Hello, I'm Mark Whalen. This is the story
of how the internationally best-selling book, How to Quit Smoking Without
Willpower or Struggle, came to be.
Thirty-five or so years ago, about 1970 I believe, I heard on a radio news show that Joe Pyne had died of complications due to lung cancer. Joe was a Korean War hero who'd lost a leg in service (if
memory serves.). He was my favorite television talk-show host of the sixties.
That was the first time I realized that I must
quit smoking, and began my first failed attempt to do so simply by exerting willpower. I
was about twenty-five years old, and had been smoking for almost twelve years by
then...perhaps a pack a day on average since I'd quit school at sixteen.
I remember that effort lasting perhaps the rest
of the day.
I tried again about two years later. But whenever
I went to my favorite beer bar to play pool as I so loved to do, I had serious trouble
concentrating on anything but the cigarettes being smoked around me. So I made a deal with
myself. I would only smoke while drinking beer and playing pool.
I think it was less than a week later that I
realized that I had smoked my second cigarette, lit from the butt of my first, and had not
put a quarter up for a game of pool, and had not even tasted the beer getting warm in
front of me. Worse, I realized that instead of hanging at the bar my usual two or three
nights a week, I'd been there every single night since I'd made that deal with myself. I
went home and continued to smoke.
The third effort only lasted one more day. I
realized that I could not quit by using simple willpower if my wife refused to join me in
the quit. Her smoking next to me was driving me crazy. By the end of that day, with her
constant refusal to even try, I joined her.
In 1973 I became a "Stage Hypnotist" in
nightclubs, and joined the staff of Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles,
California, as a Clinical Hypno-therapist . There I was Certified as a Master
I became a Charter Member of the American Hypnosis Association, and member of
the AFL-CIO Hypnotist's Union. I specialized in helping people to quit smoking.
But I was still smoking myself, as were most of the others on staff.
What was wrong with that picture?
All my life, from my earliest memories when I
completed first and second elementary school grades in one year, I've been told that I
have an extremely high I.Q. I'm supposed to be "smart". This I have found to
have been far more of a burden in my life than a gift or asset. This fifty years later,
since my debut as Doogie Hauser, being "smart" hasn't seemed to have been
reflected in my income or lifestyle. It certainly has not contributed to my emotional
stability or personal happiness. As the late Charles Shultz's character, Snoopy, once
sighed as he gazed into the heavens from the top of his dog house, "The heaviest
burden in life is a great potential." Of course since then I have come to understand
quite clearly is that to be truly smart means to be truly happy doing what one loves to
do, and being compensated for that pleasure. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how
right or fast you can test on paper. Otherwise, wouldn't every single Jeopardy champion
and Mensa member be a very happy millionaire? But I digress.
So what has this got to do with smoking, you may
I had this thought one day in about 1974, when I
was making new personal resolutions for myself, now that I was single again. The
thought was this: If I am so smart, shouldn't I be able to figure
out how to quit smoking? And do it without using any willpower? An
In those days there was no Zyban, patches, or
Nicorette, or even much of today's consciousness about quitting smoking. People who were struggling
to quit were frequently the butt of television sitcom jokes. (Come to think of it, they
still are. But why isn't heroin addiction just as funny? It kills far less people, and
usually in a far quicker and more gentle way. Not that I would ever try it!)
So for the next few years I started thinking more
and more about my habit/addiction. Together with what I knew about hypnosis, and what I'd
learned about human behavior from the clinical point of view, and from consciously
observing my own behavior with regard to smoking, I began to develop little behaviors that
I did along with my smoking. What I knew I could NOT do was deny myself a cigarette when I
had the urge. I believed that, no matter how hard I tried, or how long I held out,
eventually I would start to smoke again.
So I had to find a way not to want to
smoke. Not just to know in my mind it was wrong, but to know it in my body as well. I
wanted to reverse the desire from craving to not craving. I wanted and needed to figure
out a way not to care about smoking any longer. Not even to think about it.
I knew from my experience as a clinical
hypno-therapist that just getting someone to "act out" the desired behavior
doesn't change them inside, where it really counts. Eventually, almost all will revert. All that kind of hypnotic
suggestion leads to is building a new habit of denying the old habit. Two internal
subconscious forces in opposition. Tends to make one rather tense, and most begin to
sublimate with food, nail-biting, etc. Certainly, most get far more
short-tempered. I know I did.
I knew I had to "mess" with my habit,
disturb it. Interrupt it. Trick it. I had to get myself into a position where I just did
not want to smoke. Not because I knew I shouldn't, but simply because I didn't have any
desire to smoke any longer.
On January 2, 1979, at about 10:00 p.m., in a
beer bar in Reseda, CA, after not having an urge to smoke for perhaps a month or more, I
picked up a cigarette and took two drags from it. I started to cough and get nauseated,
the way I did when I very first seriously started to smoke at fourteen.
I looked at the cigarette, and then at myself in
the bar mirror and realized...I had DONE IT! After nearly two decades of living almost
daily with a smoke at hand, I did not want that cigarette and have never wanted one
again. I was no longer a smoker!
And I did it without willpower or struggle. Or
patches or pills or shots or gum or vitamins or herbs or any device whatsoever. I just
figured it out. I "unlearned" how to smoke.
In 1996, my daughter admitted to me that she'd
been a smoker for about twenty years and was trying desperately to quit. I told her that I
would write down for her the things I'd done, and how I did them, so that she could
do them and quit too.
Each night after work, before dinner, I'd come to
my computer and work on this letter to her about how to quit smoking. Finally after
perhaps a week of this, my wife said to me, "What are you doing, writing her a
I realized I was. I finished it, formatted it
into chapters, designed a simple cover, and had it bound at Kinko's. I made a couple of
I sent it to her, and she used it, and did quit.
I showed my book to a friend, an ex-smoker whom I
consider to be very intelligent and insightful. After he read it, he immediately handed me
the money to create PresMark Publishing Co., open this website, and begin to share this
information with the world.
So for the last ten years, that's what
we've been doing here. If you really want to quit for good, and "cold turkey" is
as hard to do for you as it was for me, and the pills or patches don't help much, buy my
book, read it, and use it. If you decide you don't like it during the first month, send it
back. I'll give you your money back (less shipping). If you use it fully and consistently
and are still smoking next year, I'll give you your money back, including shipping...TRIPLE!
Now here's a list
of the places where this book is being used. >>>