This is the place where I’m supposed to tell you all about me – who I am, why I’m doing this, and maybe even why you should care.
Instead, I want to tell you a story.
Back in 1974, I smoked my very first cigarette. I did it for all the usual reasons: I wanted to look cool. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to seem grown up. I wanted my friends (or in this case, my cousins) to like me.
It was horrible, of course. I barely managed to suppress the coughing fit as the smoked traveled down into my lungs, and I’m sure I failed miserably at looking ‘cool’ as I turned green from the unaccustomed dose of smoke and nicotine.
But practice makes perfect…
Fast-forward a couple of decades: By 1994 I’d smoked off-and-on for 20+ years. I’d tried quitting more ways than I could count on my fingers and my toes.
And I was two years into a Ph.D. program for research psychology.
Physician, heal thyself!
OK, I’m not a physician, but as a psychologist I was learning things that were clearly relevant to the task at hand: Eliminating the psychological aspects of the addiction that had brought me back to smoking after quitting repeatedly, sometimes for more than a year.
And I did quit, one last time.
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Some Facts About Me
- My name is Deanna Sykes. By training I am a research psychologist (Ph.D. from UC Davis, 1997), and I’ve been a public health research scientist for more than a decade now.
- I like helping folks. Against the advice of my own academic advisors, when I wrote my ‘letter of intent’ to get into graduate school, I admitted this tendency. They let me in anyway.
- I’ve always believed that scientific research is intended to be used to make our lives better. But there’s an odd trend in academia to devalue ‘applied’ research: It’s just not as prestigious. (Guess how much I care about prestige…)
- On a personal level, I’m persistent, I see connections between things, I love to share knowledge, and I read a lot.
- My greatest strength (and also possibly my most annoying quality) is that when I discover something cool, I really like to share it with people I care about.
What you’ll find here is a reflection of all of those things.
I have a lot of knowledge – both personal and professional – about smoking, and nicotine addiction, and psychology, and dependence. And I realize that a lot of people have questions about how to quit.
My goal is to answer as many of those questions as I can. My hope is that this effort contributes in some way to people’s success at quitting.
But enough about me. Time to ask your questions, or search for answers. Don’t forget to sign up for updates if you haven’t yet!