[From Bill Powers (980217.0619MST)]
Dick Robertson (980217.0647CDT)--
Then, the next problem area I'd like to bring up for discussion is that of
intractable behavior, like overeating, etc. or going back to the same partner
who keeps beating up on you figuratively or literally. This brings up the
whole ball of wax of habit and compulsion. I don't think anybody knows
enough yet about these topics, and what I find with trying to bring in the
is that the person says, "Yes, I _know_ that isn't good for me but I can't
myself." Reorganization goes on in cognition but doesn't seem to touch
conflict in the habit-area.
What's "the RS conflict"?
This seems like a good time to give public thanks to Mike Acree. Two weeks
ago, I got a book from Mike called _Allen Carr's easy way to stop smoking._
I finished the book on Feb. 4th, and haven't had a cigarette since. I've
waited this long just to see if it was for real. It appears to be so. You
were very brave, Mike, and I thank you for your temerity.
Sticker inside the book:
Allen Carr's Easyway USA
12823 Kingsbridge Lane
Houston TX 77077
(281) 597 1904
I don't know if I'm really ready to talk about this yet. A couple of
1. Carr is anything but nondirective. You need to be ready to quit, and you
need to make a committment to go all the way through the book and do what
he says. In effect, I decided to put myself in his hands instead of being
self-controlling. The MOL was in the back of my mind all the way, at Mike's
suggestion, but I wasn't trying to analyze Carr's method.
2. Carr uses every trick to get the reader to look at what smoking is
really like. He knows every rationalization, every excuse, every
misperception involved in smoking; somewhere in there I'm sure he touches
on every reader's exact hangup. This is like the MOL with a lot of guessing
about the next level up. He gets it right often enough to outweigh the
3. Carr understands the tricky logic of the conflict behind smoking (and
I'm sure behind a lot of other bad habits -- if I'd been trying to stop
drinking the same approach would have worked). He pounds that message home
as if talking to an especially stupid child, which basically is the case.
The message goes like this: You are smoking to cure the feeling that is
caused by smoking. This feeling is what we call "wanting a cigarette." This
feeling is not painful; it's just a sense of emptiness, and if you smoke a
cigarette or two you can make it (a) go away, and (b) come back stronger in
a few minutes. The only thing pleasant about smoking a cigarette is that it
makes this unpleasant emptiness, which is caused by smoking cigarettes, go
away so that for a moment it's as if you had never started smoking. If you
had never started smoking you would never want a cigarette; people who do
not smoke do not get this empty feeling. That's because it's caused by
smoking. Got it, stupid?
I don't know if the pure nondirective MOL could lead a person to understand
this message spontaneously. Actually, just a few days before the book
arrived from Mike, I had pretty much worked out the basic problem, which
was that I was smoking to get rid of the feelings caused by smoking. But I
didn't see where to go from there. For me, where to go from there was to
have someone else to whom I had given over control rub my nose in that idea
until I actually grasped it. This idea is so startling and so simple that
it simply doesn't connect at first. It's sort of like grasping PCT for the
first time -- everything in you yells that it can't be that simple. If it's
that simple, how come I didn't understand it long ago?
But of course it is that simple. I was smoking to get rid of the feeling
that is caused by smoking, just as I used to drink to get rid of the
feelings that are caused by drinking. Something in me still drops its jaw
at that. But it's starting to seem real.
Enough of that.