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My Story of Quitting Smoking. You Don’t Have to do it Alone

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, however it’s often not an easy process.

Withdrawal can have a number of challenges and while most people find these subside within a few weeks it’s common for people to try quitting a few times before being able to successfully kick the habit long term.

Star Health offers a free service to community members looking to quit or reduce smoking so you can lead a healthier life.

Nadine, a former participant and now a peer mentor has kindly shared her experience with us below:

I was well and truly addicted, smoking around 50 cigarettes a day.

Smoking would bookend every activity- before a coffee, after a coffee, before a meal, after a meal, waiting for a tram, getting off the tram.

Nicotine truly had a hold of me – I would think about smoking constantly and my mood was dependent on whether or not I was able to smoke.

The cost was getting ridiculous and unmanageable. I was spending as much on tobacco as I was on rent.

Having been a heavy smoker for 20 years, I had wanted to quit for several years but had never truly believed that it was possible to be a nonsmoker, but I was so desperate as I hated the habit and everything it entailed. The cost, the horrible smell, the tar stained fingers and teeth, the shortness of breath, the feeling of being ostracised, weak and powerless.

Smoking was such a strong part of my identity, even though it was something I detested, got little pleasure from and was ashamed of.

The smoking cessation program gave me strategies and tools to overcome barriers and reduce my smoking. The knowledge I gained gave me greater insight into my smoking behaviours and empowered me to take control of my addiction.

I loved the group environment. It was a nonjudgmental, safe and supportive place where we could share our thoughts, experiences and struggles, and motivate and cheer each other on.

The more I was able to reduce my smoking, the more my confidence and hope that a smokefree future could happen grew. I had more money in my pocket. I was able to treat myself for the first time – coffees, dining out, movies, massages and eventually travel.

After completing the program, I attended individual counselling sessions with a smoking cessation counsellor, and with her help and the knowledge I had already gained, I was able to reduce and eventually quit.

The journey was hard, but definitely worthwhile. It wasn’t easy or straightforward – it was definitely 2 steps forward 1 step back, but I can honestly say that it was the best thing I’ve ever done and something I’m extremely proud of achieving.

As a peer mentor, I have had the delight of sharing my experiences and being able to see others significantly reduce their smoking behaviours as they gain knowledge and learn strategies to be more in control of their smoking behaviours. I have also seen the power of the group environment.

Since quitting, all areas of my life have dramatically improved – socially, emotionally, physically and financially. I’m healthier, my sense of taste and smell have returned, I have more money, don’t feel ostracised, am sleeping better, my clothes, hair and home no longer stink, and I am no longer tied down and a slave to cigarettes. I can go anywhere without having to figure out where and when I can smoke. I am free of my crippling addiction and it feels so liberating.

It feels amazing to be able to call myself a nonsmoker, and I only wish I had done it sooner. If I could do it, I promise you can do it too. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

If you would like to reduce or quit smoking, please feel free to get in touch via our website or via phone: 9525 1300