Alexander wanted to quit smoking. He had agreed that he wouldn’t smoke since last night, and he had strong cravings for a cigarette. He had been smoking on and off for years, and recently had started again. When I asked him WHY he smoked, he answered that he felt a need to smoke. This 'need' manifested as a feeling in his chest, which he described as a ‘sucking force'. I asked him if he really believed that this force indicated a need to smoke a cigarette. Alexander confirmed that he did. I told him that I had my doubts about that hypothesis and carefully guided him back in time to the first occasion of this sucking force.

He remembered a situation as a seven-year old, being in the hospital in which he had felt alone. His parents weren’t there, and he reported that this was the first time that he had this feeling, long before he touched his first cigarette. When I went further back in time with him, another memory showed up in which he awoke from anesthesia after surgery, and again no one was there. His throat felt dry. Alexander neutralised this memory with the help of the Logosynthesis sentences and felt a great relief. Then I guided him back to the situation at the hospital at the age of 7, and he saw himself standing at the door of the room, waiting for his mother. After two rounds with sentence 1, this image disappeared.

The intensity of the symptom in his chest had decreased, but it hadn’t fully resolved itself. We were at the end of our time, so I gave him a last round for “the hidden perception that leads to this feeling in my chest”, and then ‘the sucking force' went away.

Alexander had learned that the symptom in his chest didn’t mean that he needed a cigarette. That feeling was associated with an early childhood trauma that was reactivated every once in a while. Smoking a cigarette made the feeling disappear – for a limited time. Nicotine needs 10 seconds to reach the brain and soothe the memory. Logosynthesis needs 30 seconds to peel off a layer of the underlying traumatic structure. Alexander now prefers to practice the latter.  
In the lunch break after the session there was no need to smoke a cigarette. In the future Alexander will have some homework when other aspects of a traumatic childhood show up: he was hospitalized four times as a child, and this probably wasn’t his only experience of being abandoned.

I often see a connection between early experiences of abandonment and addictive behaviour. When we access these traumatic events and neutralize them, the need for substances and actions to manage the painful state decrease.