God bless Allen Carr and my big brother Joe

Allen Carr died on 29th November 2006 of lung cancer. Though I never met him, this man touched my life in a very special way. It was reading his book ‘The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ that led me to kick the habit exactly 20 years ago to this day.

I started smoking when I was 13, and by the time I stopped I was getting through some 30 cigarettes a day. ‘Having a fag’ was, quite literally, the last thing I would do before going to sleep and the first thing I would do once I woke. I would never be without cigarettes on my person. I saw myself as seriously addicted. I hoped that through some miracle I would wake up one day and just not want to smoke again.

I remember the day I stopped quite clearly. It was during the Easter break while I was at medical school. My housemates had all returned to their family homes for the holiday, but I stayed on ” with the hope of doing some serious catching up on my studies. As was often the way in those days, the work was not going that well, and I was easily distracted.

One morning, a brown package came in the post. I recognised the writing on its outside as my brother Joe’s. Inside, was a copy of Allen Carr’s book with a note that simply read: It’s so nice to be free. My brother, a smoker as stalwart as I, appeared to have stopped smoking with the aid of Carr’s book and was keen to pass the ‘gift’ on to me.

I have to admit, as I started reading the book I had no intention of stopping. I remember seeing the book as a convenient diversion from my studies. One of the instructions in the book is that you should continue smoking as you read it. This, I have to say, I was more than happy to do.

As the day wore on, I persisted with the book, and got, well, hooked. Carr’s main point, it seemed to me, was that smoking addiction is more a psychological issue than a physical one. He also made strongly the point that the correct attitude of mind is imperative if one is to stand a decent chance of stopping, and staying stopped.

That night, I finished the book while taking a bath. I had a last ‘ceremonial cigarette’ while lying in the luke-warm water, and have never smoked a cigarette since.

I owe my stopping to Allen Carr and my big brother Joe, and it is my intention to honour them here.

Now, I realise that not everyone will necessarily have a ‘guardian angel’ in the form of a sibling or friend, but most of us do have access to Allen Carr, even posthumously, in the form of his iconic book. 20 years on, my enthusiasm for ‘The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ remains undiminished. I heartily recommend it for anyone considering kicking the habit.

7 Responses to God bless Allen Carr and my big brother Joe

  1. Angi 23 March 2007 at 3:04 pm #

    I also owe Allen Carr a huge thank you. His devotion to the cause of stopping others smoking has been such a help to me. I am so sorry he has died, but am so grateful to him and his work and want to honour him too. Thanks Allan!

  2. Tiggy 24 March 2007 at 1:39 am #

    I have a copy of this book that I bought to lend to people wanting to give up smoking. But not everyone will read a book and my friend gave up in a group context on the basis of being highly competitive and wanting to appear a winner in the group. So maybe it takes different methods for different people.

    My sister met Alan Carr and his wife when her son was modelling on This Morning and she said what lovely people they were.

  3. Jo 6 April 2007 at 7:30 am #

    I’ve just stopped – using AC’s method. Second time for me, but it’s all about a frame of mind, just let AC get in there and you really are free.

  4. Ryan 26 November 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    Allen Carr has leaded me through this maze for the second time now. I made the mistake of thinking I could never get hooked again after the first time I read the book; little did I know after the first one I was already hooked. So now I am 1 week into my second time using this method and am certain this will be the last.

    RIP Allen Carr
    Thanks for setting us free

  5. argelia malle 5 December 2009 at 2:54 am #

    I set my self free from nicotine addiction after I listen to his audio book. My sister Ana pick it up at the library and gave it to me. I did not ask for it but I am glad she did. I stop smoking before finishing the audio disk two month ago. It was his description of the secret smoker what shocked me the most, when he described him self hiding form his wife and not sharing moments together because he preferred to be smoking. I was the same way but in front of my 18 years old nephew Mauricio. I did not want him to see me smoke and I found myself avoiding his company just to be able to have a filthy cigarette in my mouth. How pathetic. I cried a few time while listening to the disc seeing my self in many of his descriptions. I am free now thanks to him, I owe him my life and my freedom. I am sad to know he is no longer alive.
    Thank you Mr. Carr.
    Argelia Malle. Dec 4th, 2009

  6. John Dicey 20 February 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    It’s wonderful to hear so many lovely comments about Allen here. Rest assured – everyone at Allen Carr’s Easyway To Stop Smoking organisation is working tirelessly you ensure his legacy achieves its full potential.

    Best wishes
    John Dicey
    Worldwide Director
    Allen Carr’s Easyway

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