If you prefer to listen to a podcast about the holistic way to quit smoking or want more information and ideas, check out The Evolution Wellness Podcast Episode 6.
Do you genuinely, 100% WANT to quit smoking?
Or maybe you’re more like 80/20, 70/30 or even 50/50? Part of you really wants to quit, but another part of you doesn’t even want to consider it?
Understanding how ready you are to quit smoking is an important first step and it’s okay if that fluctuates moment to moment or day to day, in fact that’s pretty normal.
Whenever we’re in the grip of addiction, there’s almost always a part of ourselves that would rather be free, but at the same time, there are reasons that we’re addicted in the first place that keep the addiction rooted in place, and we can’t just snap our fingers and make those go away. A portion of that is the physical addiction to a substance, but to a larger degree, our minds and emotions keep us in a perpetual state of needing and it’s this state of “needing” that keeps us reaching for our substance of choice.
The holistic approach to any problem is about addressing the body, mind and spiritual root causes and healing or resolving them. Healing addiction certainly requires a holistic approach and the majority of addiction treatments don’t adequately address (or even investigate) the true root causes of the addiction in the first place, which is why they are rarely successful.
Statistics on success or failure rates of conventional addiction treatment are virtually non-existent because of the high rates of relapse and the inability to follow individuals for the duration of their lives to adequate assess the permanence of their recovery.
Addressing the “Body” component of addiction
To overcome addiction, we will inevitably need to address the physical “need” to smoke which we can think of as the actual, physical addiction to nicotine. Within 10 seconds of inhalation of a cigarette there is an unnatural flood of chemicals in the brain that overwhelms it and causes the sensation of pleasure that addictive substances are known for. We become accustomed to this regular, unnatural flood of chemicals and when the floods stop, our brains don’t quite know what to do next. Fortunately, this addiction is not as hard to break as you may think. Nicotine is largely gone from your body within 48 hours and your brain will try to rebalance itself immediately when the nicotine hits and the chemical floods stop. Supporting your brain with good nutrition, some supplementation, homeopathy, sunlight, exercise and lots of water can help it recover it’s natural, healthy state much faster. It’s highly possible that in some cases, the brain needs on-going support due to nutrient deficiencies, neurotransmitter imbalances, gut -brain axis health issues or other “physical” problems that we need to uncover and correct. This is how we address the “body” component in healing addiction and it can’t be skipped, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Healing the “Mind” component of addiction
In order to permanently quit smoking and truly heal the addiction, it’s essential to uncover and resolve the deep, often unconscious drivers for addiction. Some of these drivers are things that made us susceptible to becoming addicted in the first place and some are additions, added over the years of being in an addicted state that keep us there. We often hear the term “self-sabotage” in regards to these drivers, but my thinking on that has evolved over the years. Now I think of these drivers as completely reasonable and common elements that all humans develop as an attempt to solve some sort of deep problem. We’re not actively sabotaging ourselves by continuing to smoke, it’s much more likely that we’re trying to help ourselves in a messed-up, backwards sort of way that doesn’t really make sense when we unpack it.
Where this deep work starts and the path it takes is highly individual, but there are common patterns to explore.
Sometimes it’s helpful to understand the reasons we began smoking in the first place since this can point to deep, underlying fears or needs that the smoking seemed like a solution to. For example, needing to fit in to a peer group is a very common reason we begin smoking. This sort of thing depends on our evolutionary “caveman” brain that desperately needs to be part of a tribe. Being excluded is as good as dead to the caveman brain, and it can certainly feel like that to the adolescent brain as well. Chances are being excluded from the “smokers club” is not something that would terribly upset you today, but in many cases, that old subconscious wiring that made you want to fit in still has some power over your thinking and behaviours.
It’s also necessary to address the fears, resistance and general negative emotions associated with quitting smoking. These can range from fears about withdrawal, fear of failure, feelings of deprivation, depression, anxiety, irritability etc. or resistance about our identity and our perceptions of self.
To address and truly heal these mental/emotional components of addiction we need powerful tools. In my experience we need multiple tools that can resolve and clear energy and subconscious blockages, which traditional counselling strategies can’t touch. EFT Tapping is one of the best of these tools, which is why it’s my main modality but there are many others that we can use in conjunction such as Orpheus (formerly known as PSTEC, which is another modality I use in my smoking cessation protocol), hypnosis, Reiki, Z-point, sound therapy and homeopathy.
Understanding the “Spiritual” elements of healing addiction
I have to start this section by saying I’m not an advocate for 12 Step programs, although I do like some of the elements of them, my type of spirituality rejects any religious dogma and wholly rejects the idea that we are broken sinners that should repent and beg for forgiveness from a “God” outside of ourselves. To make it brief: I believe that we are all “Source” energy manifested here on Earth in a physical form with an ego and a limited human brain and our goal here is to awaken to our true, divine nature while living in this physical world.
The fact is that smoking (or the use of any addictive substance) is your system’s (body, mind and spirit) way of solving a problem. Mind you, it’s not the BEST solution, but if we can understand it as an attempt to get into alignment with our divine self, feel better or solve some sort of problem we’re experiencing, it can breed self-compassion and self-compassion is a powerful stepping stone to complete healing.
Working on the mind and the emotional body often results in deeper inquiry that inevitably leads us to the spirit or what some may refer to as our soul. Human struggle and challenges can be an impetus for deep spiritual growth and expansion and addiction is perhaps one of our greatest potential challenges due to its ability to completely hijack our autonomy and our soul intentions in this lifetime. From a spiritual perspective, it’s possible that we’ve set ourselves up with a big challenge for the “fun” of it or for the conscious expansion we could experience as a result. We could compare it to how we expose ourselves to ice baths or haunted houses, learning to overcome the brain’s response to the discomfort and fear and keeping our wits. From the spiritual perspective, an entire lifetime on Earth is the painful exposure that we have the ability to experience without losing our spiritual wits. Addiction can be like being dunked into an ice bath blindfolded and with your arms and legs tied and your soul may have been saying “oh yeah, that’s a good challenge, let me see if I can I get back to remembering my true divine nature with THAT hurdle!”
If that resonates with you, you can apply that concept to any challenges we face in a human lifetime. If nothing else, it helps our limited human brains explain the pain we’re experiencing and sometimes making some deeper meaning from pain does alleviate it to some degree. Watch out for the potential of using this idea as a way to “by-pass” the deeper work and convince ourselves that it’s all fine, it’s not fine and the goal is to heal and move through the pain, not to by-pass it. When you start doing this type of spiritual work you’re never “done”, there is no “done”, only more expansion.
Quit Smoking for Good
Most people have tried to quit smoking multiple times and it’s natural to have reluctance to trying again, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve never used a comprehensive holistic approach that involves addressing the body, mind and spirit in your past attempts at quitting.
If you’d like to learn more about my approach or how to work with me so you can permanently stop smoking, go ahead and book a free 15 minute consultation here.