I am now on Day Ten of my personal Big Quit from the cigarettes - double figures!
I know it is only a small milestone on the road to me being able to confidently say that I am now a non-smoker, but if you had asked me a month ago what it would be like to go ten days without a fag and I would have said it would be "like hell."
So ten days into quitting the habit and I am pleased to report that it most definitely isn't hell! The nicotine patches, which you can gain on prescription if you join a NHS Stop Smoking Service group, have worked tremendously well.
The cravings have now all but gone and my usual fag-smoking routines are becoming a distant memory.
But I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has asked how I am doing, wished me luck and given me support.
The Ilminster Lions Club has also given me a huge incentive to quit the habit once and for all. For full details of their pledged support - buy a copy of this week's Chard and Ilminster News.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2012: It is Tuesday morning and I am still - officially - a non-smoker following my session last night with the NHS Somerset Stop Smoking Service.
The session at the Aqua Centre in Crewkerne saw me take the test where you have to blow into a machine and it can tell what your lung capacity is. Higher the reading, means that you have been smoking; lower the reading, means that you have not.
And I am happy to report that I gave a reading typical of a non-smoker.
I still don't class myself as a non-smoker just yet. Even though I am on Day Nine of having given up, I still think of myself as a "smoker, who has not had a fag for nine days!"
I think it will be sometime before I can actually say I'm a non-smoker.
I don't really get the cravings any more and on Saturday, while at Huish Park watching Yeovil Town against Tranmere Rovers, the smell of cigarettes during the half-time interval being smoked by other supporters was lush! But was I tempted to have a fag - NO I WASN'T, which is an important step in the right direction.
MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2012: A week has past since I gave up the cigarettes and I am happy to report that I am still going strong.
The weekend was always going to be a bit of a test, but I came through with flying colours - not being tempted by the fags, although it was quite nice to get a whiff of a fag during the half-time interval of Yeovil Town's match with Tranmere Rovers at Huish Park.
So I am now onto Day Eight of my own personal Big Quit and the patches are working incredibly well. As you have to put a new patch in a different spot each day, it is getting to the stage where I've forgotten where I've stuck them.
Tonight will also see me go along for my latest session with the NHS Somerset Stop Smoking Service session at the Aqua Centre in Crewkerne.
It will provide me with that little bit of extra encouragement and support I need. Although things are going well, I am not taking anything for granted and a gentle kick-up the backside by my advisor will be welcomed.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 2012: Just like I discovered the last time I attempted to quit the habit five-six years ago, the nicotine patches are really working well.
The cravings have virtually gone and although I find myself thinking about it every now and again, I quickly erase those thoughts from my mind.
What I have to do is to stay focussed and remain strong willed.
I heard an interesting theory at the NHS Somerset Stop Smoking Service session on Monday evening at the Aqua Centre in Crewkerne.
A lady who had so far given up for 14 weeks said she was taking each day as they come.
Instead of saying that she was giving up forever, which I suppose is quite a daunting prospect for some people trying to give up; she says to herself each morning that she isn't going to have a cigarette today. Basically taking each day as it comes, which is without question much more manageable for the brain to register.
And the other thing worth noting is this same lady said she had just had the "best Christmas ever" as the money she had saved from not buying cigarettes, had been spent on making the festive season of 2011 a very special one.
To anyone reading this who is considering giving up smoking - I would thoroughly encourage you to join a NHS Stop Smoking Service group.
The advice, encouragement and the little bit of pressure that is available really is worthwhile. I take my hat off to anyone who can give up on their own without any support, but for the majority I'm sure a helping hand would not go amiss and that is available from the NHS Stop Smoking Service.
The number will be in your phone book, but for the group I'm using - the NHS Somerset Stop Smoking Service - please call 0303-033-9840.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012: The time is approaching 9.30am and I have now gone 35 hours without a cigarette.
Yesterday was my big Quit Day and last night I attended the NHS Somerset Stop Smoking Service clinic at the Aqua Centre in Crewkerne.
Once again I was asked to blow into a machine which can guage whether you have been smoking or not. I'm no medical person so I don't know what the machine is called or how it works - but, basically, it is all to do with your lung capacity and higher the reading it shows, the more cigarettes you have had.
