I Quit!

Dear Business-Builder,

I’m not in my right mind.  So this is going to be kind of a weird issue.

If you know anything at all about me, you know I love The Redhead.  And my babies and grandbabies.  And the blues.  And Fender and Taylor guitars.  And Harley Davidsons.  And Grey Goose. 

And Marlboro Lights.

So when I decided to give up smoking a week ago, it was kind of a big deal for me.

Sure – I’ve quit four or five times before.  Last time, it was all Dan Rosenthal’s fault. 

We were half-way through a bottle of Glenmorangie in Dan’s San Francisco hotel suite when the unprincipled so-and-so said he’d pay me $10,000 if I quit the smokes and stayed nicotine-free for one full year.  We shook on it – and when I got home, the first thing I did was to go see a doctor to get help quitting.

The doc prescribed Wellbutrin – a drug that gradually chokes off your body’s ability to absorb nicotine.  You keep on smoking as usual; but every day, your body gets less nicotine until you are no longer addicted.  Then and only then, you stop lighting up.

Sounds great when you say it fast – right?  But there is just one, l-i-t-t-l-e catch:  Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant – read “psycho-active” – drug.  So while it’s making you invulnerable to nicotine, it’s also screwing with your mind. 

Make no mistake:  Wellbutrin will help you stop smoking.  But there’s an excellent chance it will also earn you a quadruple-life sentence or maybe even the chair for its inconvenient little side-effect.

And by “side-effect,” I mean the killing spree.

Allow me to elucidate …

Two weeks after I accepted Dan’s challenge – two weeks into the Wellbutrin treatment – The Redhead and I were in Durango, Colorado at the General Palmer Hotel. 

It was a perfect time for me to quit smoking.  Two weeks on the Harleys … no stress … just a couple thousand miles of roads to burn up in Northern Arizona and Colorado.  I really wish I had pictures.  Each of us had two-weeks-worth of clothes on our bikes … plus a tent, sleeping bags and a camp stove.

Then, about our third night into the trip, the Wellbutrin kicked in.

Now, I’m normally a relaxed, affectionate, positive, really nice guy.  So it should have been a red flag for me when I suddenly and inexplicably found myself reveling in daydreams about the exquisitely painful death of every human being I saw.

I am NOT exaggerating.  I hated everybody.  Not just Democrats or Liberals, or other morons bent on enslaving me or stealing my money, mind you; I would have gladly busted a cap in Mother Theresa’s heiney if given half the chance. 

Further detail is unnecessary here – suffice it to say that I’m not a nice guy when under the influence of Wellbutrin. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when I announced I was going to quit smoking a couple of weeks ago, The Redhead literally turned white. 

Well … “whiter.”  Which, considering the fact that she’s prolly the honkiest honky you ever met, is really saying something.

It wasn’t so much that Wendy was afraid of what I might do under the influence of Wellbutrin.  She was terrified of what she would have to do to me once I began taking it.  In reality, I suspect she had little to worry about.  No jury of her peers would have convicted her.

But this time around, I had a novel idea:  Why not just deal with the nicotine cravings – WITHOUT having to also deal with the side-effects of Wellbutrin (i.e.: The yearning to bitch-slap everyone within arms’ length)?

Instead of buying into the whole idea that I am just a weak, helpless idiot who couldn’t tie my own shoes without a doctor’s permission or without a magic bullet from the pharmaceutical industry …

Instead of paying a fortune for drugs to help me quit and risk winding up on the business end of a lethal injection …

Why not just be a man about it?

Why not just quit … not smoke … feel the cravings, gut them out without  giving in to them … without getting permission from any doctor or drug company?

No Nicorette … no patches … no Wellbutrin … just good, old-fashioned willpower.

That way, there would be nobody to blame.  I wouldn’t be able to say, “I tried the gum; it didn’t work for me.”  Or, “The patch didn’t help me at all.”  Or, “I tried the Wellbutrin thing again – until I caught The Redhead on Craigslist shopping for a hitman.”

