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I feel free without smokes - Andry's story*

Monday, May 29, 2017

When I was growing up I knew that smoking was bad for my health, in our house everyone smoked, inside the house, in the car, everywhere and anywhere. But there was no shortage of information around about the dangers of smoking, be it from school or from my parents I knew it was bad. But everyone was doing it! On reflection I think that maybe the role models I had as a kid influenced me quite a lot, it didn't seem dangerous or extreme to have a casual smoke with friends it was kind of comfortable…a bit of fun.

I was in high school when I started smoking. All my mates did too. From then I was a regular and often heavy smoker. At 23 I had my first child, it didn't slow my smoking down and at 24 my partner was pregnant again. We both smoked. This time we both discussed giving up.

I had tried to give up a few times prior to this, but I never lasted more than a couple of weeks. I think I'd basically get motivated for a bit and then back slip into my old habits. But it weighed on my mind. The more I thought about what I was doing to myself the more aware I became of the impact of smoking on my health. Sometimes I enjoyed smoking and sometimes I hated it. I think a gradual acceptance of the reality of what smoking was doing to me crept further in. I'd come to realise that to continue smoking was a drain on my life, literally. I'd managed to accept that not smoking wasn't something that would deprive me but it would free me from a burden, a heavy weight I was dragging around. I'd finally decided. I still remember my last smoke, something inside me knew it was really my last and I was free. There was no radical lifestyle change or missing out on anything socially. I pretty much did everything I used to do. I just did it without the smokes.

It also demonstrates another way to my children, it shows them that smoking isn't the norm. One thing I've learned is that kids imitate what they see and what we do, we show them the way with our actions.

I really can't say enough how much freer I feel without needing the smokes in my life, there are so many reasons not to smoke and really none to continue to smoke.

I'm 41 years old and honestly I'm fitter now than I was at 24, if I was still smoking it simply wouldn't be the case. There’s a lot of support and information around these days to help people to give up, to help make the shift. I think that's great and encourage people to have faith in themselves and be open to the help of others.

*Results may vary from person to person.