By Dr. Carol Look, Master EFT Practitioner
A 40-year-old man, “Fred,” contacted me for help to quit chewing tobacco, a habit he began during his college years. He had become so good at hiding the “chew” that he could use it during business meetings and cocktail parties without anyone discovering it. He had tried quitting before, but had never succeeded beyond the first few urgent cravings or predictable stress-related relapses.
I introduced Fred to EFT and began by asking him how high his current craving to chew tobacco was on the SUD level of intensity scale, a scale of 0-10. After opening his tin of tobacco and smelling it, he said his current urge was about an 8. (I always ask smokers to bring their cigarettes, lighters and tobacco.) We tapped for the current craving until his number was reduced to a 2 or 3. The next round of tapping made him feel nauseated and repulsed by the smell of his tobacco.
I then asked Fred about his “favorite” times of the day for chewing tobacco.
These, of course, needed to be neutralized. His first choice was with his morning coffee. I had him smell coffee out of a coffee tin from my office freezer and then smell his tin of tobacco. Despite his nauseated feeling associated with the tobacco after the last round of tapping, he was able to rate a new urge as high as a SUD level of 8. We tapped for the coffee/tobacco craving until it was reduced to a 1 or 2.
Even though I want to chew when I drink my coffee, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though the smell of coffee reminds me of chewing and relaxing, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Fred’s next most difficult time to resist chewing tobacco was when he drank alcohol with his friends. I had him imagine being in this setting drinking his favorite beverage with his best friends and NOT being able to chew. His discomfort and anxiety reached about a 7.
We tapped as follows:
Even though drinking makes me want to chew, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I crave chewing when I drink, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I’d feel anxious if I couldn’t chew when we’re all together drinking, I deeply and completely accept myself.
I continued to pursue future times Fred could anticipate when he might miss chewing tobacco or feel anxious without the security of it. He suspected he would feel anxious during business meetings without his tobacco, so we tapped for this scenario. His final projected difficult time without tobacco was picturing himself in the car on a long drive with his two child being loud and restless.
We tapped as follows:
Even though I feel anxious if I can’t chew in the car, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I feel the need to chew when the child are screaming, I deeply and completely accept myself.
I then asked questions about the “upside/downside” of his addiction and any beliefs about himself and the tobacco.
The following “tappable” feelings and beliefs emerged:
“I feel rebellious when I chew.”
“I don’t want to give it up, I’m afraid to give it up.”
“The upside is that it makes me feel strong/ it calms me down.”
“The downside is that I’m sick of the smell.”
“I hate being “had” by an addiction. I’m ashamed of that.”
“I believe I need to use something.”
“Chewing keeps me entertained when I’m bored.”
“Chewing keeps my feelings suppressed and I need that.”
We tapped for all of these feelings and for the loss and sadness associated with giving up his long-term “friend.” (Much to Fred’s surprise, this triggered other losses which we evidently needed to tap away.)
We continued to tap for any remaining feelings and fears about future urges, withdrawal feelings, not being able to chew when stressed out, and any other discomfort associated with quitting.
Twenty-one months later, Fred has remained free of his chewing tobacco addiction although he continues to tap for emotional feelings and limiting beliefs that get in the way of his personal happiness.
He finds EFT gives him great clarity of thought and direction in addition to calming him down.
It is important to note that Fred has weathered extremely stressful times over the past year that would have normally triggered a relapse had his deep anxiety and grief not been neutralized with EFT. The top two potential relapse triggers Fred faced were his year-long unemployment, which has caused deep marital conflict, and the death of his father after a battle with cancer. Despite these enormous losses and stressful times, Fred has not needed to tap for any urges to resume chewing tobacco.