Is detesting really necessary?

All, a number of posts recently discussing the psychology of this, on other threads in other places on the forum.

I'm quitting cold turkey - no pills, gums, ecigs, hypnotherapy, just stopped and that's that. Part way through month three, but some posts have made me nervous and here's why.

Allen Carr. I haven't read the book, and understand there is more than one. But those that have (and please correct me if I'm reading this wrong) appear to believe that actively hating smoking as a repulsive, dirty act is necessary to ward off any further temptation.

So I'm nervous because actually I don't hate it. I do know that:

It costs a fortune

It's antisocial, smells, gets ash everywhere (not a problem as I only smoked outside)

And above all it kills you, and can make the run up to your untimely death agonising for you and your family.

Is it enough to know that, and understand that to never take another puff is absolutely necessary? Can you just move on, or will the imp always be there on your shoulder unless you develop a conscious, abject hatred of it?

I know. How can I possibly have enjoyed it?? Inhaling smoke, wtf??. I'm very strong, but I believe I did enjoy it and the reasons above are enough to keep my abstinence forever. And that's psychological, and that's why the consensus that hatred is required makes me nervous.

16 Replies

  • I don't think you should worry.

    Allen Carr's book does give the impression that he had come to hate smoking but I certainly don't think it's necessary, and (unless I missed a chapter) he didn't say he believed it necessary to come to despise it.

    In actual fact, I tend to think that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference- at least this has made sense in my head re former boyfriends(!) so

    I don't see why smoking would be any different :)

    I think you sound like your head is absolutely in the right place. For some people, growing to hate smoking will be inevitable and/or desirable, but for others it will work differently.

  • It is a while since I last read Allen Carr but my recollection is that the important thing is to see smoking tobacco for what it is. So not necessarily hating it but understanding the illusion. And from what you say, you certainly seem to see through it. No need to worry.

  • In my opinion the most important thing is that you become happy with being a non smoker, if you try to live your life constantly wishing that you did still smoke and regretting that you don't you're going to have a pretty miserable time of it, and probably start again.

    I don't think its necessarily important to detest it but many do and actually find it a helpful stage in becoming a "happy" non smoker.

    Understanding why you smoked (basically maintaining the nicotine levels) tends to let you move away from the idea that smoking is much of a pleasure. I'm not of the opinion that there is no pleasure in smoking just that its misunderstood. The pleasure comes from relieving the stress on your body caused by not having smoked, the best anαlogy I can come up with is when you have been on a long journey and are desperate for a pee. When you get to go is a great feeling of relief and the same is true of smoking its removing a stress on the body. Obviously a lot of smokes are either habitual or front loading the nicotine levels but its not the pleasure in the use of the drug, once you are addicted, its using the drug to feel like non smokers do all the time.

    IMHO I think quitting isn't just about abstinence its about changing who you are.

    Don't be worried though you are doing great and things will fall into place over time and I would strongly recommend reading through the Whyquit website if you haven't already (link in my sig).

  • Morning Hawkeye

    I've read the [original] book and I must say that is not a message that I got from it, so from my point of view the answer to your question is 'no'!

    I thought overall it was a good book; I certainly don't regard it as a 'holy grail' - whilst it changed a lot of my perceptions, I didn't agree with all of it. Ultimately it's just the view of one person, so if you do read it, do so with a critical eye and take on as much or as little of the message as you want.

    You say you believe you enjoyed smoking and this is one area the book discusses in detail. There is a difference between enjoying smoking and not enjoying not smoking (if that makes any sense!) - worth a read!

  • I don't know if this is anything to do with my recent discussions about how to deal with nostalgia, but if it is I think you have misunderstood my drift.

    It is by no means necessary to detest smoking. As long as you understand it, and understand that you can't afford to light up again, then what your personal reaction is to smoke and the act of smoking has no bearing on the situation.

    Of course there's a difference between not minding smoking, and actively feeling drawn to it, and wanting it. The latter, needless to say, does put your quit in danger.

    Personally I used to feel like you and had no problem with it at all. My active dislike of smoking developed by itself some considerable way (like a year plus) into my quit. So now, if I do ever have one of those moments where the idea of a cigarette appeals, I can use that to my advantage. It wasn't instrumental in my quit though.

    Don't worry, you just do and feel whatever works for you :)

  • Think it's different for everyone Hawkeye :)

    Personally, I'd be smoking again if I hadn't made myself hate it - sounds bad but until just before I quit was either content being a smoker or still liked it - and all my previous quit attempts have failed 'cos I didn't hate smoking.

    But that's just me, everyone's different and we all quit differently and all find the thing that works for us!!

  • Hi Hawk

    Hope you are well?

    I’ll throw my two penneth into the soup!

    I always said I would not detest smoking. I too "hugely enjoyed" smoking and when I quit the smell was still quite nice to be perfectly honest.

