If you haven’t yet heard of the 5-Headed Dragon, BESOCHEMPS, you’re either new here, or I haven’t been doing my job. (Please don’t scroll away yet – we aren’t a cult and this discussion about a 5-Headed Dragon is neither frivolous nor foolish.)
Over twenty years ago I began serving brave folks intent upon reclaiming their freedom from their hellish relationships with tobacco. It seemed logical to asked the group to share their personal experiences and I attempted to recall mine. I had been “smober’ for over 10 years but it took more than 25 quit attempts before I found a quit that I could live with. I had started smoking (despite already being asthmatic) at age 12 at church camp. (Holy smokes?) Eventually I developed a 3-pack per day habit. (And on days when drinking or other drugs were in play, I could smoke 4 packs per day.) So I had plenty of experiences to share with the brave folks in my groups.
I had always been a fan of Creature Double Feature and a great friend turned me on to Dungeons and Dragons when I went away to college. And so the beast was birthed – a Dragon with five heads, one representing each of the five motivators:
“BESOCHEMPS” BE-havioral Triggers The first of the 5 heads of the dragon represents the behavioral triggers that have become associated with our using. For a smoker, some common behavioral triggers are pouring a coffee, starting the car, answering the phone, and finishing a meal. We use the letters BE to represent that connection between wanting… Read More
BESOCHEMPS” SO-cial Triggers The SO in beSOchemps makes us aware that there are familiar SO-cial situations that can make us think about using. Notice that again, the face and the place only have the power to make us THINK about using. They can’t “make” us do it. In classes and phone coaching with smokers, I… Read More
“BESOCHEMPS” CH-emical Cravings The CH in besoCHemps reminds us to be aware of how our body/brain have learned to depend upon a regular daily dose of a chemical. When we don’t get the drug, we can become physically uncomfortable. It’s very important that you learn to tell the difference between wanting to smoke because you’re… Read More
“BESOCHEMPS” EM-otional Urges EMotional urges can lead us to want to smoke (or use other substances/behaviors) as a means of avoiding unpleasant feelings. If we are feeling, for example, anxious, we’ve learned to reach for the “relief” of a cigarette. The nicotine in our brain results in the release of endorphins, which make us feel… Read More
“BESOCHEMPS” PS-ychological Compulsion The PS in besochemPS is surely the slipperiest aspect of the beast – psychological compulsions. It’s quite evident that under different circumstances and to varying extents, we are all willing to participate in a behavior that we know is causing us certain harm. We’ll all quickly agree that it is not OK… Read More
Around the room I started to see eyes open wide as people started to see their foe more clearly. This BESOCHEMPS model was a better way to help people see their relationship with tobacco. Anecdotally, lots of folks started having more success quitting smoking. This “fictional” beast was real enough to help thousands of smokers. They were able to use it for their own good and for the good of the people who loved them.
When compared to the US unassisted quit rate (people quitting on their own) people using BESOCHEMPS had a quit rate six or seven times higher! And for some of us “soot-suckers,” adding medications can boost quit rates even higher. Please remember that this site is searchable and you can learn more about each of the “heads” of the “dragon.” And depending upon where you are located, you can attend QuittersWin groups where folks “speak dragon.”
PROLOGUE: The BESOCHEMPS model of addiction has been used to successfully address every sort of illicit substance use, and even compulsive behaviors that aren’t directly related to a substance (gambling, binge-spending, cutting, etc.) The dragon has helped brave folks reclaim their freedom in substance use treatment settings, hospitals, faith-based organizations, mental health settings, academic institutions, community based groups, and correctional facilities. For more information or to request a private response to questions, please feel free to CONTACT me.
You deserve to be free.
You don’t need to do it alone.