1 vote

One month sans cigs, and the addiction cure book

How time flies! It has been one month to the day without a cigarette for me. I smoked my last one on December 13th, 2010 after the Boston Tea Party. But thinking about them now awakens a faint craving within me. Just beyond the stretches of my imagination, I can almost feel the rush that a hit of the legal drug nicotine would cause to bloom thoughout my body and mind.

On any number of my past several dozen quit attempts, a feeling such as this would be my ruin. On one such quit attempt many years ago, I felt as if there were an unconscious force driving me against my conscious will. Almost like an out of body experience, I watched myself putting on my shoes, lacing them up and walking out the door like a zombie after a pack of smokes, all the while thinking to myself, "I don’t want to be doing this." Yet the actions of my body betrayed me. This is the powerlessness that people with substance abuse problems feel. That substance can be any number of things. For me it is nicotine. For others it is alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, shopping, sex, television, food, other people or even work.

I’ve been through this nicotine cycle dozens of times, and I was quit for 6-1/2 years, then let my guard down at the RNC in Minneapolis. After living the last 2-1/2 years as a nicotine addict, I finally got tired of myself, tired of the ups and downs, tired of being out of control, and tired of being a slave.

When I made quitting nicotine my New Year’s resolution , DPer takeaction recommended a book called The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery Even though I didn't think I would need it, I ordered a copy anyway, based on his enthusiastic recommendation. Having recently finished it, I concur. This is a great book.

The book is a father & son project of Chris and Pax Prentiss. The son, Pax, was addicted to heroin for a full decade, and his father, Chris, stuck by his side though the ordeal, searching for a way for his son to be healed. The stories Pax tells of those years are harrowing. At one point, he runs out of money and realizes that there is only one way to continue to feed his heroin habit: by jacking the hulking, tattooed, ruthless heroin dealers. In Chapter 3 he writes, "I knew what would happen if they caught me. I had seen people try it...they beat one guy I knew until he was unrecognizable, and then they shot him eight times. But in my mind, I thought this was a great idea."

Long story short, after jacking dealers three days in a row, he is caught and nearly killed. He gets his face smashed and jaw broken. Since he cannot afford the hospital bill to get his face fixed, he reaches out (once again) to his father for help. He is ashamed, and even more so when, immediately after arriving home from the hospital, he decides to do his last little hit of heroin that he had kept hidden. Just at the moment he lights his hit, crouched over a piece of aluminum foil, sucking in the smoke through his wired-shut jaw, his father walks in and sees him.

Amazingly, his father does not give up on him. He holds in his mind a vision that his son will be cured. Each time his son relapses, Chris asks him, "Do you know why you are using heroin?" Pax comes up blank every time, with no better an answer than, "Because I like the way it makes me feel." Eventually, after many more years of hell, and much more therapy, Chris discovers within himself the underlying issue and as a result, is cured of his addictive behavior.


Cured, you might ask? According to the modern medical definition of addiction, there is no cure. In 1956, the AMA declared alcoholism a disease, one for which there is no cure. This modern paradigm for alcohol is set in stone, has been transferred to other addiction treatment regimens, and is the basis for 12-step programs like AA.

The authors acknowledge that AA was revolutionary - for its time - and has helped millions of people. But they take issue with the idea that alcoholism is an incurable disease, and that those who quit are still branded as addicts forever (discussion pp. 134-37). This widely held belief, they claim, is responsible for the stagnation that has existed in the treatment of addiction for the last 70 years, and it is precisely this definition with which the authors beg to differ. Their philosophy is stated clearly on p.14-15:

You are not an alcoholic or an addict. You are not incurably diseased. You have merely become dependent on substances or addictive behavior to cope with underlying conditions that you are going to heal, at which time your dependency will cease completely and forever.

In other words, and what now seems almost obvious, addictive behavior of any kind is just a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. It is a coping mechanism. Alcohol (or, fill in the blank ____ [shopping, food, sex, gambling, nicotine, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, caffine, work, etc.]) is simply a quick, easy, self prescribed way to change ordinary, unbearable reality into something bearable. Dependency is a crutch for the reality challenged.

The key to curing whatever dependency one suffers from is addressing the underlying root cause, which the authors claim, are limited to just four:

  1. A chemical imbalance
  2. Unresolved events from the past
  3. Beliefs you hold that are inconsistent with what is true
  4. An inability to cope with current conditions

Identifying and treating the root issue won't necessarily be easy. You’ll have to do some digging, some self observation, and some serious soul searching. It took Pax 10 years. Chapter 7, the longest chapter in the book, is titled "Creating your Holistic Recovery Program," and makes for an excellent starting guide.

