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30.m. Allen Carr


This article is from the Stop Smoking FAQ, by 70424.57@compuserve.com with numerous contributions by others.

30.m. Allen Carr

Discussion of Allen Carr's books (Allen Carr's Easy Way To Stop Smoking
(Penguin; ISBN 0-14-013378-X), later revised and reissued as The Only Way
to Stop Smoking Permanently (Penguin; ISBN 0-14 024475-1)) is the closest
AS3 comes to making a commercial endorsement. So many of us have been
helped by Carr's work that it is a frequent topic of discussion. Even if
one part of the method doesn't seem right for you, something else may be
just the thing that rings your personal bell. Unfortunately, Carr's books
are very difficult to get in North America. See below, a couple of avenues
interested parties might try. But many might be helped even by this summary
of the Carr method, written and contributed by David Moss
<moss@irch.kfk.de> and originally posted to AS3.

"First, Allen Carr's qualifications: he's not a doctor or a psychologist,
he's a guy who smoked five packs per day (I didn't even know that was
possible!) and who quit one day with no difficulty whatsoever. He was so
astounded by this that he subsequently devoted his time to finding out why
quitting had been so easy for him, and then wrote a book about it.

"He understands how smokers' minds work, so he doesn't fill his book with a
load of horror stories on why you shouldn't smoke. We all know that
already, and it doesn't help. Allen Carr turns it around and asks, why
smoke? Our bodies tell us 'have a cigarette' and we give way, or we fight
it with huge amounts of willpower. Instead, we should ask our bodies 'what
for?'. He takes all the stock answers - it tastes good, it helps me relax,
it helps me concentrate, it relieves stress, it relieves boredom - and
disproves them one by one. In fact, we smoke to relieve the withdrawal
symptoms that we all suffer between cigarettes, because nicotine is a fast
acting, fast decaying drug. All the other justifications are
rationalizations which don't stand up to scrutiny. The logical conclusion
is that you shouldn't even think in terms of 'giving up' cigarettes,
because you're not giving up anything - you're just stopping smoking
because you simply don't need cigarettes.

"His next point is that quitting is actually very easy. Most smokers make
the mistake of confusing the physical withdrawal symptoms with the
psychological "crawling up the walls" cravings and panic that you get when
you want to smoke and can't. The actual physical withdrawal symptoms are a
mild, empty, hunger-like feeling, which doesn't hurt and which is easy to
ignore. The psychological cravings, because they're psychological, will
simply cease to exist if you can develop the right mental attitude. For
this reason, Carr is very insistent that the reader continue to smoke until
he's got his attitude right (i.e. until he's finished the book), so as to
avoid the negative experience of a failed attempt to quit. Think about the
question given above - what positive benefits do you get from smoking -
until you're completely convinced that smoking gives you nothing. You don't
need huge feats of willpower, because you're not giving up anything. Making
quitting into a test of willpower only makes it harder. You don't need
replacements like sweets or gum, because you're not giving up anything that
needs replacing. You don't need nicotine patches or nicotine gum, because
you don't need nicotine. Enjoy the withdrawal symptoms, because that's how
it feels when you defeat your addiction.

"We all know that it takes about three weeks for the body to be cleared of
nicotine. But don't think in terms of 'making it' three weeks without a
cigarette, which would lead you to expect something wonderful to happen
after three weeks. Nothing happens, because the physical withdrawal
symptoms are so mild that you don't even notice they've gone. That
wonderful thing happens in the moment you stub out your last cigarette and
become a non smoker. Don't get melancholy and depressed about life without
cigarettes, because you're not giving up anything. Enjoy life as a
non-smoker, it's better in every way. Don't even try to avoid thinking
about cigarettes - every time you think of them, think about how wonderful
it is that you don't need them.

"Allen Carr gives five point that need to be internalized before you begin:

"1. Be quite clear in your mind, you're going to quit. Not hoping to quit
or trying to quit, just going to quit. It's easy.
"2. You're not giving up anything, but you're gaining a hell of a lot.
"3. There's no such thing as 'just one cigarette'. Your choices are to
quit, or to smoke for the rest of your life.
"4. Don't think of smoking as an unpleasant habit. It's an addiction, and
it's getting worse every day. The right time to quit is now.
"5. Understand the difference between the chemical addiction and the
'junkie' mentality. As soon as you stub out your last cigarette, you're a
non-smoker. Non-smokers are people who don't use cigarettes.

"If you've really taken these points on board, quitting will be simple and
absolutely painless. You don't believe it? That's not surprising, we've all
been brainwashed by advertising, by films, by society's generally tolerant
attitude to smoking, and by our own addiction. You need to open your mind
and think about what Carr is saying in order to ditch this conditioning and
realize that Carr is right.

"Finally, a disclaimer - the above is my personal summary of Allen Carr's
book, and I may have left out or misunderstood something important. If in
doubt, read the book. The title is Allen Carr's Easy Way To Stop Smoking,
and it was published by Penguin Books, London, in 1991. The ISBN number of
my copy is 3-442-13664-4, but be careful because I have the German
translation (Endlich Nichtraucher, Goldmann G1290).

"I very much hope that this information will make quitting as easy for
someone out there as it was for me, and I'd be happy to deal with any
follow-up questions.
David <moss@irch.kfk.de>"

How to get Carr's book in North America:

I've recently heard that an American publisher is being sought for The Easy
Way To Stop Smoking. In the meantime, for the convenience of those in
North America, here are some options:


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