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Letters From Listeners

Habit Reversal Training

I was listening to you discuss Habit Reversal Training (HRT) with a caller who had trichotillomania and was reminded of a method I used to finally, finally quit smoking that I wanted to share.

First, I had to admit to myself that it wasn't working on my own and I needed help. So I went to the doctor and got a prescription that could help; I picked a date to quit down the road and I got this quit-smoking app for my phone. This app instructed me to push a button in the application whenever I had a craving or whenever I actually smoked a cigarette according to my smoking schedule, as well as, if I smoked one outside of my established schedule. The app gradually stepped me down in the number of cigarettes I smoked per day based on the date I had picked to completely quit. The app did all of the math for me and tracked everything I did to reach my goal. The Habit Reversal Training aspect was that instead of grabbing a cigarette when I had the habitual impulse to light up, I was instructed to open up the app and hit a button whenever I had a craving for the record. The app would distract me with and assignment to go do something or call someone, or do push-ups or it gave me words of encouragement or showed me a gross picture of what the lungs of a smoker look like but then it also reminded me that I can smoke, but just a little bit later according to my schedule which was already gradually stepping me down to zero smokes per day in the distant future. And that is just exactly what it did.

It completely illustrated the journey with graphs and charts of cigarettes smoked and not smoked and cravings in between since I began the program.  Now 136 days past my quit date as a non-smoker, and at a savings of over 900 dollars, it still tracks my cravings and plots them on a chart for me to see. I'm still monitoring my progress as my cravings become fewer and farther apart. I can see now that I have, on average, only about one craving every week and a half, and since I don't have any cigarettes lying around the house and the craving passes in a few seconds now, I don't smoke. But I do still hit the "I have a craving" button in my app, on the impulse I have to grab a cigarette. I started a savings account that automatically deducts the cost of a pack of cigarettes every day from my checking account and am planning a fabulous adventure vacation for myself this summer. With all the extra energy, I joined Crossfit and am doing, looking, and feeling spectacular. Just wanted to share Dr. Laura.

Thanks for doing what you do.


Tags: Addiction, Attitude, Behavior, Health, Mental Health, Response to a Call
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