Simon was a spending a fortune on it. Susan alienated all her friends with her addiction to it. Imogen says she used to use it as an emotional crutch whenever she had any sort of stress in their lives. But now, they’ve all miraculously managed to quit the addiction of Hypnotherapy – and it’s all thanks to booze and fags.
Just seven sessions a week, standing outside a pub sharing lighters with complete strangers, gave Susan the confidence to talk to people she didn’t know. ‘I’m much more outgoing now and can make friends with anyone. If I ever feel a bit low, I pop outside, stick a fag in my mouth and start cadging a light off passers by. It’s a ritual that really works,’ says Susan.
The empowerment that comes with making new friends has been a pleasant surprise for Simon. But the great thing about his new social circle is that they all share a degree of scepticism for new age fads but they’re a lot less cynical than you’d expect. ‘Smokers are probably less judgemental than non smokers – and they certainly don’t presume to know how other people should live their lives,’ said Simon. ‘I found a wheezy chest and breathlessness keep me grounded. I look back on my days as a hypnotherapy user with shame.’
At the peak of addiction, Simon was boasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week about his achievements. He was hopelessly addicted to sanctimony – which attack the nucleus accumbens, otherwise known as the pleasure centre of the brain. Hypnotherapy – known by its street names such as tick tock, getting sleepy and StageShow – is regarded as a gateway therapy to the deadly NLP. ‘Once somebody has Neuro Linguistic Programming, there is no cure – they are gone,’ said John Eddington, a leading fago-therapist, ‘the lights will be on, but there’s nobody home.’
The government has now recognised the benefits of Smoke Therapy, allowing cigarettes to be sold in pubs with an eye watering tax contribution.