Evening Telegraph

Evening Telegraph Article Wednesday 28th February 2007

My crushing victory in bid to give up smoking!
By Amy Thurston

WORDS that I thought might never come out of my mouth: non-smoker and me.
But a month on after the last puff, I can finally use those words.
Did I have to go cold turkey, I hear you say?
Did I heck, I don’t have that kind of will power. No, I simply spent an hour listening to the sound of waves and a woman telling me I did not want to smoke any more and I was cured.

Having only smoked when I drank alcohol, I always refused to accept I was a ‘proper’ smoker, but as more than 10 years passed and I still couldn’t stop I was forced to admit I had become one.

Last January I attempted to quit by puffing on fake fags and chewing nicotine gum; the taste of which almost made me pass out. And ironically, I was left reaching for a cigarette.

So when I heard that my ‘addiction’ could be cured by one trip to hypnotherapist Georgina Block, based in Loddington (now in Kettering), I was a little dubious.

Nervously I sat down opposite the hypnotist who promised I would never smoke again – and if I did I could go back free of charge.

As I talked through my long smoking history with Georgina, she took notes about what I liked about smoking and my reasons for quitting.

Instead of believing the first puff on a fag is pleasurable – as I have always thought – she said the pleasure is in fact in taking a deep breath of air and relaxing the body, which of course feels good, rather than the car fumes we inhale.

According to Georgina our imagination is far stronger than our willpower. And it is because of this that the ‘willpower’ method of giving up smoking doesn’t work for many.

So instead of being addicted to the drug, I had imagined I couldn’t cope without it and so that became true – I couldn’t cope. In essence, what we visualise to happen happens. If we think we will get the job we go for, it’s often the case we will.

The hypnosis then involved me lying down and listening to the sound of waves followed by calming words from Georgina.

But I felt far from relaxed; what if I fell asleep? Or started spouting random rubbish?

“By the time I have counted to eight, you should be very relaxed” I heard.

What followed I cannot report – because I can’t really remember. All I know is I wasn’t exactly asleep but I wasn’t exactly awake.

But it wasn’t like being in some crazed trance, more that feeling you get just before you fall asleep where you’re both awake but asleep at the same time.

At the end I was told not to drink for a while until the new habit had formed. But I failed and three days later got drunk and had a fag.

But instead of enjoying it, I felt sick and dizzy and haven’t touched them since. I still get a bit of an urge sometimes when I’m drinking, but not enough to light up.

When I feel I want to smoke I take a deep breath like Georgina said and strangely it actually helps. National no smoking day is on March 14, so if your New Year’s resolution didn’t work to quit, why not try hypnotherapy?