My first experience with smoking a cigarette at fifteen left me coughing; the truth is tobacco taste is vile.

It was not until I turned eighteen that I became a regular smoker. I started with Silk Cut and then graduated to Benson & Hedges Gold.

I did not always enjoy every cigarette, but the ones after dinner or with alcohol were the best.

I remember they used to sell singles, and I would purchase them when I could not afford a box of ten.

For years I believed that smoking helped me relax when I was stressed. It gave me patience when waiting for a bus and made me feel sophisticated.

Smoking also contributed to my asthma, throat infections and my stay in the hospital at nineteen.

I developed a sore throat which turned into an abscess on my tonsils. (Quinsy) I could not swallow and eventually lost my voice.

I was rushed into the hospital dehydrated and seriously underweight after weeks of being unable to swallow.

I vowed to quit smoking from the day I was discharged. This was a frightening experience. After a few weeks, I was smoking again.

I was relieved when I left home at 20; now, I can smoke in my own home. A very bad idea as my habit increased.

Whenever I was stressed, I would constantly pick up a cigarette. If someone smoked on TV, I would smoke with them.

I only gave up smoking for three years in my thirties because I was participating in fitness competitions.

My smoking returned, and I was now buying cigarettes in bulk quantities so I would not run out.

My choice of tobacco was menthol as I believed it was healthier than the others.

I had been told by many older people that I should quit as I would suffer the consequences when I got older. My attitude was that I did not care and that ‘everyone is going to die sometime.’

I was not afraid or cared about dying as I had been suffering from depression most of my life and was already self-destructing.

I was annoyed when I would get a box of cigarettes only to find an awful picture of lung disease printed on it. I would demand they give me a different package.

My local newsagent said, “if you don’t like the picture, stop smoking.”

I did not once think of respiratory diseases. Cancer was the only endgame, and I was not going to fight it.

The pandemic was the only thing that made me question why I was filling my lungs with poison when people in hospitals were fighting to breathe.

Cutting down would never have been the answer, as I had tried that and failed.

I went ‘cold turkey’ and instantly stopped without help or support, just like I did when I gave up drinking over four years ago.

The feeling of guilt and shame made me do this, and the fact that my Father had died from metastatic colorectal cancer and had never smoked in his life.

By the grace of God, I have no intentions of revisiting those bad habits.

A day at a time.



The Scripture of Balance Author & Founder

We need to take back control of our lives, when you find the power within you the battle is almost won!! Live in UK Bipolar Survivor NATALIE M BLEAU