Chris stopped smoking with help and support from Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale after the team attended a support clinic at The Basement Recovery Project, a service which helps people overcome addictions to substances and alcohol and supports their recovery.
Take a look at Chris’s story here:
What made you decide to join Yorkshire Smokefree?
The decision to join Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale was an unexpected and an unplanned decision that happened purely out of coincidence. Currently I’m part of a group that helps people overcome addiction and helps individuals like me to get their lives back on track. The group I currently attend and have done, for the past 3 years or there about is The Basement Recovery Project that operates as part of Calderdale Recovery Steps.
Back in November 2015 I was told by the staff at the Basement Recovery Project that there was going to be a stop smoking group running in January 2016 and would I be interested in attending the service. I attended the information session that was held by the staff from Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale and I was intrigued to give it a go- Why not?
Various other members from the service also attended the group which made giving it a go that bit easier. The stop smoking service using the Basement Recovery Project as a place where the group was delivered was definitely an advantage and possibly a big part of why I’m currently 7 week quit. I took advantage of the fact it’s somewhere I feel confident to attempt new challengers where previously I may not have attempted.
Tell us about your experience of the health issue(s) that meant you needed our services
Prior to quitting smoking if you had asked me this question I may have suggested that I’m generally healthy and don’t really suffer from smoking related health problems.
I’ve always been generally active, managing to fulfil day to day tasks that both general life throws at you and the demands most manual workers are required to complete.
Smoking has always been part of my life, even as a child I have memories of my father smoking and I’m aware that as a family we have history of smoking related illnesses. So it’s always been something I am aware off as a smoker and that I’m likely to develop a smoking related illness if I continued to smoke.
How has this affected your life?
Smoking has generally been part of my life so it’s a difficult question to answer as it’s something I’ve just always done.
Within the past number of weeks since quitting smoking even though it’s early days, I have started to see what being a smoker stops me from doing, and how much I disliked smoking.
Since stopping smoking I have started to recognise how people may have seen me as a smoker and maybe associated me as ‘Chris who smokes’ or more importantly, as a father, how my son must have associated me as a smoker.
What has the reaction of the Yorkshire Smokefree team been to your situation?
The team have been great from start to finish. Without doubt if the stop smoking team had not decided to work with the Basement Recovery Project I know for a fact I would have still been smoking and possibly have no intention of quitting, let alone attending any stop smoking service. Even seven weeks down the line the thought that I have actually stopped is unnerving and somewhat surprising as prior to November I would have said I was a happy smoker.
If only I had known what I know now, I would like to think I would be more like seven years quit not 7 weeks!
What have the Yorkshire Smokefree team done for you? How have they helped?
The group that was set up after the initial consultation was only the start of the quit attempt we had a further 8 weeks’ worth of group based support and I’m currently receiving further one to one support by the team until I reach my 12 week quit date.
As part of the service, I was able to choose from a variety of stop smoking products, which I found very helpful especially in the early days of my quit. I am currently in the process of reducing my patch strength and I have found that I barely use the Quickmist now I have conquered the early stages of my quit.
What were the most positive changes you made to your lifestyle?
Currently it’s still early days but I have recognised that I definitely have more energy and I am more physically active. As part of the recovery process at the Basement Project we are encouraged to partake in various activities and exercise is one of them. I have always been one to give things a go but since stopping smoking I have found I am actively looking at what I can get involved in, especially when it involves manual activities.
My most positive change that I am most proud of is my relationship with my son which has improved since stopping smoking. I feel I have more quality time to spend with him instead of my consistent and regular cigarette breaks. Even within a short period of time I feel that stopping smoking has been a positive step forward to improving my lifestyle and future.
What did you find most difficult? And how did you overcome it?
Generally the quit has been surprisingly manageable but if I was to identify periods of the day I find especially difficult I would have to say the first thing in a morning. I have always particularly enjoyed the first cigarette in a morning. I’ve changed my morning routine and made sure I take my Quickmist spray as I find that dulls the morning cravings. If I was to just wear my patch I think I would find it more difficult. Even though I still make sure my patch is on I find my craving less and less, so I’m managing fine at this moment in time.
What health benefits / improvements in your life have you had since stopping smoking?
Recently I have found that I’m more willing to participate in physical activities, even more so since stopping smoking. Prior to stopping smoking I was attending various exercise sessions that the Basement project had put on including yoga, spinning, keep fit classes and more recently football. I have never particular liked football especially as I’ve two left feet but recently I’ve found I have enjoyed the sessions as it’s a lot easier now I’m not gasping for breath.
The stop smoking services have given me a free weeks pass to access the Calderdale council gym’s which I intend on using very soon.
Is there anything trust services could have done differently or better for you?
I can honestly say I cannot think of what could have been done differently as I have had a positive experience.
Has anything in particular helped you through your problems? (eg attending a support group, exercise, volunteering, art, gardening etc) Can you tell us more about this?
The stop smoking service has been great but I would have to say that the support and help I currently receive through the Basement Recovery Project has made the quit attempt more manageable. I have come a long way with regards to my other addiction and I have learnt a lot from the Basement Recovery Project. I found using what I have learned about addiction transferable to stopping smoking. I currently still access the Basement Recovery Project and still take part in a lot of activities that help with my recovery but I would like to think that now I am currently a non-smoker that these actives will become a lot easier and more manageable.
Is there any other information that you think is important to your story?
I am particularly proud of my quit but I am even more proud of my son’s reaction the day he realised that I had not been for a cigarette. I had not mentioned I was stopping smoking as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to quit as I’ve never tried before so I didn’t want to disappoint him or myself. I had stopped smoking for a couple days and I was due to have my son for the day and was somewhat excited to see if he noticed that I was not smoking. On arrival it was like any other day that I spend with my son and it wasn’t until a couple of hours later when I broke and I wanted to know if he had realised anything different about his dad today. With a little encouragement he said, “You haven’t been out for a cigarette!” I was happy to be able to reply that, because I’ve stopped smoking.
He was thrilled with what I had achieved and I could see from his face that it was something he must have really disliked.
A few weeks of what you could say were challenging times where worth every minute to be able to see the reaction my son gave to me and it has spurred me on to remain quit.
Congratulations on becoming smokefree Chris!
If you would like to find out more about the Basement Recovery Project, please see: http://thebasementproject.org.uk/