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If you are a therapist or a coach who normally does not see actively addicted clients, but you have smokers in your practice, then you know you are seeing actively addicted patients. Contrary to popular opinion, they are indeed “under the influence”. The insulating effects of nicotine addiction are great enough to affect your counseling efforts and, of course, your clients’ on-going physical health.

Many major smoking cessation programs miss, poorly identify or do not emphasize addiction theory, emotions, and self worth. If any attention is given to them, it is secondary to the primary teachings of the program. These programs are mostly educational and task oriented. Their components serve a good purpose and are needed. However, smoking clients have difficulty learning them selves well. To break the addiction, they need to change the pleasure pathways of the brain, use the feelings of the heart, and answer the yearnings of the soul. This is serious business. The individual wanting to recover from this powerful addiction deserves a complete program.

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 told me she knew she was “Second to Mom and Dad’s cigarettes, no matter what happened...

"I DON'T SMOKE" CAN SERVE AS A TREATMENT PLAN AND/OR AN AFTERCARE PLAN...

Be a Part of the Solution...

Suggested First Steps

THESE ARE POWERFUL AWARENESS STEPS

Perhaps, do no more than physically mark the outside of the smokers medical record; list nicotine addiction on the problem list; code out the inside of the patients/clients chart with whatever DSM-IV designation(s) are appropriate:

  • 305.90 Nicotine Dependence

  • 292.9 Nicotine related disorders

  • 292.0 Nicotine withdrawal

  • Issue a copy of "I Don't Smoke!” It can be used for private study by the patients/clients

  • Train staff on the concepts and tasks of recovery used in the book.

Integrate the concepts and tasks into treatment plans:

  • Reading assignments can be given out.

  • Checklists in the book are good for Group and Nicotine Anonymous discussions.

  • Use the “Dear John” letter and “The Funeral” as experiential group exercises. Smokers and non-smokers benefit by saying goodbye to their addictions.

  • Build appropriate parts of the aftercare plan from the book per the therapist’s directions.

  • There are many additional ideas in the book

Or simply give a copy to the patient upon discharge and so note in their record. Or place the book in your bookstore. Whatever you do can add to what is presently being done for nicotine addiction in your facility.

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