So I lit my last cigarette at 8:00 PM last Monday.  I might have had a craving yesterday; but if so, it wasn’t much of one.  For all intents and purposes, I am now a non-smoker.


Just a week ago, I was inhaling three packs a day.  If you had told me that I could be free of tobacco cravings in a single week, I would have called you a liar.

Just shows to go you:  So many of the obstacles that we think are blocking our paths are nothing more than figments of our own imaginations.

For the last three or four years, I believed that I’d have to go back on Wellbutrin in order to quit smoking.  And since The Redhead had made it crystal clear that she’d probably have to kill me if I did, quitting was impossible.

But you know what?  Those beliefs were false.  I just needed to stop looking for excuses.  I just needed to exercise some willpower.  I just needed to take a stand.

Remind you of anyone YOU know?

Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Clayton Makepeace Signature
Clayton Makepeace
Publisher & Editor

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46 Responses to I Quit!

  1. Kim says:


    Congrats on quitting! This is wonderful news! Doing it “cold turkey” is a great way to do it. I never got hooked on smoking but my husband Bruce quit cold turkey over 15 years ago and never looked back. You can do it, too. Before long you’ll be one of those insufferable “ex-smokers” giving anyone who lights up a hard time! So glad Wendy won’t have to be hiring a hit man! hang in there…


  2. Jim says:


    Congratulations on giving up the noxious weed. I went cold turkey several years ago, but my habit wasn’t as heavy as yours. But remember this — quitting is easy. STAYING QUIT is the hard part. Keep gutting it out and I’m sure you’ll make it.

  3. Shane Arthur says:

    My mother quit smoking after 35 years; and several minutes of pondering the breast lump doctors warned her about. She quit cold turkey then and there.

    Her explanation? “I made up my mind!”

    She didn’t realize the power of these words. She didn’t realize that she mentally rewired her brain to crush nicotine’s addiction forever — something billion dollar drugs can’t do properly.

    Somewhere in our minds is the power to alter our neural hardware forever. Twelve years later, and my mother’s mind is still made up.

  4. Lou Wasser says:


    Congratulations. To reinforce your difficult decision, why not contract for some hypnosis sessions?

    Hypnosis worked spectacularly for my wife. She hasn’t smoked since 1983.

  5. Dean Kennedy says:

    CONGRATS to you! That’s sensational. Having never had a single smoke in my life, that’s not one of my personal cravings, although I have a few other vices to make up for it :) You’re inspiring me.

    I did convince my mum about 15 years ago (she could tell you the exact date) to give up cold turkey, and she’s stayed a non-smoker the whole time since. So there’s another example like Kim’s husband Bruce in post #1 to give you more long-term inspiration.

    One thing I learned from Tony Robbins which you’ve got “spot-on” here … you’re now a NON-SMOKER — the description is so important to your success, rather than seeing yourself as “a smoker who is quitting”, you’re already a “non-smoker” in your mindset and that makes a world of difference.

    Great stuff! Cheers from Melbourne downunder, Dean

  6. Dan White says:

    Dang Clayton I wish you had told us while you were still on Wellbutrin.

    I have a client I’d pay you to meet with… and then when you freak out and bitch-slap him silly three minutes into the meeting… oh I’d pay $10K for that.

    And he wouldn’t tell a peep, becuase the gorilla beat down wouldn’t be from just anyone… but the legendary Makepeace on bad acid.

    Just kidding. Glad you’re off the chemicals, including what they spray on cigs these days.

    Otherwise you’d have to change your name to Makehurt.

  7. Greg Brown says:

    Congrats, Clayton. 3 packs a day is a lot of smokes, dude. I was a 2-packer when, like you, I just up and quit one day 25 years ago. You’ll get over the nicotine in two or three weeks, max. The hard part is the social addiction. Everytime you find yourself in an environment where you used to smoke (bars are terrible in this regard) you’ll have the worst urge to light up. Resist, brother! This part takes about a year. Good luck.

  8. Patricia says:

    Bless You both…

    And many long, healthy years in your future.


  9. Marc says:


    Congrats, you old bustard! I did the same thing a year ago last week. Two to three weeks (mentioned above) and you’ll be home free.

    Now if you can just give up the Harley and the booze you’ll be all set to come on back to Utah!

    Seriously, way to go. Wendy and the kids deserve to have you around longer.



  10. Christina says:

    Good for you, Clayton! I quit the same way. Just put them down one day and never picked them up again and it was easy. I never missed it. I think there’s a lot of hype out there trying to sell smokers quitting aids that they don’t need… Makes me wonder if the quitting aids are actually not so helpful. After all, if they really worked as advertised, they’d put themselves out of business.

  11. Ryan says:

    Congratulations! Makes me think about a few things I don’t need in my life either.

  12. Congrats Clayton!

    As a side note from a doctor’s perspective, I have rarely seen patients quit smoking when they were relying on pharmacy to help. I’d guestimate that 99.9% of my patients who successfully quit did so “cold turkey.” If drugs ever DO help (which appears rare to me after 20 years in medical practice), it’s because they give people a belief system (B.S.) that quitting is possible. But as you’ve discovered, you don’t really need Big Pharma to psych yourself.

    On that note, I’ve made up my mind to do a few new things in the coming year, sans any unnecessary crutches.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Dr. Dana

  13. Dear Clayton,

    Congratulations on the mental shift (did it myself, cold-turkey 37 years ago).

    I also want to thank you for reminding me that reactions to obstacles are in our head. I dearly love reading everything you write, including the political stuff.

    I ESPECIALLY love your storytelling techniques and the dashes of humor. (eg. “bitch slap” and “shopping for a hit man”).

    Gosh! I really got a LOT out of today’s post.

    Thank you so much!

    Gotta go do some storytelling and stop procrastinating over “obstacles”.

    Your fan,

  14. Hi Clayton,

    congrats. Stay strong.

    Please forward to Wendy:

    Hi Wendy,

    to cover your back (just in case), add this smart weapon to your armory: Hard Core Smoker melts under EFT attack.

    It works. Check it on yourself (any topic), and work it on the big guy if need arises (Watch his face when the craving dies, it’ll be worth the effort). Honestly, or would he do it himself?

    Enjoy it


    PPS: Further information and the free manual with everything you need on Gary Craig’s motherside: http://www.emofree.com

  15. Helmut Sengewald says:

    Really, doctors can recommend awfully things to do. Cutting corners with pills…, cheating the body!

    Helloo, Mr. Clayton,

    I admire very much your freely flowing words and phrases in your copy. So much practice and experience is showing.
    You are really a master of your profession.

    But now you have a problem: you know not very much of your own body, its functioning. So there is a nagging feeling that you won’t stand the whole year without smoking, that the threat of your wife and your own will of mind will not suffice.

    And your are right. Only about 15-25 % of those who quit will stay and succeed, will never smoke again.

    You need to do more. Your body needs it. Because during all this smoking you poisoned yourself. Not only the nicotine but all the other several thousands of chemical compounds you inhaled were not entirely eliminated. They stayed and are still deposited in all of your tissues. You must eliminate them to have full success.

    Here is my personal advice:
    Take every day a supplement of B-vitamines, especially B 1, B5 and B6.

    And undertake a drinking cure of two month with fresh leaves finely cut of “Thuja occidentalis”, that is the latin name, ask a botanist or pharmacist where to find them. It’s a tree and it grows also with you in North-America. The first settlers in Massachsetts drank it during wintertime against scurvy. But the leaves have other powers and therefore the tree is called “tree of life”. Quite right so because the tea of the fresh leaves cleans and detoxifies very very effectively. Cut about 50 gr very small with a sharp knife, boil it with 2 litres of water for 5-8 minutes, pass it by a sieve, and drink warm or cold during the day, without sugar.
    It tastes a little bitter but one gets accustomed.
    Only side effect: you will need more sleep. A sign that your body has much work to do. So sleep longer. Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages, wine, whisky, beer.

    Thuja is poisonous, but not when boiled fresh with so much water. The boiling cleans of bad resines and oils, they are polymerised and glued the surface of the pot. Mind you: the concentration makes it poisonous or not(Paracelsus, Galen, Hahnemann).

    I did it for myself and it worked wonders with my problems, other than smoking. Believe me. In your copy and packages you promise success to the buyers because of your deep experiences. I told you of mine. So will you follow suit?

    Given you do it and succeed fully, and will be satisfied, please cut me in into the 10k you will get: 50% success to your wife and for her threats, 25 % for your determination and will of mind, 25% for me!(Just joking, LOL -)).

    Now that has been a long comment and advice, sort of copy.
    But you invited to do so.

    Your’s H.Sengewald

    PS: For more health!

  16. Dave Mack says:

    Clayton, while I have never smoked, your story resonates with me because when I was about 12 years old I watched my father do the same thing. He was in his mid-thirties and had been smoking two to three packs a day for years. I was standing next to him as he sat at his desk in his home office. I’ll never forget watching him pick up a pen and begin to do some simple math on a sheet of paper. He wrote down the cost of a pack of cigarettes. He multiplied by three, then by 365. He looked at the number and next to it wrote his annual salary. He stared at the two numbers for a little bit, and then . . . he picked up his cigarette pack and with a small amount of drama . . . he dropped it into the waste basket. Done. He never picked them up again. Jim Rohn, who passed away two days ago, has said, “Faith is believing the impossible is possible, and fear is believing the possible is impossible.” Clayton, I’m sure you’re learning ever again that the “impossible” is very possible indeed.

  17. John B says:

    I use to light up. Over a year ago, I went cold turkey. Why? Hell, I just believed that I could. And sure enough…

    These days, I can’t see how I could ever do that Sh*-t. Just the smell of cigarette smoke bothers me.

    Most smokers have a false belief; Its so hard to quit.

    I first heard that one when I was a kid-over 20 years ago. When the old human mind believes it, thats it. Done. Game over.
    Congrats Clayton. If you don’t stop, you know your life will be cut short.
    Stick around. We like what you are doing.
    john b

  18. Sharon A. says:

    Congratulations, Clayton!–I quit in 1993 when cigarettes were $1.43 a pack. I didn’t have much trouble with cravings—I just ate everything that wasn’t nailed to the floor for a couple of weeks.
    I had a friend who could not quit no matter what he tried. Out of desperation one day, he dropped a whole pack of smokes in the toilet. Then he took them out; and when they had dried off, he smoked the entire pack and got sick as a pig. He has not smoked since.
    Thanks for the enlightenment about the Wellbutrin too. Now I know why my ex was such a lunatic.

  19. Tom Jones says:

    Well Done!

    I did just that…I gave up smoking without any assistance other than my own free will.

    You’ll be the biggest anti-smoking advocate in no time ;)

    Best Wishes,


  20. Sam says:

    Have you drank yet?

  21. Matt says:


    Congratulations on a great decision that will greatly enhance the quality of your life! Sometimes we either have to make a DECISION and stop stating “preferences” or something forces us to make a decision. My mother stopped smoking cold turkey due to a significant circumstance…not being able to have visits from her newborn grandson. I told her that I refuse to bring my son to her house if she continued to smoke. She quit.


  22. Tim McMahon says:


    Like so many others, as a kid I watched my Dad quit cold turkey. He said, it was easier that way, just make up your mind and do it. Dieting, on the other hand was much harder for him because you still had to eat a little. He said if he could quit eating all together he’d have no problem dieting!

  23. Denny \ says:


    Congratulations! We need you around for a long, long time.

    My stepdaughter had breast cancer almost 5 years ago yet still smokes three packs a day. She rationalizes it as her last vice. Very sad as she has a 4 year old boy to raise by herself.


  24. Hugh says:

    Congratulations on quitting. And remember, you just have to quite one day at a time. When that gets tough, quite just for this hour. And anytime you feel you really need a smoke, smell an ash tray. Put your nose up against it and take a big whiff. It will reinforce all your reasons for quitting.

  25. Clayton … can’t say it enough … you’re the man!

    All my best,

  26. Santa says:

    Congrats on giving up a ‘bad’ habit.
    I am pretty sure that after a short while you will see (feel) the effect not smoking has to your lungs and to the whole system.
    Probably also more enjoyable to drive the Harley now as you can really smell and taste the fresh air (especially when going to nice mountain areas as described above).

  27. Santa says:

    Oh, forgot to say:
    Giving up smoking is probably the best christmas gift you can make to your family.

  28. I.A. says:

    Congratulations Clayton! : )

  29. Rod Newbound, RN says:

    Thanks for sharing this Clayton.

    I’ve been through this at least half a dozen times in my life, and the one thing that’s always worked for me is exactly what you are doing now. Making the decision and sticking with it.

    One thing that I read about some years ago (and used) is drinking citrus juice for a couple weeks after quitting. Apparently this helps rid the nicotine from your body faster. Then you only have the psychological triggers to deal with – and every smoker knows what they are.

    And for those who feel they still need a crutch, an excellent one is to find a friend or family member who also wants to quit. Make a bet with this person to quit, with the penalty for losing a substantial amount of money. The fear of loss works wonderfully to your advantage here.


  30. Lydia Mills says:

    I’ll add my congrats to everyone else’s. Good for you! And I know Wendy appreciates it too.

    And what a lesson for all of us on the power of our minds!

  31. Yahoo! Well-done! I’m betting the 10K will be more of an incentive than any drug. And 20 years from now, you will be so glad you did it.

  32. Dan White says:

    For God’s sake Clayton don’t quit quitting now.

    Or we’ll all have to drive to your ranch and collectively bitchslap you.

  33. The Redhead says:

    This is the best Christmas present I could have ever hoped for. You must really love us a lot to finally do this. I’m so proud of you. And, I didn’t have to kill you in the process. Everyone can be quite releived that you are definitely still alive and kicking.

    Thanks babe!


  34. Troy White says:

    Congrats Clayton.

    I smoked for 20 yrs – it has now been 8 years smoke free for me.

    I chose a real good reason for the day I quit for good… my twin daughters 1st birthday.

    That alone keeps me clean… can’t take back a gift now can I?

    When my mind was finally set… it was a breeze. I also did it without any other substitutes to help. Keep it up! Troy

  35. elle swan says:

    Hi Clayton,

    I had the pleasure of hearing your wisdom for a solid week at both the AWAI seminar and the ETR event.

    You are head of the copywriting throne and my note of your wisdoms sits readily by my keyboard.


    What you have just written is priceless. Nine and a half years ago I overcame, alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness and being overweight by changing my mind. Change happens in an instant. You never have to smoke again as long as you remember that you don’t “have” to. People like to complicate the matter.

    Thanks for “bitch slapping” the smoking habit.

    I dare it to come back:)

  36. Hi Clayton,
    As my old man used to say – “You can do ANYTHING if you put your mind to it”. I used to think he was just a silly old codger.

    There’s POWER in those words – and I catch myself telling my kid the EXACT same thing! The only difference between me and my dad is that I’m beginning to understand why the mind works that way (with a lot of help from all the folks on this forum).

