Struggling to Quit Smoking? This Technique Can Help You Break the Habit
Living the Life of a Non-Smoker, or the LiON’s model, is focusing on achieving a life as a non-smoker, rather than going through the burden to quit smoking.
LiONS – the life of a non-smoker method starts with principle that nobody wants to be subconsciously an “ex-smoker” or a “quitter”. Because from our childhood, we are programmed to avoid those situations, to fight them. You may be familiar with previous attempts to stop smoking, which were probably failures, because of always trying to quit.
Instead of that, focus on creating a goal that you want to achieve as a non-smoker. Basically, you create the vision of life without cigarettes that you want to live.
The Vision of a Non-Smoker
Let’s design the vision of a non-smoker life – Let’s design your life that you want to live. Let’s define what motivates you, what is unique for you. If you want to be a successful businessman, good. You might find there’s a resource from your experience of a smoker that you can use there.
Or if you want to eat healthier, work more, or just spend the night watching TV without the need to get up and smoke a cigarette. As long as this is your motivation and that you can grow with it, that’s where the coaching sessions start in the LiONS method.
You go through what you need, what you desire, what goals you have in life. They don’t have to necessarily be connected to smoking, but we will connect them together because a lot of people think about their goals while they are smoking and failing to take action, they procrastinate from fear and they compensate that space between smoking and not taking action with – you guessed it – smoking.
Let’s not stop smoking and counting days without cigarettes. When you’re doing that, it’s like you’re driving while watching in a rearview mirror – That’s kind of dangerous, you can smash into something. Let’s see what you want to achieve in life that is so big, that it’s going to be your Lighthouse guiding you to search and follow that goal, even if you never achieve it.
And while you’re doing that, you will pick up some resources, you will achieve smaller goals and smaller targets in your life, because that big goal requires some things to happen into your life. When you quit smoking, you are keeping all those tools and resources. When you’ll want to achieve other goals, you can use exactly the same method to do it, whether you want to overcome anxiety, or be more successful in your career.
We are all unique human beings. The therapist can elicit what their client feels about smoking. How did they get to those feelings? They can go back in the past to see – what motivates them to stop smoking? And does that still apply today? Because you can start doing something for some reason and keep doing it from another.
Usually, over the course 20 or 30 years of smoking you develop a whole ton of beliefs and programs that keep you smoking. It’s really important to elicit that. People are changing their stories about the motives that kept them smoking over a period of time, but it doesn’t matter. It’s important what motivated them at the beginning and what exactly made them want to give it up now.
In a first session, the LiONS method goes through beliefs that keep people smoking. Most of the beliefs are produced by propaganda, some might sound familiar: “it makes you feel calm”, “my tooth hurts a little less”, “I look cool when I smoke” (social aspects of smoking motivate people).
The program goes through one special belief that people are not even aware of – “To stop smoking, I need to suffer first” – and it crushes that belief. There’s a method from cognitive behavioral therapy that it’s being used to help people achieve that. In the next few sessions, the program defines the vision – what’s the goal the client wants to achieve through stopping smoking?
Take one picture where there’s an ideal image of their life, what they’re doing, for example, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, because medicine is advancing each day, maybe 10 years from now, we’re going to be able to live 120 years healthy and prosperous. And the client designs one perfect day using kinesthetic, auditory, visual, to describe that goal.
Resolving the linked emotions
In the LiONS method, the clients receive the assignment to create three or four different goals that they would also like to achieve while doing this. “So after this, we go to something that is unavoidable when we feel some withdrawal symptoms cravings for cigarettes. There we use something that I like to call ‘pain scale’.
We identify triggers that that person usually has when he/she decides to take a cigarette. We go through physical sensations and emotions they feel, and we scale them on a pain scale. So we take a measurement from one to ten to measure the unpleasantness of certain emotions because we don’t want to describe those emotions different than they really are.”, explains Rad.
On the scale in this method, one is like you would’ve been pinched your skin with your other hand , so you don’t really feel it, it’s not a big deal, you can let it go easy. If a client says, for example, his pain is seven, we describe that metaphorically like he fell from a chair, for example. And nine is like ten guys throwing you on the ground and they’re beating you, but you are still alive. So nine is painful. It’s really unpleasant, but it’s bearable because you’re still breathing. You still have a chance. And ten is dead. You’re dead.
