The decision to quit smoking is often unsuccessful in practice because a person’s psychological preparation has not been adequate. In other words, his will may have been strong, but his strategies weak again. Maybe he hasn’t had clarity about the reasons that have led to smoking, or he’s not convinced of the real benefits of quitting smoking.
Addiction to tobacco is physical but also psychological. A person does not smoke just because of a habit, because there are reasons behind this activity that he can ignore. Tobacco, no matter how harmful it is, also offers some form of well-being or relief, even if it is transient. Therefore, quitting smoking also means saying goodbye to that relief and well-being.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and giving it up requires effort, but also in many cases, psychological preparation and practice of intelligence. But all of this doesn’t have to be related to an organic theme. When a person starts smoking, he or she develops a whole series of different habits and behaviors around tobacco. Quitting smoking also means leaving behind a frame of reference all wrapped up around this behavior.
Behavior related to smoking can be associated with, for example, social conditions, moments of moments after a meal, and feelings of loneliness or anxiety. Psychological preparation through smart training could help reduce exposure to these contexts as much as possible – especially in the early stages of smoking cessation.
Reasons for smoking
Argentine psychoanalyst Gustavo Chiozza has created an interesting analysis of both the causes of smoking and the causes of intolerance among people who smoke, which is so widespread today. According to him, tobacco is a kind of “spiritual food” for the smoker. In addition, Chiozza has also pointed out that it is not so much a tobacco smoke in the body for the smoker, but the fire that produces the habit.
He notes that a large number of people start smoking during adolescence and adolescence, and that they usually do so by stealing cigarettes from their parents or another adult who smokes. In this sense, the roots of smoking are to be found in the significance of the offense. In a symbolic sense, fire was stolen, as Prometheus did, to make him equal with the gods. For teenagers, this act is equivalent to entering the adult world.
The initial robbery, that entry into the adult world, also causes a sense of unconscious guilt, compounded today by intolerance of people who smoke in almost every space. When this transgression and guilt is combined with great tension with the adult world, the desire to smoke grows and so does self-punishment. This would bring up a compulsion that is very difficult to get rid of.
Reasons to quit smoking
Returning to the previous paragraph; the smoker finds anxiety, guilt, and self-punishment. The starting point for all this is usually adolescence, when tobacco was symbolically an announcement of its arrival in the adult world. However, if that adult world rejects this announcement or causes very intense tensions, the smoking pattern will have even deeper roots.
Finally, while this may sound absurd, people smoke to say “I am”. And when we say that, we feel guilty. To a large extent, almost all people who smoke can go through feelings of anxiety and guilt, combined with the sense of conviction a person feels when smoking. It’s enjoyable and rewarding, but at the same time self-destructive.
The reasons for quitting smoking are almost as important as the reasons for smoking. If motivation is censored, it is subconsciously assumed to re-experience the limitations of childhood in front of adults. For this reason, many people fail in trying to quit smoking: somewhere very deep within them, they perceive it as giving up rebellion and “quitting being”.
It is estimated that about 60% of people who smoke try to quit smoking at some point in their lives, but only 10% of them succeed in this task. In most cases, this is because there is an unconscious force that will ultimately overcome conscious motives in favor of quitting tobacco.
Perhaps one good idea to quit smoking would be to strive to see certain techniques further afield and rather start by understanding what a cigarette really means in everyone’s personal life. This process in particular can be helped by trying to remember the first moments when you started smoking. What conditions surround that moment? What feelings did smoking at that time produce in you? What feelings is it producing in you right now? In what situations do you feel most that you need to get tobacco?
Tobacco addiction, of course, has a very strong physical component, and from an organic point of view, there are already many effective excipients to treat this, ranging from nicotine patches to e-tobacco. What sometimes fails in this process, however, is the motivation to quit. Psychological preparation to quit smoking, that is, studying what smoking means in our lives, can help us understand the self-destructive axes produced by this harmful habit. And perhaps what can arise through this perspective is that we finally allow the emergence of a stronger desire than smoking; the desire to stop harming ourselves.