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How I Stopped Smoking and Why Avocado is Good for Me

Firstly, I hate Avocado! But more about that later.

I started smoking when I was 13 years old. I was at boarding school and we snuck out one night and under a bridge somewhere in Pretoria, I took my first puff.

17 years later I knew I had to make a change. I went through all the common smokers mind games to get myself to stop but like so many people, I just found a way to convince myself to start again. I even stopped once for an entire year and then, like an idiot, started up again.

I was smoking about 5-10 cigarettes a day and of course much more when I was out partying.

Finally when I admitted that I had an addiction and it was controlling me, I knew I had to stop.

And I went cold turkey. Here’s how I did it….

I realized that when put in certain situations I didn’t need to smoke and so I knew there was a way out. I knew that it didn’t have complete control over me.

I then recalled a technique Tony Robbins had written about in his book, Awaken the Giant Within, called NLP. At the very basic level I understood that I could use this approach to rewire my brain so that I changed the way I thought of smoking.

I am not going to try and attempt to explain how NLP works. I will leave that up to the experts. Honestly, I don’t really remember doing much research. I was so desperate to just get it over and done with and I felt I understood the basics so I dove right in.

The plan was simple. I would figure out how to get my brain to associate smoking with one of the worst things I could think of.

Man Throwing Up in Bathroom

Now I am not proud of this but I have thrown up a few times in my life. It’s a very emotional, disgusting state to be in and it was the most personal thing I could think of to do this association with.

I was still smoking obviously and so what I did was, every time I would light up, I would start this process of making myself feel like I wanted to throw up. I would get so close to the actual state that often I would be on the verge of the actual act almost every time.

I would also often just pick up an unlit cigarette, smell it and go through the same state change. Then I would do the same thing when I got around other smokers. I can only guess at what my face looked like to them but I never said anything and just kept it up constantly. As many times as I could, I would remind myself to get into this terrible state and associate it with smoking. It was a very unpleasant undertaking as you can imagine.

The results were quite incredible though. Within a week or so I had cut down to almost nothing and it wasn’t long after that I quit for good.

I haven’t smoked another cigarette for 10 years now and in fact I did such a great job that when someone has just had a cigarette and get anywhere near me, I literally want to throw up.

I have absolutely no problem with being labelled an ex-smoker.

Why Avocado has been so good for me.

Then I went through an addiction to crisps phase more recently. I am being serious, yes.

It started about 2 years ago. Salt and Vinegar crisps especially. It was embarrassing actually. Every time I went into a store to get groceries I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a large packet or 2 if there was a special on. It got so bad that at one point I was finishing a bag every night by myself and this went on for weeks on end.

Finally when I finally admitted that I had an addiction and it was controlling me, I knew I had to stop.

And I went cold turkey. Here’s how I did it….

I started to notice that when I was around people I didn’t have the craving and even if there was crisps around, say at a party, I wouldn’t eat a whole bag. I knew that it didn’t have complete control over me.

Feeling quite silly about the whole thing, I recalled the approach I had used to stop smoking. I decided to give it a try with rewiring my brain’s association with crisps. I knew it had to be all or nothing because I didn’t want to give myself an out by just choosing to avoid a particular flavour. It’s daft I know but this is how the brain negotiates with you.

I didn’t think, though that the association had to be as dramatic as with stopping smoking. I had another idea.

Avocado on white background

Now, I am not a big fan of avocado. Actually, that’s not true. I genuinely detest it. I have tried to eat it a couple of times in my life because it is apparently so good for you but I just can’t. In fact the only benefit of having tried it, is the deep emotional attachment I have to how utterly gross it is.

This was going to help me.

In exactly the same way, I started to associate eating crisps with eating avo. What I dislike immensely about it in particular is the texture and so I used this mental and physical association to eating crisps. I started with the technique while I was crunching on my favorite salt and vinegar flavored crisps and with every bite, imagining that I was biting into avo and battling to swallow every mouthful.

I also did this association every time I went into a supermarket by walking into the crisps isle and creating this association, not just in imagining myself eating the crisps but also the act of placing a packet into my shopping basket. I would instead imagine that I was putting avocados into the basket. I would do the same if I was out at a party and the host had placed crisps out as snacks.

It also only took about a week or so and its’ been 5 months since I had any crisps at all. No cravings and no replacement habit.

It has been a very powerful experience and such a great learning curve that I decided I want to explore this topic further and see what other possibilities exist with this technique.

I came across an NLP online course a week or so ago and I am going to start working through it.