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The Pact

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The threat of sitting naked on Citta’s patio, the top people-watching spot in the village, decked out in nothing but an adult-sized diaper has stopped five Whistler guys from smoking over the past two weeks.

It hasn’t been easy but embarrassment and shame can be a powerfully motivating factor.

The pact was sealed after weeks of half-hearted individual mumblings about quitting.

These guys were realistic enough to know they couldn’t do it alone.

They considered putting money into a collective pot but that wasn’t motivation enough.

At some desperate moment they knew they would actually consider hauling off a $1,000 smoke for that sweet, sweet fix.

The guys decided they needed another plan.

For weeks they mulled over ideas, working out the details through the haze of countless cigarettes.

They knew their time was drawing near.

Finally it was the Pique’s own Andrew Mitchell came up with the winning idea. Public humiliation was the only answer for these guys he said.

And so the plan was hatched.

The first one to cave gets to sit in the village in a diaper, with a pacifier to chew on.

I don’t think they spat and shook hands or gave the Pinky Swear, but they made a pact based on the honour system.

And so, two weeks ago on a Sunday night they took their last puffs, inhaling deeply, mentally preparing themselves for the commitment ahead and shuddering at the ramifications of being the first one to cave in.

Day One was hard. One wanted a cigarette so badly it was making him physically sick.

Only 16 hours into the pact, two discussed sneaking off for a cigarette. After all, who would know?

But all of them managed to restrain themselves over the course of the first work week.

And then came the biggest test – the first party, and several beers in the presence of other smokers.

It was then that the mind games began.

They goaded each other to step out onto the porch for a cigarette.

They attacked the weakest link. They cajoled. They teased.

There would be no shame and no pact if they all had a collective smoke they said. But, despite the pressure, they all held strong.

Some are doing a little better than others. Each have their good days and their not so good days.

Only a couple of days ago, after 10 days of going strong, one guy was driving to McKeever’s with a singular purpose.

He stood at the cash desk in torment, stuttering, turning red, a huge battle raging in his head.

He wanted a cigarette more than anything else – except not to be the one sitting in a diaper at Citta’s.

So, he walked away with a pack of gum. The craving passed and his dignity was saved for another day at least.

Another one has developed a small Nicorette habit. He popped about 12 at that first party and seemed a little on edge for the whole night.

His habit has gone before "council" and a debate has raged there but the others decided that if chewing Nicorettes is going to keep him from smoking, then it should be allowed. The goal, after all, is to kick the habit.

The bet is past the fourteen day mark, it’s still hard.

There are constant reminders of their former habit like driving in the car, or having a beer, their morning coffee breaks or an after dinner smoke.

Quitting smoking is more than just weaning your body from the nicotine. It’s breaking a daily routine revolved around smoking.

By the time this story goes to print they will have collectively saved about $1,000. To put that in Whistler terms, that’s almost a ski pass.

The pact, a silly as it seemed to the rest of us when it was being sealed, has really helped these guys.

What they unwittingly accomplished so far, when they are not drinking and trying to coax each other into smoking, is create a support group for themselves to encourage them in their admirable goal. Oprah would be proud.

It’s a proven and effective way to kick an addiction. It’s helped alcoholics and drug users and gamblers and pornography addicts, and it’s helped other smokers before them.

When other people are in the same boat, the challenge doesn’t seem quite as overwhelming. There’s always someone sympathetic to talk to and listen.

In fact, they say that everyone who knows about the pact has been supportive and encouraging, especially former smokers who faced the same challenge.

As any former smoker will tell you, it’s one of the hardest things in the world to quit. It’s been said that nicotine is more addictive than heroin so these guys still need all the encouragement they can get.

For now they’re just taking it one day, one hour, one coffee at a time.

Hopefully though you won’t see any of these guys walking around the village in a diaper but if you do, you’ll know he broke the pact.