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Sandra is one of our wonderful mentors who has had her own struggles in her quit smoking journey so she understands all too well what it is like to try and give up smoking. Having smoked about 20 cigarettes a day for 52 years, she has now been cigarette-free for a year and has supported many other members with compassion and wisdom through their quitting journey. We are extremely grateful to have Sandra as a Truequit mentor.

Deborah: Welcome to True Quit Testimonial Stories. And today I have with me Sandra Shelford, who is someone who has done our programme but now is also one of our lovely mentors cause she helps others quit smoking as well. So, Sandra, welcome. Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s really nice to have you here. And we are very interested to hear from you about your quitting smoking story.

Sandra: Thank you, Deborah. I’m pleased to be here. I do anything for you guys because I’m so grateful to be a non-smoker, finally. First time in my whole adult life really, for any length of time. It’s brilliant.

Deborah: That’s so good to hear.

Sandra: It’s more good to be. I tried. It is very sceptically. Of course, smokers do tend to go on and on and fail miserably at things, but then when you want to give something up, you do keep on trying and try another method, then another method. So I come across this one and thought, what have I got to lose? And I hate going online. It was going online, little videos every day, which was nothing. It was only a few minutes every day. But I’m not very technically minded, so that was a challenge. Plus, of course, you always get fearful when you’re about ready to stop smoking. So that combined with doing something I didn’t want to do online too, but I pushed through that, did this thing each day and have to say, Michael was amazing. He was very good and especially helpful with a Tuesday evening’s question and answer evenings that I think really helped me through because it’s a slippery slope. You’re up and you’re down. But if you’re really determined and you want to do it, thank goodness. This is so good because now I honestly don’t think about it at all. I used to have this awful tussle in my head.

I really want one. No, I don’t. Yes, I do. I’ll do it later. Yes, I will. It just drives you mad. So if you’re anything like that, guys jump aboard because it really does pay off.

Deborah: Yes, it does. So good to hear, Sandra. You’re right. The live Q and A fantastic, aren’t they? It does make a big difference. It’s a really great part of the programme that we have as an added support and community, just to be around like-minded people and people going through similar things as you are. It does make a big difference. When you’re going through a challenge.

Sandra: You realise totally the only one that ever feels like this is crazy. I go through that or I’m feeling that. So it really does help.

Deborah: And how long were you with the programme altogether?

Sandra: I started in July, I believe it’s so long ago now. It was approximately two, or three months, I think from start to when I’d really because of course when you first start, which I was so pleased, you don’t have to stop smoking. Then you carry on smoking at the start of it. So you build up your knowledge, your ability to retrain your brain, and then when you’re ready, then you launch yourself into it. I think it was July till the end of October 2020, a couple of years all ready for you. It is. It’s flown around. It’s amazing that it seems like yesterday. And yeah, it’s such a strange experience not to have that one odd desire to ever have a cigarette when you’re going out your checklist has got to have this, got to have that. And that used to be so important. Oh, God, if you haven’t got your cigarettes or enough or you’ve not got a lighter, you were desperate and you’d make yourself late because of it. But no more. I’m free. I’m so free. It’s great.

Deborah: That is fantastic. And has it filtered into other areas of your life now that you’re not smoking anymore?

Sandra: Filtered through probably in that I can go wherever I want to go. It has been becoming a bit of a pariah. If I was out with friends, I tend to be the only one that wasn’t smoking by that time. So I had to exit and find somewhere to go and leave the group in other ways. Not really an expense, because I can’t say that I moved heavily, heavily towards the end, probably 20 a day, which wasn’t that expensive, but it’s still an expense. My skin and my appearance apparently are a lot better according to other people. So that’s a lovely thing. And my clothes no longer smell. And I am mortified now to realise how I did smell because obviously when you’re smoking, you know that it’s smelling nice and you take an effort to not have it linger on you but to realise how horrible it is. Now that is another added bonus.

Deborah: That is fantastic. Well, I’m just really pleased. Sandra, you look well and you sound really great, we love having you as a mentor. It’s fantastic that you can now pass your knowledge on to others who are going through a similar thing as you did back then. So you know exactly what’s going on. And I know you’ve had some great successes with helping other people quit smoking, and we’re really grateful that you’re one of our mentors and also really grateful that you took.

Sandra: Sorry. It’s a joy to help them. I can understand where they’re at, but if I can do any for the guys, please get in touch.

Deborah: Fantastic. Yes, well, I’m sure plenty of them will be still coming your way. We’ve got lots of people joining up at the moment, so if anyone’s looking for a mentor, join up with Sandra. She’s here to help. And Sandra, thank you so much for your time today. I really do appreciate you and I look forward to seeing you again soon. You take care.

Sandra: Thanks, Deborah. The delay is a little bit apparent, but never mind. Thank you so much. Thank you for your time and everybody out there. Even if you don’t go for mentorship. Well done. Go through with it. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make. Truly. Bye. You.