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James's journey

James has a sobering story, about the difficulties in staying quit.

My story starts off well

I quit cold turkey in 2008 because I met someone special and felt happy in life and this gave me the confidence and positive outlook I needed to quit smoking. And I did it!

The first three months I quit smoking was like being born again. I felt a new lease of life, my health problems cleared up and I was happier than I had been for a long time. I felt like I had beaten this thing that had troubled me all of my adult life. I was never happy as a smoker, I hated it, I just never had the courage to go through the first few weeks of quitting, this time I did.

As the months went by I never really gave a thought to smoking, it was a memory, I felt safe that I was over them, didn't need them. Then, I let my guard down and I started to drink more often. At first, I never got the urge to smoke. I used to enjoy telling people that I had quit but I found myself drinking more than I usually did.

After a year of not smoking, I was in a bar one day and got a sudden overwhelming urge to smoke, it shook my confidence and I went outside and bought a pack of smokes. I had one, felt awful, guilty, and said it would never happen again and I threw the rest of them away.

A few weeks later, the same thing happened again when I was out in the bar drinking. The cravings to smoke had returned and soon after this I was back to smoking 10 a day.

I am now finding it extremely difficult to quit, even harder than I did before. I want to warn people of the dangers of drinking when you quit smoking. Even after a year of quitting smoking, this addiction that I thought had been beaten came back to get me, it was only when I was drinking that I was tormented with the urge to smoke. If you quit smoking, do yourself a favour and avoid alcohol for as long as possible because it lowers your guard and makes you forget the reasons why you quit smoking. It gives you a false sense of reality and allows your old enemy to get a foot hold again.

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Staying quit

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