Quitting Smoking


After more time than I care to admit online, I quit smoking in 1994.  I'd been a "light smoker" smoking only about a half a pack a day for more than a decade.  But the habit was taking its toll.  With a history a respiratory distress, smoking was insane.  But, of course, such is the nature of addiction.

I'd tried a wide variety of ways to quit.  In 1990, as a result of some personal (non-physical) trauma, I quit smoking "spontaneously" for 21 days.  But, then, I thought I could "have just one" and the addiction restarted with a vengeance.

In 1994, after taking a course in school in behavior modification, I had the opportunity to see b-mod in action.  I was amazed.  I thought it could only be hokey stuff some rat-trainer invented. But IT WORKED!

I developed this spreadsheet to track my "smoking behaviors."  B1 was the first week of January and my New Year's Resolution, my only resolution, was to track baseline data (only).  In fact, I decided that I would NOT try to quit this year (1994).  Looking at my data, I must have started Monday, January 3rd, 1994.  I was excited and highly motivated, so I'd already reduced my habit from about 10 a day to about 3 a day... ...but I couldn't quite quit....

You can see from the grid, that each day of the seven day week is divided into eight (8) three (3) hour segments.  I call this the "bioclock" because a three hour segment is the length of two BRAC cycles.  That is, the physiology of the body follows a rhythm that makes changes, starts cravings, etc. every 90, 180, 270, 360 .... minutes (multiples of 90 minutes).  Of course, our bodies RARELY follow some external clock, but I hoped that certain patterns might show up when the data was recorded this way.

It worked!  I started seeing what days & times of day I smoked.  I developed a plan to quit that started at T1.  As I had been taught in my B-Mod course, if my plan "failed" then the target behavior (the one I was trying to eradicate, namely smoking) would actually increase as a result of "partial reinforcement"!  You can see this by the dip to 18 (the plan was working) followed by the increase to 28 (the plan "failed").

But B-Mod, properly applied, can out-trick the trickster that enslaves us (the addiction).  Just as I was taught, I made detailed descriptions of the "failure" and repeated the baseline process with meticulous attention to detail. 

My second attempt at quitting smoking succeeded.  And, for the first time ever, I was free of the tobacco addiction for more than 21 days.  In fact, my first day free of tobacco was March 10, 1994, and I'm still free....