Testimony and advice of Anouck, an ex-smoker
Quitting smoking is a real challenge. You can face many withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety and nervousness. Smokers suffer from diverse kinds of addiction – mental, physical or behavioral. They have to find new, healthy habits to get rid of the addiction.
The will to quit
Anouck started smoking in high school when she was fifteen and a half. She did it to be “cool” and to follow her friends. At first, she smoked a few cigarettes here and there and then began to buy her own packs. A year later, she was smoking one pack per day; whether at night with a glass of wine, in a good restaurant or at work. she would take a break and hang out with other smokers.
The decision to quit came little by little. “I stopped beacause I saw the pain tobacco can cause. A friend of my mother died from a throat cancer due to smoking. His state shocked me and I started to feel guilty every time I was smoking.” But it took time. “ Two years later, I had a sore throat which was an epiphany for me. I threw out my cigarette pack and since then I stopped.”
Learn to change your habits.
“ Quitting was very hard for me. The first week was awesome. But then at university, I cut myself from my usual group of friends. I did not take a break with my smoker friends anymore.” I got depressed and had low self-esteem like a lot of smokers in her case. “ I felt that I lost a piece of myself and tried to compensate with something else such as food. I gained weight and became even more introverted”. Anouck had to get rid of smoker gestures she was used to. “I did not know what to do with my arms.” Today, these painful moments are behind her. She knows that she is lucky to have stopped. “ Today it feels like I never smoked.”.
“Quitting smoking at home saved me”.
Smoking meant being part of a cool group, feeling safe and confident. I had to break this image to understand what the cigarette is really about.
Her first advice for smokers is “ The first thing to do is to quit at home. It is the hardest thing. Also try to hang out with non-smokers.
The key to success : Support.
Anouck saw her sister quit smoking after her. She succeeded in two months only, which makes her realize how important support in the quitting process is. Her 29-year-old sister started smoking at the same age as her. She chose to follow a different approach, constantly asking for the support of relatives and went through hypnosis. Nonetheless she kept spending time with smokers. She fought against her addiction. But thanks to the social support she had, it only lasted two months. “ That changed everything” she concluded.