By Allen Carr
Reviewed by Raymond B.
Allen Carr's latest edition of his book "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking" gives a good outline of his method. He has now expanded this to include weight loss, stopping drinking, losing the fear of flying etc. He sharply criticizes AA and the treatment center industry and a new book “The Easy Way To Stop Drinking” is forthcoming. His criticisms of AA are wide-ranging, but basically he is critical of any organization which encourages what he describes as “group-dependence”. So, I suppose SOS would come under this also. He appears to view support groups/recovery meetings in much the same way as Jack Trimpey -- an unnecessary impediment to living a drink/drug-free life. He does tend towards absolutism -- “My way or no way”, but I chose to ignore that, as there is a lot of good stuff in his thinking and methods.
Basically, I was presented with the following :
1. Nicotine is actually very easy to come off-the withdrawals are very mild and only last a few hours.
2. All the carcinogens have left the body three weeks after the last cig.
3. The "withdrawals" are illusory and come from the individual's own fear of not smoking, plus brainwashing by multi-national conglomerates. I was shown examples of subliminal advertising which were shocking, to put it mildly eg. people trying to hang themselves because they couldn't smoke etc.
In a nutshell, the Carr method seems to be the simple truth about smoking.
In addition to reading the book, I also attended one of his courses-a one-day affair comprising lecture, cross-talk and a spot of hypnotherapy at the end for good measure. I have had no cravings for a cig, nor am I overeating. I have no trouble sleeping and no-one has said I am more bad-tempered than usual (apart from this damn computer). I felt a bit peculiar for the first few hours, but basically that has been all I have had to endure. I feel OK.
Allen Carr's website is at : http://www.qwerty.co.uk/allencarr.
A lot of people in the UK has stopped smoking purely by reading his book, without any sessions at all.
The one thing he is missing is any sort of group support. He does have a help line, though it is UK only.
I have to stress, though, that if what you are looking for is scientific propositions backed up by rigorous research and data-analysis, you won’t find it here. Carr basically states his view and then provides examples which back up his claim.
As you can tell, I am a big fan of Allen Carr. I do have some reservations about the method etc. but the fact is that I haven't smoked, nor have I had the horrific withdrawals I went through so many times. I feel good without a cig. That is the best recommendation I can give.
One last word of caution for an audience with a secular outlook-I read his latest book "The Easy Way to Lose Weight" recently and he announces in it that he has metaphysical beliefs in a "Creator" (vague and unspecified , but supernatural all the same) and describes atheism as an immature outlook. While his method is brilliant (because it works) I don't know that I would care for the sort of self-indulgent pontificating he seems to have turned to, to flesh out his pages. . He is most definitely not a theist in the conventional sense of the word, but his pseudo-metaphysical ramblings may turn some people off.
~Ray B. is a member of SOS in the UK.