At one time or another, I have been a smoker for a lot of years. I learnt, thanks to my old man who smoked Phillip Morris Plain, to enjoy (OK, that’s a mind thing … it’s not really enjoyable) cigarettes without filters … I was a Camel Plain man for so many years, lapsing occasionally into rolling my own before, and then for a long, long time, becoming a Marlboro Red man when they were 16s (hardened smokers will know what that means).

After recently spending 10 months on the road and living in a tent (OK, it was a flash tent, some would call it a camper trailer) I was a rollies bloke again. Until a couple of weeks ago I was smoking two 50-gram packets of Champion Ruby a week.

OK, so I had trouble making it up anything more than four stairs (yeah, my age may have contributed). Bugger this, I thought, I’m stopping the fags.

I’ve done the hypnosis thing a few times over the years — it seems that I’m a good subject — and it always works, usually for a good while. There always seems to be dodgy circumstances that get me back on them (fags, not stairs): I hung out with a woman who smoked (on so many levels) and didn’t succumb to the smokes until we were at one of our many break-up stages.

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying that a couple of weeks ago I went to see Angelo, the hypnotist, and I’m travelling beautifully.

The secret to making it work is that you have to want to give ’em away, unlike my son’s ex-girlfriend, who smoked on the way home from Angelo’s office after a session. I wanted to quit.

I drove to Angelo’s place, armed with the last of my tobacco, my lighter and a bottle of water. After a quick chat I threw my tobacco and lighter into the large basket in his room (it’s full of fag packs and lighters) and settled into arguably the most comfortable chair my bum has ever been near.

Away he went, talking in his (they seemed familiar) dulcet tones, extolling the virtues of the Winkler method (no, it’s nothing to do with the Fonz), a method developed by someone years ago and one that works.

Angelo took me to new levels of relaxation. I know I fell asleep (for just seconds) three times during our session and that each time I woke it was because of the almost surreal voice from somewhere in the distance.

Truly, I was aware of my head — nothing else, no hands, feet, legs, body for that matter; a total form of relaxation and concentration on what Angelo was saying. I haven’t experienced that form of calm since I smoked some amazing sh-t during the ’60s — there I was standing under a waterfall, totally at peace with the world, when the man in the North Carlton deli asked me whether I wanted something and why was I staring so intently at his fridge…

But I digress.

I walked out of Angelo’s place $250 lighter in the pocket (it’s $200 a head if there are two people), but sure that that would be the only mention of lighter again in my life.
I quit. I’m more motivated, I don’t snack to compensate for lack of smokes, I drink lots of water, I’ve stopped coughing in the mornings and, oh yeah, I don’t stink. Well not in a stale tobacco way anyway.

And already, food tastes better, wine tastes better and I reckon I’m good for at least 11 stairs already. Now I’m single again, if only I can find a non-smoking woman.

The details: Angelo can be contacted here. Or Google a hypnotist near you — there’s plenty of them.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey