Title: How Smoking Quit Me
Author: James J. McGill
Publisher: Book Venture Publishing
Reviewed by: Thomas Macolino
Pacific Book Review
There are a lot of books on how to quit smoking. James J. McGill’s How Smoking Quit Me is more than a unique book. His goal is to help reader’s quit addiction. McGill’s 41-page book is filled with practical and spiritual advice interwoven with McGill’s own personal experience with conquering his addiction.
I must applaud McGill’s three rules. First is his assertion that smoking itself is not the problem. How Smoking Quit Me cautions the reader to not think of smoking as the enemy. Second is that tobacco is also not your friend. Its influence on your life is negative and should be removed. Third is the most important of all; addiction is more powerful than we are — to defeat it, we need help.
McGill’s solution to the problem posed by his third rule is to turn our addiction over to a Higher Power. If we sincerely request that this Higher Power remove our addiction, he will. In McGill’s case, that Higher Power was God as he understood him. Now, McGill’s personal experience is not something that can be countermanded. However, his conclusions and universal assertions leave his book open to a great deal of theological criticism. However, this is a book review, not an essay, so I will limit myself to briefly addressing only two. First, McGill’s choice of referring to a personal Higher Power instead of a God (which is the deity of his experience and healing) opens up the question of whether any god or spirit will do. In other words, is McGill saying that only God can cure addiction, or will any power that you believe in strongly enough do the trick? Second, McGill’s claim that simply surrendering the burden to the Higher Power will definitely work if you have a “right standing,” is fundamentally flawed. On one hand, it treats God as a sort of cosmic vending machine. And on the other hand, it implies that anyone who prays for addiction and isn’t immediately cured is at fault because they are not properly aligned with God. Which is to say, I would not deny that it is possible for everyone to have as miraculous a cure from their addiction as the author did, I just would not expect it.
From a more practical standpoint, McGill’s book does an excellent job with helping people with additions. His advice to seek out social support and identify “triggers” in one’s life that leads to smoking is spot on. Additionally, his directions on how to handle withdrawal symptoms contain some of the best instructional writing I’ve ever seen on this subject. If you want to kick your tobacco addition, this is the book to read and it’s definitely worth reading.