How I quit during Stoptober 2013
My smoking journey until Stoptober 2013
I started smoking when I was over 21! How silly was I?! Other than the odd Silk Cut, I successfully avoided the habit when I was a teenager, didn’t start when I was at Uni, but waited until I was working to decide to take up a not-so-cool habit!! Looking back, I think it made work go that bit quicker, plus 80% of colleagues, and clients were probably smokers as well.
My quit journey…
I made lots of attempts to quit over the next two decades, ranging from a few hours to a couple of years, but would resort back to smoking from 10 – 20 a day. I tried gum, patches, inhalators, tapping, hypnosis, cold turkey, reading books, cutting down, changing brands, avoiding smokers, and everything I could think of to stop the urge to light up. Ultimately though – for the quits that lasted less than 2 months – my desire to quit just wasn’t strong enough! A blue sky day sitting in the garden, being stuck in traffic, making a phone call, with a glass of wine, when bored, when excited, when sad, when thoughtful, when with a smoker, before a meal, after a meal, escape route or avoidance tactic, when with someone who is boring, when stressed, when calm…. all great times to light up!!
My final quit before Stoptober
Cutting forward to the future – around beginning of September 2013. I had watched a member of my family spend lots of time on on the roller coaster of the cancer journey – visiting chemo and cancer units, supported through Macmillan and local teams and then subsequently die from cancer (not smoking related). My stress related smoking habit during this time had increased to 25 – 40 cigarettes a day and in all honesty, got me through some difficult times. However something had to change. But when?
My health was OK and therefore not a driver for change (other than occasional chest infections and a cough that I refused to believe was from inhaling smoke). My future worries were only niggles (concern of throat or lung cancer were the main ones). Financially, I was in a good job and could justify / ignore the expenditure. Realising that I was averaging 30 cigarettes a day was difficult to ignore.
What is Stoptober?
Launched in 2012, Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England that encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good. Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good. The campaign chunks down the quitting process, presents it as a more manageable 28 days and rallies people around a specific date to get started. https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/6-stoptober/overview
What made me take part in Stoptober?
After hearing me say “I really need to stop smoking” – one friend challenged me to quit and would give £50 to Target Ovarian Charity if I managed it. Whilst that is a great sum of money – it wasn’t enough for me, as I could stick it in the pot and keep smoking!! A second friend said she would also give me £50 if I quit. We are now looking at £100 which could make a difference. Another friend jumped in to the conversation and said she would also sponsor me to quit.
Before I knew it, I was running a Just Giving page and asking friends / family and strangers to sponsor me to quit smoking for 28 days! To make it a harder challenge (as if quitting smoking isn’t hard enough) – I also make it a Go Sober for October – no alcohol for 28 days. It was a long and tough month! I was pretty consumed with grief anyway, which plays havoc with sleeping and eating cycles, plus does nothing for your mood!
In total, I raised £1020 plus £210 in gift aid through lots of lovely donations from lots of lovely people.
I remain a non smoker. As of today –
I haven’t smoked for 3 years, 11 months, 8 days, 13 hours – I haven’t smoked 34550 cigarettes, and haven’t spent £14,683 on cigarettes.
Join me on Stoptober 2017!
Do you want to stop smoking? If yes, I want to help you!!
I am offering free hypnotherapy / BWRT sessions to 10 people who want to quit. I just ask that you donate my session fee to Target Ovarian or do your own fundraising for a cancer charity of your choice. If you want to quit – then I will help you get there.
Get in touch to find out more details. Sessions take place in Westcliff, Essex at my Live your Life Therapy rooms.