What is Different About This Approach?


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Addiction theory is used throughout.

As in all addictions, the opponent is not the agent, the alcohol, the meth, or the nicotine. Smokers are frequently surprised to find that their actual opponent is that pesky, immature, acting-out pleasure center in the middle of their own brain. The focus is not on the cigarette, the cigarette is just the agent. It takes the principles of “train your brain” and mindfulness to recover. They also need to realize that most of the cigarettes they use during the day are simply used to ward off withdrawal symptoms.. Dangerous pleasure pathways in the brain need to change.

Self-esteem/self-worth is a motivating force.

As the smoker begins to add smoke free days to their life they are reinforced. Mirror talk and other uplifting internal conversations are helpful. “Are you worth it?...” is a question the smoker can be asked and can be directed to ask themselves each morning. A “Good morning” and a wink into the mirror has surprising results. Personal power with a Higher Power is the foundation. Outside supportive relationships in dealing with recovery from nicotine addiction needs to be stressed. Spouses, children, siblings, partners, friends and co-workers provide validation and support. It is very difficult to recover from an addiction in secret. An energetic, no nonsense Cheering Squad nourishes the spirit and helps to keep the goal in sight.

Emotions coupled with experiences can serve as our client’s sixth sense.

Regardless of what they say, smokers know inside that they “have to quit”. Nicotine dampens emotions, that is what smokers count on from their cigarettes. An internal struggle is ongoing deep within. Emotions coupled with values can serve as the clients driving force to recovery. The smokers thoughts and feelings regarding their smoking and its related behaviors, its costs, its impact on self and others can give rise to many feelings requiring expression. The average smoker attempts to quit 4-5 times before they are successful. Guilt, feelings of inadequacy and weakness, and self-shaming arise. Acknowledging these feelings and dealing with them gives impetus to the job of quitting and gives hope for recovery.

Nicotine addiction is a family disease.

Just as in other addictions, recovery requires that the love for a partner and for family must regain the number one spot in the addict’s mind. Sound familiar? The addictions treatment field was slow to pick up on this in the 1970’s. Now we know nicotine addiction dynamics are similar to other addictions and require family involvement for the benefit of the addict and for the benefit of each member of the family. A therapist once said she knew she was “Second to Mom and Dad’s cigarettes, no matter what...”

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