The fight to quit smoking -Day one

You may have read earlier this week that my wife and I have taken the decision to quit smoking. If you didn’t read that post then don’t worry, that last sentence has brought you right up to date!

My initial plan had been to write the post and make myself accountable to anyone who reads the blog and to then never mention it on here again. After all, this is a blog about parenting and my little man.

I’ve changed my mind. Instead I am going to share my journey and hope that it both motivates us and may even help others looking to quit. I realised how different my initial clinic with the NHS was from my expectations so perhaps it is a story worth sharing.

I went to the doctors surgery without having really considered what questions would be asked and particularly what my real aim was from the visit. I had assumed I would be showing up to have a few breathing and blood pressure tests and sent on my way with a few drugs and a message to stop smoking straight away.

In reality the first clinic with the NHS was far from my vision. There are no tests, no lectures and most surprisingly for me there is no expectation that you will never smoke again after the appointment.

It was simply a quick chat about which medication could help and a few little tips and techniques on how to break the addiction. The tablets we were given, Champix, allow you to continue smoking whilst taking the tablets anyway and as such little has really changed for us so far.

We had decided before the visit that Champix was the drug that we wanted. We have heard a few success stories from friends and relatives who have managed to quit by using it and since both my wife and I failed previously using other products it seemed the obvious choice.

For those not aware of Champix as an option it is certainly worth researching. The general idea is that rather than simply replacing the nicotine kick each time using a gum or spray, Champix tablets make you feel as though you no longer want to smoke at all. I realise this all sounds too simple and the drug is far more complex than this. I also appreciate that willpower is going to needed but losing the desire to smoke sounds good to me!

I was actually a little surprised that Champix was not initially offered. The nurse went through a great range of aids such as inhalers, gums and patches but it was not until I mentioned the tablets that it was discussed. Some of the potential side effects sound pretty awful but we will cross our fingers and hope they don’t affect us too much.

It may show just how deep the problem is that the first thing we both did when leaving the surgery was to have a cigarette. There was a strange feeling of guilt when lighting it and a bizarre feeling that we had to be out of sight of the surgery or they will come chasing us for a telling off.

So for now, we are just making a few subtle changes. We have set ourselves a rule of one smoke an hour which although still sounds a lot, it is a bit of a reduction on our usual. It also breaks a few of the habitual cigarettes we have throughout the day even without needing nicotine. For example, we always have one before leaving the house and one when we get back. On a short trip this can sometimes mean only 20mins in between.

Of course until the medication kicks in this is all just a bit of a dress rehearsal for quitting. I have been a little shocked that I have been short tempered and grumpy at times today but realise this may not be just because of a few less cigarettes.

Luckily for us today was Robbie’s day at the nursery and as such the largest cause of our stress was missing. He did manage to keep me up for most of the night before leaving though which may have contributed to my mood swings. Our crazy cat repeatedly meowing loudly in my face for absolutely no reason earlier resulted in me storming up the stairs and hiding in the bedroom until he stopped. This was after just 45 minutes without smoking. It’s going to be tough.

I’ll be posting a regular updates on here regarding our progress and hopefully our success in quitting smoking. I’ll be honest with any slip ups and happily gloat with any victories! It may or may not help us to achieve our goals but hopefully will give others looking to start the same journey a little bit of an idea of what to expect when setting out.

Thanks for reading, Steve.

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