Quit-smoking by Ilse de Koning (36)

December 8, 2020

Read Ilse de Koning’s story here. She went off to SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain to kick her habit.

Ilse de Koning (36): ‘I finally understood why I smoked’ 

“I actually never thought of myself as a heavy smoker. I could easily make a packet last two days. And I didn’t even enjoy it. A couple of years ago I got into a new relationship with a someone, and he made it quite clear how much he detested cigarette smoke. It was a while before things got serious between us, because he was so bothered by my smoking. He didn’t like the smell. Whenever we had a date, I wouldn’t smoke for a day before, so that he wouldn’t notice it. But I couldn’t keep it up in the end – apparently I was more addicted than I thought.

I was head over heels, so made various attempts at quitting. I managed for a few weeks at a time, but there always came a challenging moment that led me to reach for the cigs. I told myself how weak I was, and was really hung up about it. When I discovered you could actually go on special holidays to help you quit smoking, I thought to myself: yes, that’s it. I went to SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain alone. I smoked my last cigarette at Schiphol in a stinky smokers’ room. I remember thinking: how great would it be to not have to do this anymore …

 Quitting smoking wasn’t actually as bad as I anticipated. The hotel was super-deluxe and the food was deliciously light. It’s kind of weird having all kinds of medical tests done whilst you’re on holiday, and the results were sometimes quite confrontational. The acupuncture sessions really helped, and my lust for cigarettes soon diminished. But the thing that helped me the most were the conversations with the psychologist and coach. I finally understood why I smoked and what it did for me. For me, it was a way to get a grip on tense situations, as well as a means of dissipating the discomfort. Once you have that realisation, you can look for other ways to get that same effect.

It’s been six months since I last smoked. I’m still surprised at how easy it’s been, actually. I don’t miss it, and don’t only feel healthier; I finally feel free, too.”

‘Your body starts a massive cleanse just one day after your last cigarette: it feels good!’

View all our Quit Smoking Programmes