Survivor Series: My troubled marriage drove me to tobacco addiction

By S S
In this week’s Survivor Series story, SS tells us how he became a victim of tobacco addiction, his recovery and his path back to a peaceful life.
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I am SS (name changed) and I am 37 years old. I am a former tobacco addict and my journey to recovery is one that I hope will inspire others as well. 

I had a troubled marriage because of which I started consuming tobacco. While I was dealing with my marital issues, my dependency gradually increased. My relationship started to get even worse and my wife accused me of being an alcoholic and gambler. She would not allow me to meet my daughter. Because of all this, my addiction grew and I reached a point where if I didn't take tobacco, my hands would shiver. 

The turning point came when I visited the Urban Health Care Centre in January 2021 for symptoms of diabetes. The counsellors there suggested I enrol in Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation's LifeFirst Counselling Program to quit tobacco use. 

After understanding the reason for my addiction, Grishma Shah, Sr. Counselling Psychologist started working with me  and there were a total of six sessions. I was advised to take substitutes like Soaf (fennel seeds), elaichi (cardamom), and sada paan without supari (betel nut) that would act as a placebo to tobacco,  but these substitutes didn’t suffice my needs. So I started consuming paan with supari. 

Later Grishma explained to me that betel nut is also carcinogenic, and that I had to avoid that too. I was told to distract myself and to watch web series and observe myself for a week for the changes. 

I started morning walks and workouts for 2- 3 months. Lifefirst also helped me to deal with my anger issues with coping strategies like counting till five with deep breathing before responding to any issue.

I quit tobacco, but had few withdrawal symptoms. I experienced bad headaches and suffered from sleep deprivation. I began to have acidity issues, but all these were resolved gradually after taking medication prescribed by a  doctor. 

Thanks to the support of Lifefirst session, my family started noticing a good change in me. I threw all the tobacco I had secretly stashed , stopped buying tobacco, and instead started eating the right food, and enjoyed eating. I also went shopping for myself. 

My family was happy to know that I have started taking care of myself. I have started living my life anew and this was possible only with the day to day guidance of Lifefirst program.

Edited by Diya Koshy George

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