add anything to your life.

So, whatever your relationship status, spend a little time thinking about your relationship with yourself. Are you being a good friend? How can you be better? What changes are you going to make? What positive effects could that have?

As ever, I would love to know your thoughts on this – why not drop me a comment?


If you’re interested, why not follow me in instagram, twitter, facebook or check out my website.

 

 

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Everyone said

Here’s my weekly poem – I hope you enjoy it

It Couldn’t Be Done

BY EDGAR ALBERT GUEST

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

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Be nice to yourself.

lose weight coventry

I was with a client yesterday who told me that they were annoyed with themselves for not having done hypnotherapy earlier.

It’s something I hear quite a lot.

I felt the same way when I gave up smoking.

I was incredibly pleased with what I had done, but then became annoyed that I had smoked for 17 years.

Personally I believe the skills hypnotherapy teaches should be taught at school.

But they’re not.

Don’t focus on what you’ve struggled with before, be happy how easy it will be in the future.

Have a great day.

🙂

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How to stop thinking

brainworm

Have you ever had a thought that just won’t go away?

Maybe it’s the thought that something is going to happen, or not going to happen.

Maybe it’s the thought of needing to do something that you don’t really want to do.

Maybe it’s an argument that you keep playing over and over again in your head.

Whatever it is there are some tricks that are worth knowing if you really want to get the thought out of your head.

Just get on with it.

Our brains have this annoying habit of not letting go of something that has been left incomplete. Various studies have shown this to be true, and it is a technique hypnotists, like myself, use to get you to remember something in your subconscious. Once the task has been completed our brains file it as done and forget about it. So, if you have a nagging thought about doing your taxes, cleaning the loft, having a conversation with someone – just do it!

Stop thinking of Pink Elephants.

Ok, so if I tell you to not think of a pink elephant, the first thing your brain does is bring up the idea of a pink elephant. It has then failed to NOT think of a pink elephant, so it will then keep reminding you of it (see the above point). You can complete the action by deciding that you want to think about pink elephants for a minute. When the minute is up, you have completed the task and your brain can file it as done – no more pink elephants!

Plan to think about Pink Elephants.

If you can’t think about Pink Elephants now (or whatever it is you don’t want to think about) make a decision to think about Pink Elephants at a certain time. Write it down, schedule it in. Your brain can now file this under another heading – it’s not done yet, but you know when it will be, so you can stop thinking about it.

Do something that takes ALL of your concentration.

Your brain is amazing, but it can’t do too many things at once – not even if you’re a girl! By doing a task that really takes concentration you will forget about the pink elephants.

Talk about the Pink Elephants.

Talk about them, write about them, sing about them, draw pictures of them. Make use of friends, family, religious leaders, doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists, bar tenders, co-workers, the woman who serves you at the supermarket, the guy who delivers your Pizza – who ever and where ever you can, go on about the Pink Elephants until even you’re so bored of them that you don’t want to think about them any more.

Self Hypnosis

I wrote a post a while ago called let it go with hypnosis – check it out! It’s a really useful technique to get an unwanted thought out of your head – what have you got to lose?

And if all else fails, maybe you should try a little professional help – It’s what I’m here for!

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Quitting Smoking is Easy

MarkTwain1

“Quitting smoking is easy – I’ve done it thousands of times” – Mark Twain

In the UK the powers that be have decided to run a campaign to help people to stop smoking. They call it Stoptober.

As a Hypnotherapist I have helped lots of people become smoke free – and that’s how I like to refer to it – becoming smoke free. When you stop or give up something, there is a feeling of loss. When you are free from something, there is a feeling of relief.

I became smoke free after smoking for 17 years.

I had tried to stop smoking before that, but had always failed. I tried nicotine replacement with gums, and patches and even electronic vapes, but I always felt like it was a poor substitute for an actual cigarette.

You know why? – because it was.

I was still feeding my body with this pernicious drug, but not in the way it wanted it. By drip feeding it nicotine, I was keeping it hooked, but never satisfying it.

I used to think ‘If I could just have a cigarette I would feel so much better because I would get rid of the cravings’.

This was wrong – having a cigarette, or any kind of nicotine, is the only way to keep the cravings in place. You’re never getting rid of them, you’re just postponing them for a bit.

The only way to get rid of cravings is to not have any of the drug.

