Quitting and getting ahead in life

Atlanta had smoked on and off for almost 30 years, with four or five serious quitting attempts made over that time. It was only after she started investigating the support available to her—both through quitting medication and through calling Quitline—that she felt confident she could give up for good.

“My last quitting attempt ended when my mother passed away. I naturally reached for the familiar comfort of smoking during that tough time. But as the weeks passed, I knew that smoking just wasn’t something I felt I needed in my life any more.

I tried going cold turkey, but found it really challenging. That’s when I went to see my doctor and chat about other ways to quit.

My doctor got me on to Champix, but I knew that the medication is only half the story—it takes a while to kick in, and there’s also the psychological addiction that you have to overcome, too. He referred me to Quitline for support, and it was absolutely brilliant. It was just what I felt I needed.

From that first call, Quitline was really useful in giving me tips to get through those tough moments—when I felt a craving coming on, or if I was going to experience a trigger situation—until my Champix started working. We also discussed how I was feeling on the medication and that everything was going as expected.

As I prepared to stop the Champix, they made sure that I felt ready. We even had a back-up plan in place if I felt a strong urge to smoke again.

We established weekly contact—they called me at the same time each week. I think that when you’re trying to break a habit as strong as smoking, establishing a new routine is really important. The one-on-one contact that you have with your counsellor is really helpful and supportive. You feel like you’re talking to a friend.

I’m now proud to say that I’ve been a non-smoker for over a year, and I don’t miss it one bit. It’s like I never smoked in the first place. I can even be in situations that would have triggered me before—like being around other smokers, being in an new situation, or having a few drinks—and I don’t think about smoking at all.

I’m really fortunate that I was also able to build support networks around me. My family is really proud of me, and my flatmate no longer smokes around me. Those little things, that encouragement, makes it that much more achievable.

I’m a huge advocate for both Champix and Quitline—but you’ve got to find what’s right for you, because everyone’s different. That’s where Quitline can help—even if you don’t want to quit today, they can help you plan towards it.

After a year as a non-smoker, the impact in other aspects of my life is incredible. I used to have breathing problems if I bent over to tie my shoes. Now, I ride 10 km to work every day. I find that I generally have more energy to go out and do things, including exercising. And the money I’ve saved from cigarettes in just 12 months has already seen me get $6,000 ahead on my mortgage repayments—so that’s certainly something to celebrate!

Quitting smoking has also encouraged me to look at other things I want to change, like reducing my alcohol intake, meditating every day and looking at ways I can modify my relationship to food and other addictive behaviours. Champix has changed something in my chemistry or neural patterns that has allowed me to look at other ‘addictions’ honestly and with a less guilt-ridden attitude. So I can feel there is hope that I can be the person I want to be.”

—Atlanta, 46

Are you starting to feel like you don’t need smoking in your life anymore? There’s no better time than now to make the phone call that can help you plan your quitting strategy. Call Quitline 13 78 48 to speak to a trained counsellor.