* * *

If you look around honestly, you may discover that most Americans suffer from some form of dependency. Obesity is a visible reminder. The Starbucks / Dunkin' Donuts on every corner is another. Caffeine may seem like a harmless addiction -- until one day you find yourself without your morning cup. In my neck of the woods, the drugstores on Massachusetts Avenue occur at intervals of approximately every mile. It is a profoundly sick society we live in, and as Krishnamurti put it, "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

This being said, all mass social changes begin with the individual. In fact, it is the only way that such change is ever effected. Before thinking about spreading freedom, one must first ask the question of oneself. Are you yourself free?

And if you’re one of the lucky few (or at least think you are), who suffers from no dependent behavior whatsoever, Chapter 8 alone, titled "Your Personal Philosophy" is worth the price of the entire book. Not only does Chris give you the third simple step in the three step process of recovery, the personal stories he uses to illustrate this are incredibly memorable and I dare say life changing.

If you have been, are, or know someone who is suffering from an addiction or dependent behavior, and are looking for ways to change, I cannot think of a book that I would recommend more highly than this one.

As for me, I understand that urge for a nicotine hit is fleeting and temporary. With the passing of just a few moments, it is gone.

- - -

*Thanks to Qwerk, for suggesting the title of this piece. :)

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SteveMT's picture

Another reason to quit smoking: genetic damage in minutes!

Smoking causes gene damage in minutes
– 2 hrs 55 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer, US scientists said in a study released Saturday.

In fact, researchers said the "effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream," in findings described as a "stark warning" to those who smoke.

The study is the first on humans to track how substances in tobacco cause DNA damage, and appears in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, issued by the American Chemical Society.

Using 12 volunteer smokers, scientists tracked pollutants called PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, that are carried in tobacco smoke and can also be found in coal-burning plants and in charred barbecue food.


I might quit smoking again but?

To give up carbon based steaks?Not going to happen!

Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

I've quit as well, not having

I've quit as well, not having any nicotine since January 4th. For the most part, I find it quite easy; it's just a matter of keeping myself busy and always reciting the reasons for quitting to myself. I get sudden urges to smoke, and I expect I'll have more of those to come, but I really am liking the challenge. Plus, physically and emotionally, I feel pretty damn good instead of feeling sluggish and lazy when I smoked. Frankly, I look back at my smoking days and wonder why I didn't quit earlier.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Congrats & keep up the good work!

You're doing great.

Yes, the sluggish, lazy, lack of energy feeling is gone. As is that feeling in the morning when you first wake up, and you can feel the poisons in your lungs, and coursing through your body.

When those urges come, it helps for me to remember how crappy and sick I would feel after a smoke. Plus a nice long streak of days under the belt helps to keep the momentum going.

Keep up the good work.

something I found this morning

Varenicline (Chantix) - An anti-smoking drug that is a shocking 18 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Yesterday the 13th was my quit day

But it did not happen. My husband has been ill and is now in the hospital.
He quit smoking 2 years ago.....he is in the hospital with heart problems. I know this sounds like the perfect time to quit, but I just don't feel it.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

Michael Nystrom's picture

Take care of yourself & your husband

Sounds like not the ideal time to quit, I completely understand. Take good care. I hope he gets well soon.


Buy this damn book and you will stop.

An overwhelming stress situation

Is what made me start again this last time,Everything is starting to wind down so it is time for me to quit again.Consider it again when this all winds down a bit,It would be hard right now.

Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

Thnaks for the advice

I'm just so tired from all the hospital stuff...not quitting now, it's the only thing keeping me running at the speed of light.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut


I have been through this many times,With my wife and my children,I cannot count how many times I have woke up sitting in a chair with my head laying next to a loved one on a hospital bed.It took me awhile but I finally figured out that my own health was in jeopardy.Please take the time to take care of yourself also,Eat,drink fluids and rest whether you feel like it or not.If you drain,You both drain.

Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

Thanks ATrue Patriot

I am just feeling so drained. I just made a couple of fresh eggs from our chickens....now my 7 yr old (scared from the situation) is asking for eggs too.
Good home food. Makes you feel comfy.
My husband's crtippled mother wants me to pick her up toorrow to bring her to the hospital. Half an hour in the opposite direction, then driving an hour to the hospital, then wheeling her chair in thru the hospital. Tomorrow will be hard. And I've kept her from most of the truth of the situation anyway.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

Moms are important Aphrodite

As I said,I have been there,You are now on here to help make yourself tired so you can just get a couple of hours of rest.Please,Do yourself a favor and go try.Even a few minutes now and then will help greatly.You are the glue to hold it all together.We will all be watching out for you and will still be here when you get caught up.Take care of business first.Positive thoughts go with you.

Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

Thank you, very caring person

I'm just hanging here with like minded poeple, very supportive people like yourself. When my son goes to bed, I'll be off soon too. I just can't seem to wind down....

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

I know,That's the hardest part.

It took me awhile to figure that one out.Take care and try.

Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

good for you--

I have been working to reduce my craving for sugar and chocolate--

and it's working--

Thank you, Michael. I am allergic to cigarette smoke, and so I appreciate anyone who quits smoking.

And, I've never been rude to a smoker; I've never given a person smoking anything a 'nasty' look--

I just have to get away before I get truly ill--

so I can't exactly be 'friendly' with someone who has a cigarette in his/her hand, and that's sad--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Wrong Approach


I have been a long time viewer of this Website and i have never registered. Until i read this post...

Like you, I am a former smoker of about 16 years (30 years old now). However, the approach you are taking is brutal. The best way to quit to to simply not use will power. Trying to will yourself to not smoke is exceedingly challenging and will make you miserable.

Please, please, please try reading the book "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking". The difference here is that the author removes all myths about smoking, clearly showing how there is absolutely zero benefit to smoking.

When you realize this, and a few other things, quitting is actually simple and well...enjoyable. If you take his approach, you should no longer feel like something is "missing" in your life.

I have been quit for over 8 months now and haven't looked back. Easily the best 20 dollars i have ever spent!

I wish you all the best on whatever approach you take.



LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

My last try to quit

I tried for the last time 3 years ago. Each day got worse and worse. After 5 months 100% smoke free..I was a nervous, crying all the time, ill temperred bitch from hell...I just wanted to kill anyone that looked at my cross eyed..I mean REALLY..KILL THEM
I had to start back up..and when I did..within 2 weeks..that desire was gone..with the exception of wanting to put a pillow over my husbands head when he snores...OMG..HES LOUD..windows rattle
But for those that can quit...THATS GREAT..HUGGZ

I believe in Hope & Change..I Hope the government will Change
Spindale-Rutherford County-North Carolina

must admit...

I have one really healthy addiction -- walking everywere.
Not a day goes by if I don't walk at least couple of miles.
Never owned a car...now I am heading downtown 4 miles long walk.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15


Greetings and congrats on your attempt. I too smoke. I am also a recovered addict. I know, from my time in the program and on my own that addiction is a state of mind. Sure, it is somewhat physiological but for the most part I have found it to be psychological. I was addicted to crack for six years and one day I walked away. Sure, I had issues, I struggled for a year until I "GOT IT". Once you "get it", you learn that the power inherently needed to kick any addiction is within you. I smoke still, yes but only because I enjoy it and want to. When I get to a certain age, I'll quit, but only because I want to. It's getting close to that time as I take out the garbage and get winded. Yep, it's just about time. But anyways, good luck to you and your endeavors to become smoke free. I leave you with this, when you get so sick of it that it drives you nuts, you'll quit and that'll be the end of it. Peace...

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act...
George Orwell

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thank you

Good luck to you too.

Will this book help me with

Will this book help me with my addiction to the Daily Paul?

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Michael Nystrom's picture

Ha ha ha

But in all seriousness, yes it will.

Note to self; Don't buy this

Note to self; Don't buy this book!

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

LOL! Some addictions are good for you!


Unconstitutional War - "The story you are about to hear is true; the names and places are being changed to protect the guilty."

Wow! Awesome Review...

I am so glad you followed through with this book. After I read the book, I then got the 10 CD set. It is even better than the book. I was blown away times 2. It is narrated by the dad. I listen to the CD's in my car...and it is incredible. Month 1 gone....It will be year 1 gone real fast...again...I am proud to be part of the DP and happy to make a commitment like this. Even though I don't know you Mr. Nystrom, I feel that in a little way you are holding me responsible for keeping up with my elimination of all the addictive drugs. It is like the DP is a place that I have to answer too. I do not want to come back here with my tail between my legs and said I failed. It will not happen.
And to anybody reading this that is struggling with ANY form of addiction. Please get this book.....it saved my life...made me a new person.

Peace to all in 2011

Michael Nystrom's picture


Indeed, I'm holding you responsible, just as you are holding me responsible, and we are responsible to the whole community, because we've given our words. It is a powerful bond, and something to be taken seriously. Even a small act like this can give others the courage to do it as well - I know, because I've gotten emails from people saying as much!

The importance is not so much in the act itself - that is what is important to ourselves, our lives, our families and our health. But the important part to the community is to keep our word. Promises are the basis of civilization.

Thank you again for the book. The stories in Chapter 8 really blew me away.

OCD for Liberty

is one addiction I hope you never quit.
Sounds like you was jonesin' when you wrote this.
Good Luck with your battle.
I remember you smokin' like a chimney in St. Paul and I surely enjoyed a smoke with you on the ledge at Faneuil Hall.
Try just smoking one cigarette a day.
Go for the roll your own Spirits.
One pouch lasts me a week and less taxes for the man.
Come on Mike, you know you want one right now as you are reading this.
Just a little puff and you will be all set.
There is no need to suffer.