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I smoked for 15 years. Smoking caused me to have shortness of breath, fatigue, bad breath, and financial stress. Thankfully, after many failed attempts, I was able to quit with the help of Alisa Allicock, FNP, at Chatham County Employee Health Center.

During my health coaching sessions, Alisa taught me about how smoking negatively affected my blood pressure and poisoned my body. I understood the gravity of the situation when she showed pictures and videos of what happens to lungs and other body parts when exposed to nicotine and tar. We identified my triggers and built a list of alternative activities I could do to overcome urges, such as write poetry, draw, play video games, and play with my kids.

I have stopped smoking and drinking, and am astonished by the benefits. I am closer to my children and no longer smell like cigarettes, feel fatigued, or feel as financially stressed. I was even able to buy a new car with the money I saved! Now, I’m working on my diet, nutrition, and am exercising three times a week with my sister.

I used to sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes while I watched my kids play, but now I’m outside playing with them. My kids were always my driving force. When it got difficult, I focused on how much I wanted to be around for them in the future. Anything is possible with good friends, family, and help. I am thankful for the health center’s supportive staff for convincing me I could succeed.