About your trainers: Paul & Jim
Read more about your trainers and our backgrounds and experience.
Like you we were smokers and found freedom through Allen Carr’s Easyway and you will too.
As a kid, I pushed boundaries, hanging out with older crowds, impatient to grow up. I wanted to be just like my dad, who happened to be a smoker.
At nine, I spent a night camping with friends. We’d managed to get someone’s older brother to buy us a pack of cigarettes. We lit them quickly, sitting in a row. We were all dizzy, but we felt like we were men and could soon smoke… without coughing.
I left school and started work at 16 (finally, a man earning his own keep!). One day, sitting in my bedroom with my highly decorated Golden Virginia tin resting on my knee, I rolled a cigarette just like I’d learned from my dad. Suddenly, a loud bang at the door broke my concentration, sending my tobacco flying.
My neighbour stood at the front door ashen faced… He tried to tell me as calmly as possible that my dad was lying on the ground in the front garden! He’d collapsed, after a massive heart attack. My father was 47 then, and from then was an ex-smoker…. Just not in the way we’d hoped…
Over the years, smoking developed into chain-smoking, something I couldn’t have done without strong lungs. But my health soon suffered. I panicked frequently, wondering if I’d even make it to the ripe age of 47.
I searched for ways to quit. First method? Willpower. This didn’t last a day. Next, I tried nicotine patches, but they weren’t enough to satisfy my cravings. It felt like torture. I experimented with laser therapy, which involved firing a Flash Gordon-type laser gun into my ear. (Yes, I was that desperate.) The laser technique failed as well, leaving me in serious distress.
When a family friend heard me coughing and spluttering, she suggested a “Stop Smoking Guru” to my mum. “I used his program to quit,” she said. “Maybe Paul should go to one of his seminars.” His name was Allen Carr.
Enough was enough. I had to contact this guru.
The day of my session, I woke up extra early to smoke as much as possible before ‘giving up’ cigarettes for good. I arrived at the clinic a bag of nerves armed with two packs and a healthy amount of skepticism. I’d tried everything, and I knew the risks. What could this guy tell me that I didn’t know already?
I chain-smoked my way through the session. No health lectures. No “jars of tar” demonstrations. Instead, the therapist focused on the reasons people smoke. I looked inward for nearly five hours, challenging why I turned to cigarettes. When asked to light my “final cigarette,” I viewed smoking in a completely new light.
Now, that cigarette was no longer a friend who’d helped me through thick and thin. It was an enemy—an enemy who’d stopped me from living my life freely. I smoked half of my last cigarette before stubbing it out for good, vowing to never light another.
Within just a few smoke-free weeks, I was a new man. My lungs felt wonderful! Like back when I was 15. Allen Carr’s method gave me a fresh outlook on life, and a vitality I hadn’t known was possible. I used to think it was difficult to stop smoking, but now I understand how easy it can be, especially when equipped with the right knowledge and motivation.
I decided to give back to the cause that had reinvigorated my life. After forming friendships with the therapists and director at Allen Carr’s Easyway, I became a trainee therapist and ran my first session only 16 months later. I’ll never forget changing 12 people’s lives that same day.
Within a few years, I had the opportunity to own the Allen Carr’s Easyway Scotland franchise with Jim McCreadie, a colleague of mine. Since taking over, Jim and I have helped smokers all across the country find their way out of the trap and we can never hide our smiles after a job well done.
Allen Carr’s Easyway is a growing, worldwide family of amazing people who share a common goal: offering smokers an “Easyway” to walk away from their addiction to cigarettes for good. Thank you, Allen Carr. It is because of you I’ve been able to live to, and beyond 47, and thrive with every minute.
I never pictured myself as a smoker. Both of my parents smoked, though mum quit almost 40 years ago—and I found the sight and smell of cigarettes appalling, my friends did not.
As a teenager, many of my closest friends smoked. Eventually, I got tired of feeling left out and one day, I decided to try a cigarette, just one. This remains one of the worst experiences of my life and started social smoking, that was a decision I would regret.
That occasional cigarette ingrained itself in daily life. Less than a year after my first cigarette, I bought my first 10-pack. So began my 17-year journey of on-and-off, open-and-secretive smoking. I was never a heavy smoker, but I was a smoker, buying a 10-pack whenever I could.
It was a love-hate relationship. After all, I’d watched my dad die at 54 from smoking-related lung cancer, and the thought of sharing his fate terrified me. But I didn’t, and couldn’t stop. In fact, the panic I felt further fuelled my addiction.
Being a smoker was like having a secret identity. On one hand, there was the Jim that everyone around me knew. But when nobody was watching, I quietly planned out time to smoke, and squirrelled away spare change to buy cigarettes. This secret “me” made excuses to leave the room, and came back chewing gum and smelling of aftershave.
It seemed normal to me at the time, but now I see it was a life of perpetual purgatory and deceit. Mostly, I lied to myself. And after dozens of failed attempts to quit, I began to accept the “reality” that I was destined to an early death just like my dad.
The thought of leaving my wife, daughters, and family behind forced me to commit to quitting, to find a way to permanently eliminate cigarettes from my life. After asking around the office, a co-worker said she had overcome her 40 cigarettes a day routine using a method called Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking. I thought, “Easy way to stop smoking? There’s no such thing.”
After plucking up the courage to commit to another attempt at stopping, I decided to give the Allen Carr’s Easyway method a go. The impact it had on me was incredible and immediate. I felt my 17-year burden being lifted, freeing me from the prison of addiction. I was excited to put out my final cigarette, with no doubts, fears, or reservations. At that point, it was a much easier decision to stop smoking than it would’ve been to continue.
Feeling liberated, I contacted the Allen Carr’s Easyway office in Edinburgh; I wanted to help others overcome their addiction too. Within weeks, I was training to be an Allen Carr therapist, the most rewarding and enjoyable job I’ve ever had.
A group arrives at each session, nervous about what the day holds. I get a front row seat to their life-changing transformations, watching people overcome their greatest challenges in just five hours. With this sense of achievement and purpose, I am proud to be a part of the global Allen Carr’s Easyway family. And I look forward to continuing Allen Carr’s inspirational work.