Spoiler alert - I’ve been nicotine-free for several years now and have absolutely zero desire to start up again. No cravings, no longings, no desire to ever do that to myself again.
What is this doing on a wealth building site? Nicotine is a huge drag on your wealth building efforts. It’s like trying to run with a tractor tire chained to your waist. You can do it, but it takes much more effort than normal and you will be running a hell of a lot slower. There is no healthy version of nicotine, and there is no form of nicotine addiction that won’t rob you of your wealth building energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s cigarettes, chew, snuff, cigars, pipes, vapes, gum or patches. It’s still dragging you down.
So what can you do about it? You’ve tried to quit numerous times and you always ended up back on nicotine. Read on to learn about the easiest quit I’ve ever had.
I started smoking regularly when I was 16. I worked hard at it. The smoke irritated my throat and lungs, made me tear up, and made me sick. So I gradually worked up my smoking skills by mixing a little smoke with a lot of air and after a few weeks, I got to the point where I was a regular old smoker. Yay!
And I found myself chained to my nicotine addiction for the next 28 years. Like all smokers, I “quit” many, many times. Usually in secret and for periods lasting less than 2 hours. Occasionally I was able to quit for longer periods of time. Once I even quit for a couple months, pretty much hating everything about life for those couple of months. My favorite tactic for resuming smoking was to try to make everyone around me as miserable as possible until somebody said something like, “Why don’t you go smoke a cigarette?”. Then I could light up guilt-free, knowing that it was actually their fault for not supporting me better.
One day I was scrolling through a financial forum, trying to get a better grasp of a particular investment asset, when I noticed a totally unrelated post by one of the regulars. He declared that he was going to quit smoking on Monday using Allen Carr’s Easy Way method, which he hyperlinked.
Who was Allen Carr and what was the Easy Way? I was certainly curious and I clicked the link. To my surprise, it took me to an Amazon page showing a book, of all things, titled Allen Carr's Easy Way To Stop Smoking. I thought, “Yeah, right! I’m going to read a book and quit smoking. Give me a break!” And I immediately hit the back arrow on my browser.
Just as the page disappeared, my eye caught a glimpse of the review bar. I had to go back to see if I saw that right or was just imagining it. There were a thousand reviews and 4.5 stars were lit! That didn’t make any sense at all! I’d quit smoking before. I’d been around others who quit smoking. People who were quitting didn’t give 4 and 5 star reviews. I don’t even care if the method worked, quitters were miserable. They didn’t give 4 and 5 star reviews.
Well, there was no way I was going to waste $12 finding out (the bad math of the smoker. If it stopped me from smoking 2 packs, I would have come out ahead). So I checked my library and sure enough they had a copy.
At the beginning of the book, he recommends that if you are still smoking, you continue smoking until you finish reading the entire book. Well, by chapter 3 I wanted to quit. I kept smoking as he suggested, but every cigarette thereafter was foul and miserable. I tried reading faster so I could quit sooner. Every afternoon after work I would go out to my garage, light up my cigarette and read the book. On October 31st, I finally finished the book, stubbed out my last cigarette, and tossed the rest of the pack. That was my easiest quit ever.
I wish I could say it was my last quit. A week later, all the cravings came flooding back. I agonized for about a week with them and by week 2 I decided “Enough”. And just like that I was back on cigarettes like I had never quit in the first place.
It took me a long time before I finally figured out what went wrong. I came across an online book called Freedom from Nicotine written by John Polito. If any non smokers are reading this, it’s probably already pretty obvious to you. My mistake was that I ingested nicotine. One week after I quit, I lit up a cigar with a friend. It tasted so horrible that I almost immediately put it out, wondering how in Hell I ever used such things before. The event didn’t even really register consciously. I didn’t really think about that cigar again until I read Freedom from Nicotine. I didn’t inhale cigar smoke, so I didn’t figure I was getting any nicotine; at least not enough to make any difference. But even just handling tobacco will give you enough nicotine to make all the difference between quit and not quit. If you’re going to quit nicotine, you have to quit it altogether. No cigarettes, not even a “puff”, no cigars, no vapes, no gum, no patch.
Allen Carr’s book does a great job of making quitting easy. But there are a lot of pitfalls for quitting smokers. Nicotine, obviously. But also caffeine. Quitting nicotine makes it harder to deal with caffeine, so if you don’t reduce your caffeine intake, the effect is similar to doubling your intake, making you extremely anxious and irritable.
I recommend reading Freedom from Nicotine first. Then read The Easy Way. Take notes of a few quotes from The Easy Way that really speak to you (you’ll know what I mean when you read it) that you can review frequently. Then reread Freedom from Nicotine to remind yourself that what you’re experiencing is normal and will pass quickly.
Q: Do you know what the difference is between a nonsmoker and an ex smoker?
A: For any given problem, there are a number of possible solutions. Only smokers and ex smokers consider smoking to be one of the possible solutions. It never occurs to nonsmokers that lighting up a cigarette might be a solution to a problem. Smoking isn’t an option to a nonsmoker.
When people ask me when they should expect their cravings to go away, that is my answer: When smoking is no longer an option for you, you will cease to have cravings. It’s a conscious choice that only you can make, and you can make it the first day, after a week or a month, or never. Nobody else can make it for you.
After that, when you see a smoker, you will feel compassion for them, knowing the misery they’re in. And you’ll have absolutely no desire to join them in their misery.