My realization that smoking was associative, led me to try to do it alone. I told everyone in my social circle that i had quit, and smoked in secret when I had to. I don’t generally espouse lying but it might be a prerequisite in this case. I stopped using smoking as an aid to social situations, or as something to do with my hands and mouth when i was pensive. I focused completely on the very process and did not accompany smoking with anything else at all. What this method encompasses is, being very aware of smoking, from lighting it, putting it on your lips, inhaling the smoke, exhaling, to flicking the ash and throwing the butt away. I also focused on the sensations in my mouth and lungs, as well as the blood rush. It reduced my daily intake immediately, made me despise smoking, and along with other measures, helped me kick the addiction for good.
Reminds me of something Nate Soares wrote:
When I was quite young, one of the guests at our house refused to eat processed food. I remember that I offered her some fritos and she refused. I was fairly astonished, and young enough to be socially inept. I asked, incredulous, how someone could not like fritos. To my surprise, she didn’t brush me off or feed me banal lines about how different people have different tastes. She gave me the answer of someone who had recently stopped liking fritos through an act of will. Her answer went something like this: “Just start noticing how greasy they are, and how the grease gets all over your fingers and coats the inside of the bag. Notice that you don’t want to eat things soaked in that much grease. Become repulsed by it, and then you won’t like them either.”
Now, I was a stubborn and contrary child, so her ploy failed. But to this day, I still notice the grease. This woman’s technique stuck with me. She picked out a very specific property of a thing she wanted to stop enjoying and convinced herself that it repulsed her.
Ah, right. Twix. I forgot about this one. While depressed, I gradually ramped up my consumption of Twix from the vending machine near my office to over 1 per day (2 since they came in pairs?). I wanted to stop, tried several times and failed, remembered about a technique I’d seen on LW. Tried it. Have not had a single Twix for many years.
Technique: bought one Twix. Slowly, mindfully, broken off pieces and threw them in the trash, carefully imagining that I was tasting the Twix and that it was full of maggots. Took… a few minutes? Craving gone.
Instead of lying you could just set a bounty that you pay $10 dollars to anyone who catches you smoking in a social situation. That will get you to stop smoking in social situations.