Stop Smoking: Erika Jean

Erika Jean Hagler
Graphic Artist/Production Assistant
Austin, TX

I was a smoker for about ten years and smoked a pack of American Spirit Blacks every day. I haven't had a cigarette for a year and a half. In the past, I didn't notice that I was out of control until I tried removing cigarettes. When I started smoking again, I would just fall back into that habit. I wasn't in conscious control of anything. When I look back, I realize that this inanimate object was making decisions for me and how out of control that was. I would think to myself that I really didn't want a cigarette, but I'd have one anyway.

I tried the patch and the gum to stop smoking and it was very bad for me. The patch made my arm go numb, my left hand got cold and my heart started beating really fast. I got really, really scared and stopped using it. The gum made my cheek fall asleep. I didn't see the point of getting rid of the cigarette, but relying on the nicotine, so I decided that I could get rid of the nicotine and the behaviors at the same time.

My mom quit smoking with hypnosis a long time ago, so I thought it might work for me. I'd been talking to people who had tried hypnosis to see what it was all about. A friend told me that if I could daydream than I was a good candidate, so I figured that I might as well try it. I found Laura on citysearch and she had a really good rating, so I decided to make an appointment. I was worried about how deep I was going to go because you see strange things in movies and I was concerned about losing control of the process. My experience of hypnosis felt more like guided meditation and it was very relaxing for me.

I thought that this was going to be the most difficult thing in my entire life and it wasn't bad. I really surprised myself with how easily I was able to quit. I've also noticed now that I can breathe easier. It was amazing, about two days after quitting, I took a breath and it was the deepest breath that I'd had in a really long time and I actually got dizzy. I've been able to run, which I couldn't do before and I feel a lot calmer. I had a pinched nerve in my back and now that's gone away because my circulation has gotten so much better. After about a week I completely stopped reaching for cigarettes in the car. After a couple of weeks, I stopped paying attention to cigarettes when they were around me. I don't need cigarettes to relax anymore and I feel much more in control now.

Hypnosis helped to eliminate urges and cravings. Sometimes you need somebody else to intervene and let you know that it's okay to take the next step. This experience has just been really helpful in a lot of ways. It's nice to be able to talk about it because different things popped up that I hadn't expected. If I get really stressed out, I can pick one of my sessions to listen to and that's been absolutely wonderful.

Going through the process has helped me recognize the steps that I needed to take and have the tools that I needed to replace the behavior. The most important benefit for me has been the confidence that I've gained. I've always thought of myself as a confident person, but I realize now that before quitting, I wasn't all that confident about my decisions. I've recommended A New Day Hypnosis to several people that I know because it's been great for me. I'm confident that I'm a nonsmoker permanently because I never think about it in my daily life because it isn't a part of me anymore.