Why do people continue to smoke, or resume smoking after they quit, when logically and intellectually they don’t WANT to smoke? I believe it is because smoking makes them feel BETTER than not smoking. If we ask smokers to look at what they feel before they pick up a cigarette, there is usually some emotion—some unpleasant feeling (mild or intense) that… after they smoke… feels a bit better. From this perspective, smoking makes a lot of sense. The smoker is choosing emotionally to feel better. Who doesn’t want that?
Inby Pat Farrell, we see how an emotional issue triggered a return to smoking:
I asked her when was the most recent time that she started smoking again. Her eyes welled up and she said, ”In February, around my anniversary.” She then told me that she had been separated for 3 years and her divorce had been final for about a year. “Every February is hard.”
In this case her husband had left her and she had been blindsided by it, never suspecting his affair with a younger woman. Since she was in such emotional turmoil, I followed that lead and worked on her feelings of sadness (9) and betrayal (10). We did one round of tapping on the sadness and betrayal, combining them both at the same time.
Her numbers went down slightly. I then asked her what her relationship with her father had been. She told me that he had left when she was 2 and she had never seen him again. She and her sister had made plans to see him for really the first time when they got a call that he had died. She felt sad and betrayed that he had died before they had gotten the chance to meet him.
I am not clear what led Pat to ask about the client’s father. Many times such leads can come from intuitive leaps or other comments the client offered. What this opens is another doorway into those feelings of sadness and betrayal. Another question that can lead to other doors, especially if the intensity number is not coming down quickly, is “Who or what else does this remind you of?”
Even though I really feel betrayed that my father died before I could meet him…
Even though it makes me sad that he left when I was 2 and I never got to know him…
Even though he left and never came back again…
We tapped on these issues until the sadness and betrayal were gone. I then asked her to allow her body to give her a number that represented the sadness and betrayal she still felt about her husband having left for another woman and it was down to a 2 & 5 ½ respectively.
Then we started tapping on “Even though I have this fear that my husband is going to betray my children and not see them again…” and she got visibly upset. We had hit it.
Notice: another door, this one holding far more intensity. EFT has a way of bringing these to the surface. It is like the body-mind knows that what is happening is helpful and brings it all to the surface. In most cases, the intensity is a good sign, especially since we can usually bring it down very quickly through continuous tapping the acupoints.
We tapped through all of the emotion and fear in that, and she said that she could breathe much better. We also tapped on forgiveness of her not being good enough, not pretty enough, not young enough. We tapped on guilt that it was her fault that her husband left because she wasn’t young enough or pretty enough. (She is absolutely gorgeous).
I then asked her what level the craving for a cigarette was in her body. She had already said that she had no desire for a cigarette. Then I asked her when she usually smoked. It was in the morning when she had coffee and at night after she had put the kids in bed. We tapped on the craving at both of those times and talked about other things she could do in that precious time that she had to herself. She determined that a semi-meditation would bring her much joy.
Tapping on the situations and times of day where smoking is likely is like pre-paving a positive experience with our intention—a powerful part of the art of EFT.
All in all, during the hour that she was with me, we only tapped directly on cigarette cravings a total of about 3 minutes. She left a happy non-smoker.
Two weeks later: I just now checked with her and she doesn’t even want a cigarette. She did say that the first couple of days were rough but the friend that referred her told her it’s just the nicotine working its way out. She told me that after a meal or some other times she’ll think, “Oh, I’ll go have a cigarette” and then remembers that she doesn’t even want one. I suggested that she tap on “Even though sometimes I forget that I’m a non-smoker…” She says she’s doing great. Hugs -Pat
I want to share stories like this one so that smokers who happen across them might have a bit more optimism that they can employ a tool like EFT to help quit for good. So many have tried to quit over and over again, only to find that without a way to harmonize the emotions of anxiety, betrayal, fear, inadequacy, and stress that smoking will return—because it WORKS. I have seen EFT work with my clients, too, on the same emotions. If you learn how to use EFT for these emotions, then smoking becomes a true choice… smoke or not smoke… rather than one that seems to be controlled by a part of us that doesn’t respond to logic or to threats of long-term ill health.