By Gary Peck
CreateSpace, 285 pages, $14.99
Author Gary H. Peck was born to write this book. He spent thirty years as a clinical specialist in pulmonary/respiratory care and then served as an ordained minister for many years. After that, he continued his work bi-vocationally in respiratory care. He knows the medical effects of smoking, as well as the emotional and spiritual challenges people face trying to quit.
In Rise from the Ashes, Peck delves into the commonality of quitting smoking and making any other transformation in a person’s life; just like in nature, a caterpillar changes into a butterfly or the mythical phoenix has new life after bursting into flames. He states, “For transformation to occur, you may need to change your way of thinking – to adopt a spiritual worldview.” In his Stages of Change Model, there are six degrees of change: Pre-contemplative (not ready to quit), Contemplative (thinking about quitting), Preparation (ready to quit), Action (quitting), Maintenance (staying quit), and Termination (living quit). Similarly, the spiritual stages for change are Awakening, Conversion, Purgation, Illumination, and Union. Peck discusses in immensely researched detail how the psychological and spiritual models complement each other. It offers a more natural way to quit smoking, one that we, as humans, were designed to embrace for a successful transformation. Smoking is more about what’s missing in our lives than it is about getting rid of the bad habit. It’s a powerful tool in the quitting smoking process and becoming a more complete person.
“French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin suggested that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.””
The 49 short chapters are designed to be read one a day, so by the end of seven weeks, if you’re serious about this journey, you will be a non-smoker. Many quotes fill the pages, causing readers to contemplate the significance and relevance in their lives. The Endnotes would fill another entire book, which is perfect for a self-study. As with most quit-smoking books, it is filled with all the usual frightening, albeit ineffective to smokers, statistics about smoking, but they are delicately woven throughout the chapters in a non-judgmental and not-too-clinical design. This is intense reading, but for anyone with addictions, or anyone who knows an addict, it’s worth the read!
Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson