Stories & experiences

Northern Sydney

I have not quit, and my last cigarette was in 1972!

Posted in Hints and tips 29 Oct 2018

I used to smoke some 20 cigs per day. I had tried many times to stop - but without success. Then I met this gorgeous lady who said "You have to stop smoking if you want to get me into bed". So I used one of my strongest project management techniques to help me. Knowing a successful outcome is a sequence of small, successful steps, I decided that I would not undertake the big "GIVE UP" or "I QUIT" because I had failed in this exercise many times!

So I would put off having a smoke for a short period of time. "I will not have a cigarette until after this meeting", or "until I have had lunch", or "until I have walked around the block". Or whatever excuse I coud find to put off having the cigarette. Then after the meeting, or the walk I could confirm the success of that decision to myself - and create a new one. Even if it was as simple as "I will not have a cigarette within the next 15 minutes".

At the start it was a challenge, but the string of successes started building pressure to not give in! Gradually I was able to extend the periods of abstinance, using periods such as "unitil after breakfast tomorrow" or such.

That process started in March, 1972 - and has lasted up until now - October 2018. I have not given up cigarettes, but I have not a single smoke since then. And yes, I married the girl and we have two amazing children. And yes, I still get the urge to light up a ciggy. But as you would expect, it does not take much self control for me to decide not to smoke - at least for another 30 minutes.

So in summary, I have not made the decision to "quit smoking". But I have not had a cigarette since March 1972.

And what I like is that THAT process of internal talk and decision making has totally confused the inner voices that used to tell me what a failure I am, how I could never stop smoking, how I was never strong enough to stop etc etc and so forth. Yes, I had some amazing help with counsellors, doctors, advisors etc. I also studied my NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) certification and used those techniques to help me. NLP can be described (among other things) as the internal language we use on ourselves, the instructions we give ourselves, and the internal self-talk.

Finally, this strategy worked and is still working for me. It may not work for other people. Almost 50 years since I had a cigarette, but such is the nature of addiction that it will never go away. I always am aware and prepared for it. I also try to eat and drink healthily.

I wish you each a beautiful , non-smoking life.

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  • Darrell, Northern Sydney February 23, 2019 | 12:17
    And Happiness, just a further comment, I have absolutely no wish or desire let alone craving to have a cigarette. In fact, it rarely enters my conscious or unconscious mind - except in those rare circumstances to which I alluded. And the automatic internal response is always a polite "No thanks". And delivered with love and gratitude for the fact that nicotine in no way influences my life or my being.

    So in the words of that great Australian poet - "Luv youse all".
  • Darrell, Northern Sydney February 23, 2019 | 12:10
    For me, Softly, NLP is the internal patterns that influence me, or listening to my own self-talk. A great explanation is at

    I just noted Happiness's comment from last Nov about "fighting the devil's aftermath for 50 years", and I must comment that there is no such thing for me. It does not enter my mind now. Except for an occasional incident, say at a party or in a pub, and my instinctive reaction is along the lines of "I am so proud of me for not having had a cigarette for (quick calculation) years now."
    Happy to chat if you like. Warm regards, Darrell
  • softly40, Mid North Coast February 23, 2019 | 8:36
    The mind is a powerful tool thankyou Darrell, a different perspective which I am considering, after failing time after time. what is NLP?
  • Happiness November 23, 2018 | 3:47
    The right mind set can beat the cravings for those who want to become Happy Non-Smokers. Please see my thoughts under cravings further down the page called Spice up the cravings. (not the first post , but further down) No Willpower needed!
  • Happiness November 21, 2018 | 6:30
    A great story Darrell.

    You should be so proud of yourself ! At the same time your story would scare the crap out of me if i were about to or in the process of quitting smoking. I can't imagine fighting the devils aftermath for 50 years. Nor do i wish to . But don't despair people. It is what he believes, and how he chooses to live his life. No one can choose how to live except themselves, (ummmm except the cigarette/nicotine ) the same as no one can make you WANT to quit smoking. Only you can do that. The nicotine is clearly gone after 50 years of abstinence, yet the cravings for a future fantasy still exists. I think you would be sorely disappointed if you were to fulfill that desire. You have kept the cravings alive and well. Once you truly enjoy being a non-smoker you will be a Happy-non-Smoker without the cravings.

    I think most people would chose being in the right mindset. Your wife must feel very loved though!
  • Robn October 31, 2018 | 12:32
    Awesome story....thank you....the mind is so powerful, it really is within us to do anything we set our minds to.

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