Meaning: Preoccupied or obsessed with an idea.
“Resolving The Bee In the Bonnet Problem”
by Bear Jack Gebhardt
This article was originally hosted at Seventraditions. I have been unable to locate Bear Jack Gebhardt, but have decided to save this wonderful file here at Ciggyfree until some time in the future when Jack reclaims it. Thank you Jack!
You ever get a bee in your bonnet? Or in your hat? In your car? All
of sudden, you’re not thinking of anything, else, right? Everything in
your life, except that bee, is immediately back burner.
You need to do something about that buzzing bee and you need to do it now. When you
have a bee in your bonnet, life is suddenly very intense, and
uncomfortable, or potentially uncomfortable, and that potential makes
it uncomfortable right now.
For a lot of smokers, quitting smoking is very similar to having a bee
in their bonnet, or a bee buzzing around in the car with them. Life
is suddenly very intense, and uncomfortable, or potentially
uncomfortable. They feel they need to do something about it, “right
now.” Nothing else really matters.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the lack of nicotine that makes
a quitting smoker so jumpy. The use of nicotine patches, and the new
drug Zyban can be helpful, but, so far, in fewer than 30% of the
cases. Even with nicotine levels at “ordinary,” and with stress levels
reduced, the “bee in the bonnet” feeling persists, and smokers go back
to smoking in order to let the bee out. The “relief ” which a smoker
feels with his or her first cigarette, after an unsuccessful quitting
attempt, is exactly the same relief as when the bee flies out the
window. “Whew, thank goodness that’s over.”
So, what is it, exactly, that makes a smoker feel as if he or she has
a bee in the bonnet, a bee in the car just as soon as the Quit Date
arrives? If we could figure out where the bee comes from, we could go
a long way to making it easier to quit, yes?
From careful research, and long discussions with smokers and
ex-smokers, it seems clear that the “bee in the bonnet” comes in the
form of a simple little question that the smoker continually asks.
That question is, “Should I, or shouldn’t I?”
Should I or shouldn’t I have a smoke? Should I or shouldn’t I give up
on this quitting business? The answer to the question, of course, is
logically no, don’t have one, don’t give up. That’s obvious, that’s
easy. So the smoker answers, “no, of course not, I won’t have one, I
won’t give up.” And then the question comes up again, and then again,
and then again, should I or shouldn’t I?
Here’s the rub: To answer, no, is obvious, but just to answer no does
not stop the question from recurring! The recurring question is the
bee in the bonnet!
Researchers have consistently found that the reason most smokers give
for trying and failing to quit is that they were unable to resist the
“cravings” they experienced shortly after stopping. A craving is
basically a thought repeated over and over. It may be a craving for
chocolate pie or a craving for a ski trip or a new Ferrari. A craving
is a thought repeated, again and again, until finally action is taken
or— here’s the freedom– the “craver” consciously decides to change
his or her thinking patterns. The key words here are consciously
decides. In the minutes and hours and days after quitting smoking, the
thought– in the form of a question– continually arises, “Should
I or shouldn’t I?” Most smokers assume it is their job to just keep
saying no long enough for the question to finally go away. Of course,
that works, sometimes.
More directly, though, the conscious decision to drop the question,
and think about something else, is a conscious decision to drop the
craving, and thus drop the habit. We are inherently free to drop our
cravings! In the same way we are free to develop or nourish our
Non smokers don’t ask the question, “should I or shouldn’t I” Asking
that particular mental question is the basic habit that smokers are
breaking when they quit smoking. The secret to quitting is not so much
in correctly answering the question, “should I or shouldn’t I?” The
secret is in not asking the question at all. That lets the bee out of
the bonnet. Then, whether to smoke or not smoke is simply no longer