Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beware the Saboteur

Often a smokers best meaning friends and family are their worst enemy when trying to quit. Smokers need support and encouragement, but our supporters often are saboteurs instead. On Franks first day, his wife asked how he did that day. Frank, a two pack a day smoker, admitted that he smoked two cigarettes. Instead of congratulating him on not smoking of the other thirty eight, she focused on his weakness and jumped all over him for smoking the two.
Many smokers have quit for varying lengths of time, only to relapse back into their regular smoking patterns and at the same time hear, "You were doing so good, I can't believe you're smoking again". What the smoker hears is "What's wrong with you?" A better response is, "Wow, you quit for (X period of time), that's great! You probably learned a lot that you can build on the next time you  quit. You  overcame a lot to quit for that period of time and I know that the next time you'll do even better! Keep up the good work."
When working with smokers, I never focus on the negative behavior but always something positive. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things a person ever does and only needs positive encouragement because they beat themselves down more than anyone else ever could, why add to it? A smoker can tell you every time they fail, they slip, they relapse because they focus on the negative or what they did wrong instead of focusing on what they have done right. By believing they must be perfect instead of believing in progress, the smoker becames his own saboteur.
Help a smoker with positive encouragement by saying,
"You're doing great!"
"I know you're struggling, how can I help?"
"So what that you slipped, look at how many times you didn't slip!"
"I know you'll be successful when you're ready."
"I know it's hard finding the right tools to quit, so what if (whatever was tried) didn't work, you're moving in the right direction because I know you'll find what will work for you. Just don't give up looking."

1 comment:

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