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I am in my 50’s and started smoking cigarettes when I was 16. I had quit a few times when I was pregnant and again for three years, about ten years ago.
Approximately four months ago, I started thinking it was time for me to kick the habit for good and make a concerted effort to become healthier. As I was pondering this decision, my employer distributed information about ConnectCare3’s Tobacco Cessation program. I knew I was ready to quit, and now I had someone to help me. The message was clear that 2021 was meant to be the year for me to say goodbye to smoking!
ConnectCare3 assigned me to Phil Thompson, a Certified Health Coach and an American Lung Association (ALA) Freedom from Smoking Facilitator. During our initial conversation, he took the time to get to know me, along with my routines and habits, so that he could tailor my quit plan to my needs. I’m a very structured person so it was a relief that Phil does not believe in a “one size fits all” approach.
I was accustomed to smoking about 3½ packs of cigarettes each week, so he customized a quit plan for me over 12 weeks. He developed a daily and weekly goal for me, and I kept a log of how many cigarettes I was smoking each day. I felt his quit plan was reasonable and user-friendly.
I told Phil my job is stressful and that I was used to taking “smoke breaks” throughout the day. In the beginning, he suggested I smoke half of a cigarette when I’d take a break and then divert my mind to doing some exercises. He made a list of some exercises for me to do, such as squats and lifting 10-15 pound dumbbells. When I started noticing how good my arms were looking, I’d find myself wanting to do the exercises during my break instead of smoking!
I was very encouraged to realize that Phil’s quit plan wasn’t making me edgy or irritable as I had feared. And I didn’t start gaining weight either! Not only did his exercises serve as a distraction, but I was also toning areas of my body with noticeable results. As I became stronger, I became excited about cleansing my body of those toxins.
I was so happy that I didn’t experience any significant withdrawal symptoms. In fact, what I did notice were all the positives associated with not smoking:
- My hair and clothes don’t smell like smoke.
- I don’t have smoker’s breath.
- My breathing improved.
In addition to the positive factors listed above, my confidence was soaring! I had always smoked outside and tried to make sure the neighborhood children didn’t see me smoking. Now I can be the positive role model I want to be and not worry about snuffing out a cigarette if I see them headed my way.
I quit for good in early May. Phil waited patiently for me to announce when I was ready to quit completely—referring to myself as a non-smoker feels really good! I’m proud of my accomplishment and looking forward to a smoke-free life.
If you’re a smoker and eligible for ConnectCare3 benefits, I recommend you call them and enroll in their Tobacco Cessation program.
They truly understand addictions and will structure a quit plan best suited for you to be successful. I am very grateful for Phil’s help and looked forward to our weekly coaching sessions. He held me accountable but motivated me with kindness, gave great advice, and showed unwavering support. Many thanks, Phil!