    I still don't hate smokers, I respect their right to smoke and would not be hostile to them if they smoked in my presence... although I would not put myself in a position where I was breathing the smoke.

    As you say, I knew smoking was a ridiculous thing to do, the thought of sucking smoke into my lungs was horrific ... even when I was still smoking.

    “How on earth am I going to stop doing this” I would say to myself .... whilst coughing my lungs through my ribs!...but I have quit and I will stay quit, without the need to detest.

    However (just to confuse things slightly!), in the last couple of weeks, without conscious effort I have started to believe the smell is in fact at best not very nice and at worst foul.

    This has followed on from my quit – not my reason to quit or stay quit …. (Gawd … I really hope that makes sense!)

    I have a theory about the Allen Carr method … I have read “The Easyway” twice and although it helped a little it was not the answer for me.

    In the interests of peace and goodwill though … I’ll keep my theory to myself :)

    Take care mate


  • Phew! Glad I posted that one then.:)

    Firstly Helsbelles nothing at all to do with your nostalgia piece which I really enjoyed.

    I guess I'm posting ignorantly having never read the book. My determination to simply cut smoking out of my life seems to be ok for now. I do think however that if it lit something couple of inches from my face I'd certainly recoil and maybe gag too, so in that respect maybe my perception has turned inherently negative. And I'm comfortable right now to be indifferent to smoking, indifferent to smokers and happy with my path. So similar to Newleaf i think. I don't 'hate' it, but don't like it now ether - I was just nervous that that stance might not be enough long term, hence posting on the 1+ year room.

    Really useful replies all, thanks a million!


  • Having been stopped for about 35 days, I would like to say I didn't mind the smell at all, but since being away with my partner for a few days and watching him disappear every 10 mins or so, I find the smell on his return revolting. So bad I move away, I don't want him to be offended, as that was what I smelt like a few weeks ago, and I haven't mentioned anything to him but feel he will notice shortly, ah help, what do I do?

  • Hi Jane,

    In a lovely moment of togetherness and harmony you could mention how much healthier you feel and how much better your sense of smell is....then after a little peck on the cheek you could tenderly ask "do you not want to quit too darling?"

    Failing that, buy him a lazy boy chair and stick it on the other side of the living room.....oh....and tell him he's sleeping in the spare room! :) hehe.

  • I daren't ask him, I think he'd ask for the lazy boy chair lol

  • Am feeling really grumpy 'cos of Singles Awareness Day and am in the kind of mood that if I hadn't made myself hate smoking would see me lighting up. :(

    Suppose we all cope differently.

  • Yeah Gemma.

    I'm finding it difficult too.

    My wife and I were happy for 26 years ..... but then we met!!

    What is Single Awareness day chuck?

    Doesn't that happen every night in most towns? ... isn't it called going out?

    I know you don't mean you would light up....noooooo....not our Gemma bobs



  • Yeah Gemma.

    I'm finding it difficult too.

    My wife and I were happy for 26 years ..... but then we met!!

    What is Single Awareness day chuck?

    Doesn't that happen every night in most towns? ... isn't it called going out?

    I know you don't mean you would light up....noooooo....not our Gemma bobs



    Oh LOL that is funny!!

    Singles Awareness, it's kind of a joke - for single people on Valentines with all the loved up couples around if you get what i mean!!

    I'm not going to light up, definitely not but a lot of that's 'cos I've made myself hate it so much - would be touch and go otherwise!! It's safe now though :)

    I like Gemma bobs :) x

  • The Nature of the Beast


    That you think at all about smoking and smokers themselves is an indicator you are still in the process of quitting! One of the nicest things about 'having quit' smoking is that you don't pay it a second's notice. It's gone and you don't think about it at all. You might snort or chuckle when you see a crowd--na, more like a small, forlorn group--shivering in the cold and puffing away. Otherwise, you become more or less like me and maybe drop by here every 8 months or a year when you remember that once upon a time you were a smoker.

    As far as Mr. Carr, my take away from him was that people who do smoke spend most of their time not smoking. They smoke to get rid of the crave and to feel 'normal'. To stop smoking is to start getting rid of the cravings and to start feeling normal.

    Good luck on your quit! You'll get there

    Quit October 27, 2007

    Method: Cold Turkey and this forum.

  • I don't hate smoking, if I did I wouldn't have done it for 15 years. I enjoyed smoking. Didn't smoke out of boredom or cuz I was addictied I smoked cuz I enjoyed it. Every part of it. From the opening of the packet to rolling my cigs..

    But after nearly 10 months I enjoy being a non smoker more. As no more craving and wishing the days away so I can just have one. Or nipping of fir a fag in the middle of a meal with non smoking friends.

    But I still don't hate smoking tho

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