    I ‘feel you’ regarding the Wellbutrin thing. I was on Wellbutrin for a while too – but not to quit an addiction. I didn’t like others or myself during that time. I quit it cold turkey – which I heard could be dangerous. I quit depression the same way you quit smoking – making my mind up, and following through with positive action. The only side-effect I experienced was an pleasant epiphany where I realized how pathetic it is to be trapped by drugs just because “the doctor says so”.

    Having a free mind and body coupled with a strong will is the greatest freedom you can ever experience!

    Congratulations on your decision. Your family will love you for it!

  37. Jason Comely says:

    Congratulations Clayton.

    Now don’t think about it anymore. Seriously. Keep your mind busy on other things and you will beat this!

  38. Way to go, Clayton.

    So you really want to qualify for admission to Canada that badly? do you?

    My “Why” is because I’d like those 60% of my fiends back.

    Attended a hypnotiziation class once and it worked until I decided that I couldn’t waste that half carton in the freezer.

    Rootin’ for ya, Bud!


  39. Roger Due says:

    I always love the way you spin a story! Glad to hear that you finally found a way to quit that is working without the bad side effects. Over 35 years ago I quit. One day I just decided that I had had enough with smoking the pipe. I had already gone through cigarettes, cigars, & the pipe for many years and actually liked the smell of a good cigar or good pipe tobacco and still do. I hadn’t really tried to quit before, but one day at work I just decided that enough was enough and stopped and got rid of all my pipes, etc. For some reason it worked. But I had known many people who went to all sorts of lengths to quit and couldn’t make it happen. No deep insight into why.

  40. Dr Tom Pledger says:

    Wow and congratulations! That’s awesome! No doubt about it, you just did the most important thing you could do for your health and wealth on so many levels. Thank you for showing WHAT’S POSSIBLE FOR LIFE!

  41. mark says:

    I also quit smoking…it was the hardest 10 minutes of my life.

  42. Clayton Makepeace says:

    Mark: I quit drinking once. Same impression. Hardest ten minutes of my life.

    Cheers, buddy! :)

  43. Bert Botta says:

    Hey Clayton, this is the first time I’ve replied to one of your pieces. Great job Man! And to do it cold bird suggests some higher force at work in your ole smoke infested, now cleansing bod.

    I truly appreciate your generosity in producing all your freebies; there’s no wonder you are successful as you live the direct marketers, and all manner of good guys, golden rule – “give it away and it’ll come flyin’ back at ya…”

    I’m an old Harley rider also and just recently realized that, for all these years, have been, if not denying my true passion, then overlooking it; that of riding mo’cycles and hanging out with the numerous characters that inhabit their saddles. I’m currently riding a sweet Yamaha FJR 1300 but realize the necessity of having some Milwaukee iron under me, for credibility if not for the sheer pleasure of those incomparable Vtwin pulsations and rumble.

    I’ll get back to you when my site is ready for a beta launch. ‘Til then, keep promoting your unique brand of inspiration…

    Blessings Man

    Bert Botta,
    The Grateful Dude

  44. Larry White says:


    Congrats! I quit twice for 6 months and finally, the third time it took – that was in 1976,

    I convinced myself that I would become violently ill if I took a single drag.

    Toughest time was during social situations when sharing drinks with friends in a public place. I found I had to talk myself out of a cigarette one at a time, “I’m not going to smoke now, but I might the next time I have the urge – but not this time”. Repeat, repeat, repeat…

    You’ll be looking down your nose at those who continue to smoke in no time!

    I wish you continued success and…

    All the best,

    Larry White

  45. williamm kerr says:

    Congratulations! When I give up smoking, all I ever did was will right after I saw how my lungs would look like if I wouldn’t stop.

  46. Tony says:

    Stay with it Clayton. We all know what happened to the Marlboro Man.

    I used to think smoking made me a better – and faster – copywriter. I even “proved” it to myself with a scientifically unsound split test.

    Hah! How we like to believe the things we want to believe.

    But judging by your witty post above you write just as well weed-free.

    Thank you for all the superb free information on your site.

    Good luck


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