When I went cold turkey – no nicotine at all – it took 2 days for the drug to leave my system. I had done some work with hypnosis and so this was fairly easy to deal with. It was no worse than feeling a bit hungry. Honestly – that was as bad as it got. Then, 2 short days later, I was free.

Forever.

I cannot explain how good that makes me feel. Not only do I feel like I’ve conquered something that had tripped me up for years, but I also feel like I’ve taken control of a part of my life that I had felt was lost to me. I feel more positive about my health, I have more money and I no longer stink the place out!

I’m not here to tell you to quit smoking – only you can decide when it’s the right time for you.

I just want you to know that it’s going to be a lot easier than you think – especially if you get the right help.

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Therapy – Disney Style

The Bare Necessities From “The Jungle Book” composed by Terry Gilkyson is as good as any philosophy when it comes to breaking addiction.

The final verse..

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

I heard this song not long after I quit smoking and it struck me as an absolute truth. The moment you stop thinking about it, is the moment you are free. I had quit smoking several times before and had always seen it as a massive challenge. Every day was my own personal battle to beat my cravings. The longest I had ever managed before was about 3 months and always with the help of some sort of nicotine replacement. I had tried chewing gum, patches, inhilators, ecigs and lozenges. All of them were pretty disgusting to start with, but I persevered as it was the only way for me to get my nicotine fix.

As time went on and I tried to wean myself off this replacement, it could go one of two ways. Sometimes I would find it hard and then I would think it was all pointless and start smoking again and sometimes it I would find it relatively easy and I would think, well, that was OK, I could probably just have one cigarette….and I would start smoking again.

So, what changed?

Well, I had pretty much given up giving up. I figured I was just too weak willed and I was stuck with it. I was studying hypnotherapy with a group of people and one of the things we learned was how to help people quit smoking. There were two of us in the group who smoked and so, obviously, everyone wanted to try their therapy skills on us. I kept telling them I was a lousy subject, as I didn’t really want to quit – I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to be a smoker for the rest of my life, but this didn’t deter them. After several days of inductions and therapies I took some pleasure in going out at every break and lighting up. The course ended and everyone went home.

About 2 weeks or so later I started working on a programme that I could use as a therapist to help people who wanted to quit. The more I read about it and the more I wrote, the more I realised that I really didn’t want to smoke any more, so I stopped. As simple as that. The combination of the therapy I had received along with my own personal decision to stop was all it took.

No nicotine replacement, No struggle. I just stopped.

The significant difference between this and all the other times I had tried, was that I just wasn’t thinking about it.

All the the hypnotic suggestions that had been given to me had changed my subconscious enough to stop me dwelling on it. And so I go back to my little Disney ditty..

When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you.

If you are suffering from addiction of any kind, cigarettes, food, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping….or anything else you feel you can’t live without my advice to you is Don’t give up giving up, just try something new. Maybe Hypnotherapy will work as well for you as it did for me.

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Sunday Dreams

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Do you ever sit there on a Sunday and think ‘Right, Tomorrow is when it all begins!’

Monday is the day you decide to make the change, whether it’s to start the diet, stop drinking, quit smoking, get organised, get fit or any of the other life changing things we promise ourselves we are going to do.

Oh, the things I tell myself I’ll do as soon as the new week starts.

But here’s the thing. Most of the time it doesn’t happen. Monday is a rubbish day to start anything. Most people don’t like Monday mornings, so you’re probably at a low ebb even before you start to make the change. You also see the whole week looming ahead of you and the thought of not being able to eat/drink/smoke/be lazy all week sounds really hard. If you really want to make a change, don’t put it off until Monday – start it today.

If you want to start the diet, throw all the junk food out NOW.

If you want to Stop drinking, poor all the alcohol away NOW.

If you want to quit Smoking, throw the cigarettes away NOW.

If you want to get Organised, grab a pile of whatever it is you need to organise and get on with it.

If you want to get fit, dust off that exercise DVD and get into your gym kit NOW.

What ever it is you want to start on Monday…

 DO IT NOW.

Even if you just make a small start then you have already started the ball rolling for next week – you’re not starting from scratch, you’re continuing – and that’s always easier than starting something for the first time. It’s often said that the first step is the hardest, so why not get that out of the way and feel good about it!

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