An addicted smoker visited a therapist to help him quit. The doctor admitted, “I too used to smoke. I tried quitting by convincing myself that cigarettes are disgusting, harmful to my health, dangerous to my family, and detrimental for my position in society.

“After this inner tirade, I would quit. But several days later I would wake up again and forget my decision completely. ‘Maybe smoking is not so terrible?’ I would rationalize. ‘And what if I don’t smoke around my family, but where nobody sees?’

“This pattern repeated itself constantly. My rationalization brought me to relapse.

“Once,” the therapist explained excitedly, “I tried a different strategy. I took a cigarette in my hand, looked at it and told myself, ‘Yes, this cigarette will bring me pleasure. I want to smoke it. But I will quit!’”

“This approach worked, and I have not smoked a cigarette since. The reason this technique succeeded is that I didn’t fool myself by trying to feel repulsed by cigarettes. Instead, I admitted to myself that I desired it, yet chose to control my desires.”

“Do not say ‘I am nauseated by pork’ or ‘I do not want to wear clothes made of a mixture of wool and linen’ but say, ‘I want to eat pork and wear forbidden mixtures, but what can I do?
My Father in Heaven has decreed that I may not.’”
—Toras Kohanim, 9:10. Quoted in Rashi, Leviticus, 20:6