My advisor was shocked when I gave my initial reading back in early December when I scored 28 - a definite smoker he said.
But last night my reading had dropped to just three - "you are now a non-smoker," he told me. "Three or less is what a non-smoker would achieve."
Although it was nice to hear, I am not hanging out the bunting just yet! There is a long way to go before I can call myself a non-smoker.
At the moment I would tend to call myself "a smoker, who is trying to give up smoking!"
The cravings, which last barely a minute or so, are already becoming less and less - thanks to the 24-hour patches I'm wearing.
But one thing I struggled with last night was - sleeping! I'm not sure whether it is anything to do with me giving up smoking; whether it was the excitement of Gary Johnson returning to Yeovil Town as manager yesterday; or whether it was me thinking about this morning's newspaper deadline at the Chard and Illy!
MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2012: Well here we are on my own personal Quit Day and it is so far, so good.
I had my last fag at about 10.30pm last night and so I've now gone nearly 16 hours since lighting up.
Sixteen hours may not seem a long time to those non-smokers, but ask any smoker and 16 hours without a fag would seem like an eternity.
But I'm pleased to report that it has not been too painful! The nicotine patches I'm using have helped and although it is obviously far too early to start saying that I've cracked it, I'm pretty pleased that the cravings have not driven me to distraction.
But I will have to be careful not to let my guard down. If somebody offered me a fag now I would say "no." But would I enjoy it if I said "yes"? Of course - so I have got to make sure I do not give in to temptation.
So far today, like I have already said, I have had a few cravings. But I've kept busy.
One person and one unexpected event today has certainly helped to take my mind off the fags - the return of Gary Johnson as manager at my beloved Yeovil Town FC!
Johnson, the man who brought silverware aplenty to Yeovil Town during his first stint at the club between 2001-05, has been working his magic already, unknowingly, by taking my mind off the fags.
To coin a Gary Johnson word - cosmic!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012: There are now just a few hours to go before I bin the fags!
I went and signed up with the NHS Stop Smoking Service in early December and arranged with the advisor that my Quit Day would be Monday, January 9. So here we are - just a few hours to go.
I am getting more nervous as the hours tick by because I am determined to give up, but all smokers who go through this process know that it is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
But I'm looking forward to the challenge and receiving your messages of support!
I will 'blog' again tomorrow to let you know how I am doing.
Thursday, January 5, 2012: THERE are now just four days left before I hopefully say a "final goodbye" to the cigarettes as I look towards my big Quit Day on Monday.
I have had a number of positive messages of "good luck" from various people since my last blog on Tuesday and the story about my pending challenge appeared in yesterday's edition of the Chard and Ilminster News.
Although slightly daunted at the prospect, I am looking forward to the challenge.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012: THERE is now less than a week to go before I reach my "Quit Day" when I hope to give up the cigarettes for good.
I'm writing this having signed up with the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service in a bid to quit the habit.
I've been smoking for the past 20 years and have decided that now is the time to stub out the habit once and for all.
I went for an initial meeting with the Stop Smoking Service, which meets each Monday at Crewkerne Aqua Centre, just before Christmas where an adviser discussed a Smokefree plan to discuss my needs.
We decided that Monday, January 9, will be my Quit Day, so I have that date pencilled in my head now to when I will be saying goodbye to the fags.
This will be the second time I've made a serious attempt at quitting the habit which not only has obvious health risks but burns a hole in my wallet.
I tried to give up five or so years ago when I attended Stop Smoking Service sessions in Yeovil and I went for three months without a cigarette.
It was going really well but I then fell into the fatal trap of ‘trying one’ and before I knew it I was back smoking again – it was so frustrating.
I made further attempts on my own to give up again but failed miserably.
I need that support which the Stop Smoking Service can provide. Each time you go to a session you have to breathe into a machine which can tell whether you’ve been smoking or not.
It adds that little bit of pressure or encouragement to make you resist the temptation – I know it certainly worked when I last used the service.
Keep following my blog and for more details about the Stop Smoking Service phone
I wrote this article because I’d like to mention this problem, this major and unexpected problem that swallowed each second person from all over the world.
And I’d like you to write your opinion, suggestion or an advice for this article; if each of us wouldn’t be indifferent we’ll have more chance to save this unfair world.
Each person have a choice to smoke or not and what is your choice?