186 pages, 376 days
An ode to empty hands and an empty mouth
I knew the anniversary was coming up fast; I didn't realize I'd over-shot by nearly a fort-night, until I checked the review I posted last year — as it turns out, exactly one year ago today.
If the chronology in that piece is to be trusted, it has now been 376 days since I butted my final cigarette.
I'm really not an especially superstitious man; going strictly by my head I'm not supersticious at all. But in my gut, I have a few savage superstitions I find it difficult to shake.
One of them is predicting success for myself, lest I "jynx" my prospects, by angering the gods or whatever it is that causes Old Ma Fate to kick you in the ass.
So it was with a little surprise that I read the following words I posted one year ago, not even two weeks since I had stopped smoking.
This time really was easy, which is why, only nine [edit: now 10] days after butting out, I feel almost completely confident — not confident that I have "quit smoking", but confident that I am once again, for the first time in more than 25 years, a non-smoker ... after 186 pages, this former smoker is convinced that he will never light up again.
Convinced I was, and right in my convictions, it seems.
I've gone through some pretty low lows, a lot of very high highs and the requisite number of mediocre times in the year since I wrote those words. And I can honestly say that I have not even once had to forcefully stop myself from relapsing.
Yes, there have been moments when a ghost of the old ember flared to (very) brief life in my mind's eye, but they were few moments and very far between and so quickly did they fade I never even had the time to be genuinely tempted towards recidivism.
Carr's "easy way" really was.
And I do credit Carr's book with breaking me of the habit of my addiction. I've met a few people since who have tried his method (or at least, who have read the book) and not managed to quit; one woman said she can't be hypnotized, and certainly a mild form of what I called hypnosis was part of the method for me.
But I still recommend the book without hesitation. I worked for me, it worked (last time I checked) for a couple of other once-inveterate smokers I know well and I think there's a good chance it could work for you.
Just remember to give yourself over to it for 186 pages. Consciously work at accepting what he's telling you (everything he says is true, after all!) and remember — if it doesn't work, you'll just keep on smoking and will have lost nothing but the time and attention it took you to get through 186 easy-to-read pages of not especially small type.
What have you got to lose? At the ripe old age of 45, I find myself occasionally breaking into a run just because ... well, just because. Been a long time since I did that.