Nicotine Addiction: Scare Yourself Straight into a New Life

Jim Christopher Health Guide
  • Recently, I accompanied two dear friends to Amoeba, a large DVD warehouse on Sunset Boulevard. While they shopped in other areas of the two-story facility, I found my own way to the documentary section and happened upon legendary documentary, "Scared Straight!," shot in the 70's. Hosted by actor Peter Falk, the Oscar- and Emmy Award-winning piece recounts the day seventeen teenage male and female lawbreakers (in trouble for assault and battery, arson, auto theft, breaking and entering, and possession and distribution of narcotics) spent several hours inside the Rahway (New Jersey) maximum-security prison with dangerous criminals, self-named "the Lifers." These hardened inmates gave the teen offenders in-your-face uncensored personal accounts about what life is really like in prison.

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    Twenty years later the whereabouts of all the participants in that earlier film were successfully tracked, including Lifers who'd presented their program to the kids that day. In the two-decades-later follow-up piece hosted by actor Danny Glover a few former kids and Lifers had died, a few Lifers were still in prison, some had been paroled and were now living productive lives and a majority of the kids, now adults, had been so powerfully impacted by the "Scared Straight!" program, they changed the course of their lives that day; most had remained on course, a new direction which included stopping drinking, using drugs - including nicotine - and criminality.

    It seems to me that when we deliberately direct our own attention, both cognitively and viscerally, to the debilitating realities of our individual smoking addictions and get in our own faces about this issue, so to speak, we are more apt to make a decision to stop smoking and to stay with that decision, once made. When we keep in our own faces about this horror and viscerally assault nicotine addiction for what it is, stripping it bare of any remaining shred of perceived glamour or feel-good attributes, we can at last be free. Free from phlegm, persistent coughing, listlessness, lack of interest, immobility, etc.

    Deeply felt commitments can be kept, can be our new strength, our personal empowerment to flush tobacco down the toilet forever. I did. I, along with limitless others, support you.

    So, "scare yourself straight" into a smoke-free life. Nicotine slavery needn't define your existence. Do it for you!


    More from Jim:

    Addiction Arrest: How Not to Crave a Smoke During a Crisis

    How to Stay Nicotine Free in the Face of Pain

    Freedom from Nicotine: Life on the Other Side of the Fence

    The Loss of a Pal, No Need for a Smoke

    Visit me at I look forward to being with you again next week.

Published On: September 05, 2008