The Perfect Drug
Once upon a time,
not so long ago, there was a bountiful and busy society. And
people of this society decided that if they were to be more
bountiful they would need to be more busy. So they slept less,
ate less, they even cut back on breathing and stretching. How
could that be?
Well they had discovered the perfect drug. It didn’t
interfere, much, with busyness: it stimulated them when they
were fatigued, relaxed them when they were tense, suppressed
their appetite so they could skip meals and as a bonus even
got them to breathe properly. All in all, it was the perfect
The years passed and the bountiful society’s busy scientists
discovered that the perfect drug wasn’t so perfect after
all. Not only was it harming people, it was killing them. Some
people stopped taking the drug but most said “I need it
to be busy and it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
More years went by; then government and businesses discovered
that the perfect drug was costing them Big Bucks and that was
But what to do? The busy society needed this drug to be bountiful.
So everybody put their heads together and came up with some
One group said ‘what if we modify the perfect drug so
it is less harmful?’ and that was done.
Another group said ‘we already have a drug for something
else but it also causes people to not want the perfect drug’.
So it was repackaged and sold for that purpose.
And finally, another group said ‘we’ve designed
a new perfect drug to replace the old perfect drug’.
And people said ‘Thanks we will use these drugs to help
us quit the perfect drug when we get around to it.’- except
most of them never did. So this story has no ‘happily
ever after’ … yet.
What does Cognitivequitting have to offer? - Stories.
Once upon a time some seekers sought far and wide, for years
and years until, weary and defeated, they returned home only
to discover …we all know how this ends….That what
they sought was there all along. How can that be? They weren’t
paying attention. They didn’t notice. It was simply overlooked.
Recently on the Antique Road Show a man brought in a plain,
simple blanket that had been in his family for generations.
He was just curious about it. It was worth half a million dollars.
The first stage of cognitivequitting is about paying attention
to what has been there all along, though overlooked, and recognizing
its true value.
The next stage of cognitivequitting is about Mistaken Identity.
There are way too many stories about mistaken identity to sum
up easily so I’ll just remind you of a few: the frog is
really a prince, the ugly duckling - a swan, the beggar at the
door is a king or god in disguise. Beauty marries the beast
and the nerdy kid next door grows up to be Bill Gates. Things
aren’t always what they appear to be. So how can you know?
Well, you learn to match appearance with performance. If a frog
is extremely well mannered, pucker up. If you’re always
there for a friend and they’re never there for you. It’s
time to reassess the friendship. The second stage of cognitivequitting
is about discovering exactly what nicotine does for you - not
what you think it does.
The final part of cognitivequitting is about dealing with monsters.
We all live with an interesting psychological dynamic….
What we desire is usually paired with what we fear. We want
love but fear rejection. We want success but fear failure. So,
in the fairy tales every castle has a giant, every bridge a
troll, and every treasure is guarded by a dragon. How do you
deal with monsters? There are a few ways. You can try to slay
them, but that requires a great deal of personal courage and
strength. Or you can try to outwit them. When you make a deal
with the devil, you need to find the loopholes. Or, and this
is my favorite because it requires thinking outside the box,
you can tame the dragon, befriend the giant and hire the troll.
Then you could fly anywhere with some muscle to back you up
and never worry about your infrastructure crumbling. The third
stage of cognitivequitting is about recognizing that the problem
is actually the solution. Cravings are a powerful force that
you can use to your benefit once you know how.
Cogntivequitting deals with:
What has been overlooked?
In addition to addictive needs, you have been taking care of
some basic physical needs with nicotine. Once you are past the
physical addiction, those basic physical needs remain and now
have to be taken care of in a non smoking manner.
What has been mistakenly identified?
You think you were smoking because you were angry. The real
reason you smoke is because your muscles are tensed up when
you are angry and a cigarette will ease the physical discomfort
of being angry.
So the question is no longer, “why do you smoke?’
The question is really “what exactly does nicotine do
for your body and how can you do it for yourself?”
What do I do about these overwhelming persistent cravings?
Cravings are simply your body’s way of insisting that
you take care of it and it’s always your choice how to
do that. As soon as you take care of your body’s needs
in a timely, appropriate and effective way, your craving for
nicotine will dissipate.
How’s that for ‘happily ever after’?
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Stephen Polansky All rights reserved.
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