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Peter pushed through the struggles

Peter discusses how he turned his life around, from a pack a day smoker to having no cigarettes at all

I smoked very heavily, at least a pack a day for 24 years, from the age of 19 to 43 and I enjoyed it a lot.

My marriage recently fell apart and at the same time my house was flooded, all my possessions of any worth were destroyed. For years I have been unable to go to sleep unless I was completely exhausted - as my mind would race over what I did, what I need to do and how deep in I was, which led me to only sleep at the most 3 to 4 hours a night and that was fitful sleep. To top it off my job became even more unstable, as the next round of outsourcing and sackings were announced.

I fell to pieces and went to a GP with all sorts of nervous issues, plus I had a cold which I couldn't shake. She gave me pills to force me to sleep. That was the first step that really helped. It made my brain work properly again. While I was there I asked about the pills that can help you quit smoking. She put me on Champix which cost me about $50 a month (the cost of 2 packs of my favourite 30's). These things worked so incredibly well.

I have tried to quit dozens of times with varying degrees of success all eventuating in failure, obviously. I managed to quit on my first try on Champix. You take it twice a day. Both times in the middle of your meal then I found I had no side effects. Except for some pretty rad farting but the kids get a great laugh of it. I think they do. I do anyway, so that's good.

It doesn't stop the urges completely but it massively reduced my urges. The only time I thought about smoking were triggers like driving home from work and after eating, but they are much easier to stave off with distractions  than the real addiction urges - which Champix killed dead for me.

One potential side effect is elevated aggression, so watch out for that. Also elevated appetite, but I'm not sure if that's just from actually being able to taste food again. Turns out salad actually has a taste. It just tasted like crunchy air to me for the last 24 years.

I am not captain willpower. Whoever you are I'll bet you have plenty more willpower than me - and I did it easily.

Anyway, that is my story. It doesn't have a happy ending, except that I have been off the smokes for 10 weeks now and it's really been effortless. The rest of my life is garbage, but in this one area I have succeeded and it makes me feel really good!

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