In this exercise, the goal is to lower the client’s experience with cravings under nine. “And that’s kind of cool, actually, we have a lot of fun”, Rad says, “You can play with it, throw a joke and stuff, make it playful”. The client is engaged in the whole process.
Also, besides cravings, the method approaches and goes through other situations in life that the clients have, where it is shown to them that those situations in the past may be unpleasant, but they don’t define who they are now, those situations are bearable.
Managing the triggers
There’s always emotion that gets us back to that moment, when some event in the present can trigger the same emotions that we had back then, 20 years back when we started smoking.
The LiONS method also uses NLP, besides hypnosis, to change the perspective on that event. To achieve some goals, we need some resources, and there’s the principle in NLP that says we already have all resources necessary to achieve success or change in our lives.
And in the process of achieving that vision of a “LiONS life”, the client will need those resources and “we go through the process that we call ‘anchoring’ to find those resources”, says Rad.
For example, somebody might need more confidence or a sense of security, and they can go to their past to find that resource – “And we bring that here today and teach our clients how to trigger it the moment they need it”, says Rad.
They will find some challenging situation where they will need confidence and courage to achieve a certain thing, goal. Basically, the method helps the clients relive that situation where they had the resource (confidence, for example), and then it gets anchored and they are taught how to trigger it at the moment they need it.
Embodying the life of a non-smoker
When the client starts living the life of non-smoker, they assume the identity of LiON, they are congruent with being a LiON. We have to define who he’s going to be when he achieved that goal, so we can take a metaphoric personality.
For example, Bruce Wayne is a rich man during the day, and when crime hits at night, he needs to take action and therefore, he becomes the Batman. It’s the same process when working with a client in order to define who he is, who he’s going to be when he becomes a LiON. That’s just one part of defining identity. Then, what action does the person need to take to get to their goal? Define the strategy that’s going to be used.
Then we define beliefs and values towards achieving that goal, what drives the person to get there? And the last thing, what metaphorical character will have that value, who will have those strategies and capabilities? And who takes that action to do that? We define who that person is. And most importantly, for that goal to be achievable, we have to define what impact on the world and on us will have the achievement of that goal?
To test if all this process works for the client, Rad’s process involves creating the future past, relying on the fact that our brain has no clue what’s real and what’s not. “Try imagining that you’re somewhere on a beach enjoying sun, feeling smell of seawater. You hear a bird, you hear people laughing, you feel joy. You see the bright sun. You feel the sand under your feet.
How do you feel when you imagine that situation?” – the client says “feeling pretty good” – “Okay, so now imagine that you’re sitting in the burning house and there’s fire everywhere. How do you feel now?” – the client says “Well, I feel uncomfortable” – “Okay. Each one of these situation is not real, but the feelings you have are real”.
Now we’re going to start creating the future past. We will imagine usual situation where you would feel stressed, for example. Where would you normally take cigarettes? Only now it’s different. You are starting your day with a new set of tools, with new identity that you can assume and everything.
The idea is that the person goes mentally through a normal day, only this time, equipped with a new set of tools, with new identity that they can take on. This final exercise is meant for the purpose of unleashing one’s new mindset and getting ready to live life accordingly.
Drawing inspiration from his own experience with nicotine addiction, Rad created this model to be brought into the world through the path of coaching others. The vision instilled into the model focuses on achieving a life as a nonsmoker, rather than the act of quitting. Through this, Rad is able to tailor the treatment to each client, making it an individual experience for each person by defining what motivates that person, what is unique for that person.
Throughout his practice, Rad Suvajatz has definitely gotten to notice all the subtle mental mechanisms that are at play when trying to overcome nicotine addiction, enabling him to build a model of effective treatment. His own personal experience coupled with enthusiastic coaching set the path for a thriving career in helping as many people as possible lead healthier lives.
About Rad Suvajatz
As a survivor of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rad Suvajatz has an inspiring story of helping people from all over the world overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety. With an experience of almost 15 years as a therapist and coach, he is trained in Hypnosis and NLP, as well as process communication model. From his own experience with nicotine addiction, Rad created the Li.O.N.S (Life Of a Non-Smoker) model, a unique program that helps people all over the world break the habit of smoking and create the life they really want.
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Bilachi, J., & Peres, I. (2018). Effectiveness of Hypnosis Techniques to Quit Smoking. Journal of Global Oncology.
Herring, M.M. (2019). Strategies and Design of Hypnosis Intervention for Tobacco Cessation. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 61, 345 – 369.
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