Among many other pursuits and interests in life, I’ve been a stage and TV actor, a theater director, writer and producer, a musician and composer, public speaker, singer/dancer, sculptor / designer, stand-up poet …I’ve always been good at things that involve communication and require creativity. Along with all that, I was also a pack-a-day cigarette smoker for 30 years, and a regular consumer of drugs and alcohol.
By 2002 this “way of life” had caught up with me. I could hardly get up a flight of stairs without gasping and wheezing. I was plagued with a chronic cough and chest colds that lasted forever. My doctor showed me an ominous looking x-ray and told me that, if I didn’t (at least) quit smoking immediately, I’d be next in line for an oxygen tank and emphysema.
Even though I recognized the serious physical need to quit and feared potentially catastrophic outcomes; somehow that still didn’t make me quit. I wanted to change the negative health behaviors, but I kept having trouble with “The Mental Part.” Eventually, I found success with hypnosis because it directly addressed the main thing I’d been lacking — mental focus. Emerging from an adolescent haze of smoke at age 46, I found a new outlook on life and became interested in the study of hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming and the power of the mind.
In 2004 I started NGH training to become a hypnotherapist myself. I also went back to college at UCD to study psychology, psychopharmacology and the cognitive / behavioral aspects of addiction. I became a Certified Hypnotherapist, an NLP Master Practitioner and a tobacco cessation expert. I’ve been in private practice full-time since January of 2005, and since then I’ve put in about 15,000 clinical hours working with over 2,500 smokers, tobacco chewers, and people wanting to quit marijuana and/or other unhealthy habits. Every session is different because every person is different, so I’m thankful for the creative thinking skills I gained from my arts career(s) because they directly increase my ability to relate and communicate with whoever might walk through the door.
This mid-life attitude change and career change brought a total lifestyle change along with it. I’ve been smoke and drug free since 2002. I have no trouble at all bounding up a flight of stairs these days…. I’m an avid long-distance runner, I’ve completed six marathons, and about a dozen half-marathons. I enjoy cycling, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, climbing Colorado’s 14rs — all things I missed out on as smoker. I’m fitter and healthier in my mid-fifties than I ever was in my youth, and I have the attitude and energy to stay successfully self-employed in not just one, but two careers.
I haven’t had the time or interest for theater work since I started HypNoSmoke, but that prior experience certainly adds to my effectiveness (and enjoyment) when presenting large group seminars. I’ve also been fortunate to create a new mode of stage performance that integrates all of my theatrical experience — writing, directing, design, acting — into a unique kind of educational symphony concert series that I developed for myself to perform. If you’re interested to see how the improvements in my “Mental Game” have also evolved my arts career, please feel free to visit www.frankoden.com.
Meanwhile, I get a lot of creative satisfaction from daily life — writing the contents of my own mind; directing my own life experiences; acting in the ways that build character and bring happiness to my family and friends. I devote countless volunteer hours working with youth through school programs and through the Boy Scouts. The creativity involved in helping others learn to acheive their own goals is extremely gratifying to me, and the collection of letters I’ve recieved from former clients means far more to me than any theatrical review.