Stories & experiences


Day 38!

Posted in Staying quit 07 Feb 2020

Having lost all hope that I’d ever manage to stay quit for more than a week, let alone five and counting, I thought I’d share a seemingly lesser known tip. What made all the difference is this short and down to the point book, 40-Day Companion to Quitting Smoking by J.F. Hunter. All it asked was not to smoke (I went cold turkey) + stick to a clever little daily reading for 40 days, then reassess. The idea is that it takes 40 days for our brains to let go of old habits and build fresh neural pathways based on our new behaviour. Not sure if I can explain this properly, so here’s an excerpt:

Day 11


"In his revolutionary book, Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory, the great late Canadian neuropsychologist Donald O. Hebb famously stated that neurons that fire together wire together.

Roughly translated, this means the longer we practise any behaviour, the bigger and stronger the related neural network becomes. Establishing a neural network may feel like hard work at the beginning, but the scientific evidence guarantees that this new grid of neural pathways will eventually run itself, with little or no need of our conscious assistance – providing we stick to practising the behaviour that supports its development and growth on a daily basis.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that, no matter how tough or easy you are finding all this right now, your brain is busy building a bridge back to life as a happy healthy non-smoker?

Give change a chance. It’s all that’s required from you today. "

Anyway, I am pretty sure I’m not going to pick up after Day 40, because I really don’t want to go back to all that smoking mess. But just in case - and because I still get an occasional craving - I may well commit to reading the book all over again.

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  • Red-67 February 08, 2020 | 4:57
    Basically the same thing some of us say, only more simply. Learn to change the way you think. Take control, and stop thinking like a smoker. Cravings will only last, as long as you let them.
  • AveryT February 08, 2020 | 5:17
    "Cravings will only last, as long as you let them.” That’s going on my wall right now. Thanks!
  • Happiness February 08, 2020 | 6:09
    i am hoping the paths will also be etched in my mind as natural after my stroke'. reaffirming repetitively does help daily '. Perhaps you could post the link for convenience sake. thank you. A session on the trend mill helped with correct posture.
  • Red-67 February 08, 2020 | 6:18
    Sure, There will be physical withdrawal, discomfort. Generally 2-3 weeks, but, it is only a craving, or wanting if you let it be. Once you truly make up your mind, that you do NOT WANT a smoke, It can be much easier. And, you can expect the down, depression, almost like mourning. Most of us did. A smoke had been a part of our life for years, and our addiction made it feel like something good. All of this will pass, rather quickly, when you accept the reality of what you are feeling, and simply let go of the want.. You will not crave, what you don't want. It's all in the mind :) I knew I was free, into week 4, after 45+ years of smoking, and have not missed or craved them since. Soon to be 3 years ago for me, and you can do it too. Think positive, you simply never WANT another one :)
  • softly40, Mid North Coast February 08, 2020 | 7:39
    Reading and positive thinking with a message every day helped you and also helped me, AveryT. I created my own which anyone can do. The other thing is the time factor of 40 days is something to strive towards and is achievable, you now have to continue on to 80 days. You might even enjoy your own daily message to yourself, keep close and I am very happy for you well done
  • Lando, Hunter New England February 08, 2020 | 8:08
    Hi Avery. Congratulations on making 38 days. New decade, new life. I am very interested to have a look at the book you have recommended, I will hunt it down. Thank you.
  • AveryT February 09, 2020 | 11:02
    Happiness - I am 100% convinced that neural pathways can be rebuilt by systematic and consistent application of new behaviours. All we need is willingness, patience - and a touch of courage. You asked for the link for the book I’ve mentioned:

    The readings act as a daily tonic, too, and not just when it comes to keeping me quit. 40 non-smoking days tomorrow, btw, and decided on committing to another 40 days. It’s just what makes sense to me at the moment.

    Wishing you all the best, A.
  • AveryT February 09, 2020 | 11:10
    Red-67 - thanks again. I needed to hear that, as part of me still likes to sneak around, plotting to have another smoke as soon as, if and when. When this used to happen in the past, I’d soon think, ‘What is the point of putting off the inevitable?” and just smoke. But now, no matter how bad the longing gets, I just think, "Not today, I don’t think!” and get on with my day.
  • AveryT February 09, 2020 | 11:14
    Thanks, softly40 - yes, next stop 80 days. I may even try and stop "eating cigarettes” and re-start my daily yoga practice in the next 40 days.:) Thanks again for your kind words and wishes.
  • AveryT February 09, 2020 | 11:16
    Lando - "New decade, new life.” Of course! I was so wrapped up in my smoking/ quitting drama I barely even noticed that the brand new decade was upon us. All the best to you, A.

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