As part of National No Smoking Day, Amanda shares her experiences of quitting and how our Quit Support forum made a huge difference in helping her quit for good.
“I was a serial quitter, but I think you’ve got to be a serial quitter in order to finally stop smoking for good.
I started smoking when I was 14 – 15. Back then, it was very much ‘the thing to do’. Everybody smoked, everywhere.
When you first start smoking, you’re only having one or two cigarettes and you think you’re in control. But then it starts creeping up and before you know it you’ve hit that 20-a-day milestone and you are addicted.
I didn’t enjoy it smoking. I knew it was slowly killing me, I didn’t like my clothes smelling, my hair, my breath, you know you carry constantly a packet of mints around with you to mask the smell. I was also constantly living on the edge; when is this packet going to run out, when am I going to be able to get another packet and that awful feeling at 11 o’clock at night when you haven’t got a cigarette for the next day, then you have to get in the car, go to the all night garage and pick up a packet of cigarettes. It just rules your life, but that’s addition!
Turning a corner
I started noticing that my breathing was becoming a bit more laboured. Even just climbing the stairs, I would be a bit breathless at the top of the stairs. I realised something wasn’t quite right but continued to smoke.
Then it got to the point where I realised I had to do something. I couldn’t run – not that I’m a great runner – but even just running to catch a bus would mean that I would be out of breath.
The reality of the situation hit me. I wanted to see my girls having children and be around to see my grandchildren. I wanted to elongate my life and I knew, if I carried on smoking, I would be calling it a day quicker than if I stopped.
The kitchen sink
I’d tried hypnotherapy, I’d tried acupuncture. I’d tried aversion therapy – that was so funny. I tried the patches, the gum, the inhalator, you name it, I tried it. What worked for me in the end was Champix, plus the patches as well. It was a belt and braces job! And a lot of will power. That’s why the Quit Support forum was so important in helping me quit.
There are brilliant people on there, absolutely brilliant. They’re good fun as well; it’s not all really heavy stuff. Some of them are as mad as a box of frogs, but in a nice way!
It’s the best stop smoking forum around. I don’t think there’s another one that comes anywhere close. You’re dealing with people who have been through exactly what you’re going through. They totally understand and empathise with what’s happening for you whilst you’re trying to quit.
From someone who knows…
I’ve quit for over five years now and my advice would be to never give up giving up, and never stop trying to stop, because each time to you try to quit, you learn something, even if you fail. The key is to take that learning forward and use it for the next time you feel robust enough to quit.
Get to know what your triggers are, what situations you light-up in and avoid them. So, for example, if the first thing you do when you get up is have a cup of tea and a cigarette, change it. Get up and have a shower first. Get dressed, go downstairs and have a coffee. It’s changing all that habitual behaviour.
I feel like a different person now, and the greatest thing is the freedom from dependency. That’s what I really didn’t like about smoking, that something was ruling my life. Now, it’s me taking charge of my life.”