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Tara Gives Off Smoke Signals

Dearest Tara,
I love your column. I think you're really wise, and I admire your dedication to helping others (even though you probably don't get paid very much). Anyway, I'm trying to quite smoking, and I figured that you must have a tip or two for a chain smoker like me. If you think it would help, we could meet at an outdoor café to discuss. My treat.
Sincerely, Puff Daddy

Dear Puff,
A psychotherapist once told me that it is unethical to take away a person's defenses without giving them some strengths in return. Like all the people who write me, I know that you, Puff, are a profoundly unhappy person and have more defenses than a gunboat. Far be it from me to kick away a desperate person's crutches.

But as we all know by now, a cigarette is a weapon that is deadly at both ends, and I want to spend quality time with your secondhand smoke about as much as I want to spend time with you. I mean, don't take this the wrong way, but ... boundaries. You seem real high-maintenance.

I guess what I'm trying to say, Puff, is that you should gently substitute your one addiction for another, less-harmful one. Don't be afraid to interpret "addiction" broadly. For example, why not develop an addiction to friendliness? Or common sense or money management--or how about all three? Turn handicaps into handi-CANs.

So, next time you feel the urge to light up a "cancer stick," instead pick up your phone and call a friend. "I just got the new Safeway Savings Guide!" you'll exclaim. "Gatorade--buy one, get one free!"
Hope that helps! Tara

Can't get enough of Miss T? Well, check out her "Most Spiritual Show EVER!" where you'll find New Video Adventures EACH Week! And YOUR video horoscope!.

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From the July 27-Aug. 9, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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