FAQs‎ > ‎

Q. Is it OK to smoke in your house?

All our properties are non-smoking and we encourage all smokers to stop smoking while they are here for the week (see following note).

The effects of smoking on feelings

What do people get out of smoking? It is a complicated question that has created challenges for researchers. Some smokers use cigarettes to stimulate themselves, in particular their mental processes. Others use them to calm themselves, and many individuals use cigarettes for both purposes at various times. Which way it is it then: are cigarettes a stimulant or a depressant?

Naomi and I believe this particular paradox of cigarette smoking can be explained if you recognize that cigarettes are feeling inhibitors. Feel fear or powerless deep down? Smoke a cigarette and cut those feelings. With those feelings temporarily less accessible, a smoker is more ready to go out and face the world (stimulant). Feel angry? Smoke a cigarette, mask the feeling of anger, and it's easier to cope (calming effect).  

Stop smoking altogether? All the feelings that have been masked come welling up, particularly the most uncomfortable ones. Easier to grab another cigarette and push them down again. If people want to interfere with their inner being in this way, that is totally up to them. But there is an element of counterproductivity involved in trying to get more in touch with feelings (becoming more alive) and continuing to smoke (a deadening process). It's one foot on the gas with the other foot on the brake. We believe a similar process occurs with other many other addictive substances.

We've had a number of smokers come to our workshops who have had benefited from what we teach about feelings (if they are willing to quit while they are here). But the real truth is that unless there is some hope of quitting smoking altogether, the effort made to learn about deeper feelings largely goes up into smoke after the group is over. Our belief is: if you are resolved about continuing to smoke, you're essentially wasting your time and money coming to us to learn about feelings and passion.