I met a man once who said he’d been hypnotized to stop smoking. It sounded interesting, so I asked him how that had worked for him and he said, “Great!” and told me the story.
He didn’t say how he’d been convinced to try hypnotism. The story picked up when he entered the venue where the hypnotism was to take place. The receptionist charged him $40 and told him, “Go right in, I think they are about ready to start.”
“They?” He thought as he walked in. He’d thought it would be a clinical one-on-one thing where some guy in a suit swung a watch from a chain, but when he opened the door it was an auditorium with 200 other people.
“Damn!” he thought, “They’ve just squeezed me out of $40 for nothing.” But he decided to stay and listen for whatever reason.
The hypnotist arrived, a tall, rail-thin guy from somewhere up north, and began talking about how they were safe because hypnotism cannot make someone do something they don’t want to. The man spoke at length in a droning monotone. My friend said that when he left the room he suddenly realized that two and a half hours had passed but it only felt like about 20-30 minutes.
As he left the receptionist tried to up-sell him on some vitamins or something but he didn’t feel like throwing good money after bad so he left, fast!
Then when he got to his truck and opened the door, he said the smell of old smoke from inside the truck almost made him puke! He had to stand outside the truck breathing fresh air for a while to recover, then he held his breath as he threw all the contents of the cab into the back of the pickup and rolled down the windows. He had developed such an aversion to smoke during that two-and-a-half hour group session that he had to drive home with his head hanging out the window.
Later he went to a bar and ordered a beer. When the waitress showed up with the beer he gave her his last pack of cigarettes and his lighter. She asked, “Oh! Are you trying to quit smoking?”
He replied, “No, I have become a non-smoker.”
He thought that turn of phrase was unusual but he later remembered that was the suggestion that the hypnotist had given him – that he was not “quitting” (nobody wants to think of himself as a quitter) but rather “becoming” something else.
That was in 1995 and he still tells people he has a powerful revulsive aversion to the smell of tobacco smoke or the sight of cigarettes.
Instead of trying to quit something old, he had become something new!