The main reason I accessed the service was definitely for health reasons, I was determined to achieve 4 weeks.
Patches helped me to quit but I used these as occasional support rather than always using them. They were a psychological crutch that I knew was there when needed.
The strength and successful operation of the stop smoking journey is predominantly down to the first point of contact.
The first point of contact (support guide) needs to understand why people want to stop. They must be seen to show 'empathy' towards the struggle and be fully aware that occasionally we fail and why we fall.
An excellent support worker such as mine, Sarah Sverdeloff, instinctively know this and would never judge our failings.
Due to Sarah's help, I no longer smoke and for the first time I can honestly say, "Never again".
A poor support worker is the complete opposite, and, in the past, I have come across such a person. One who berated me when, at the time, I had one cigarette. On top of this the person lorded the fact he has never smoked. On that occasion, I did not complete the course.
I visited the website and think it is excellent. I have built several in the past and find that many of them are over complicated and busy. The site is clean and bright, exactly what portrays stop smoking means.
When I smoked (isn't that a lovely way to start a sentence) I was irritated, when sleeping, by the rasping noise coming from my chest and throat.
Smoking made me lethargic, preferring to sit with a cigarette and a cup of tea in my hand. Imagine doing that 20 times a day. It is frightening thinking how many non-refundable hours of your life is lost.
I found it difficult to inhale deeply. I had constant acid reflux caused by the cigarettes. Now gone.
I love swimming but 'when I smoked' there was some deep conscious barrier not to do so. Now that I am free of cigarettes the costume is packed, the goggles are in the bag and the first day of swimming is arranged. And when I walk out of the swimming baths, I know I will get a thrill of breathing in that first inhalation of morning freshness.
I am an avid walker, but like swimming, smoking reduced the want to do so. Now quit, I am now walking again.
I personally don't think the current lockdown has helped or made it harder.
I found accessing the service via the Telephone incredibly helpful. When I tried in the past, I would have to attend a centre. This was difficult due to travelling, distance and work commitments.
The one good thing was that Sarah (my support guide) talked with me and not to me. This is essential in good communication.
"When I smoked" is a lovely way to start a sentence.