I was a heroin addict for 18 years while I was living in Blackpool then, 15 years ago I moved to Carlisle and had a great GP who helped me come off the drugs. However, I could still buy alcohol and cigarettes over the counter so they became the replacement and the two went hand in hand for me.
I came back to Wirral four years ago and carried on smoking and drinking – I would have one drink and then another, and always thought that I could quit on my own.
In July this year, I ended up in hospital with an alcohol-related illness and obviously wasn’t allowed to smoke in the hospital. On the third day I went outside to have a cigarette and could hardly breathe – I thought ‘what on earth am I doing?’ and I asked for help. Safwa from ABL Wirral came to see me and thanks to her support, I’ve not had a cigarette since.
The cravings are now in my mind and not physical – it’s all about maintaining and planning. I went to a wedding and made sure I drove, planned what I would be drinking beforehand and had my inhalator with me. I’m hoping to start work again and have even joined a gym!
There is a lot of support in Wirral if you are willing to accept it and engage with the service. There is no shame in asking for help – if I can stop, anybody can. Smoking was my nemesis and I’d be so angry now if I had a cigarette. It really has changed my life.