I can remember the exact moment I had my first cigarette; I was 14 years old, at a point in high school when popularity meant everything and if I'm being totally honest, I considered myself a bit of a rebel. It was during our school lunch break and my girlfriends and I were hanging around behind the art studio.
It sounds daft saying it now, but when you're that young and quite impressionable, it takes a lot of will power not to give in at the first sign of peer pressure. That's exactly what it was - my friends all lit up and I just followed suit. From then on, I used to smoke whenever we were all together. I started getting caught out at school all the time but at the time, I didn't think about the consequences.
Leaving high school, I went straight into modelling. As a teenager in that industry, I was surrounded by people smoking. I remember being backstage at a catwalk show in Paris, literally every single person in the room had a cigarette in their hands - it was a way of life and I didn't know any different. I don't think I ever thought twice about it. The model lifestyle is such a bizarre experience and smoking was a way to pass the time, keep the weight off and essentially, a way of socialising with others in the industry. To me, I didn't accept it as a habit but more as a way of life.
In my mid twenties I was probably at my worst, I would smoke about 40 cigarettes a day. When I think back to how much I smoked, it makes me feel horrible, but at the time, once I'd realised I was addicted, I genuinely didn't believe I could quit. I tried everything from electric cigarettes, nicotine gum, patches and going cold turkey. I even tried aggressive therapy, which is where you're made to smoke non-stop until you feel sick- although after an hour or so, you don't feel sick, just numb.
I really was beginning to think I was a lost cause; having changed my lifestyle for the better and getting rid of all my addictions, it was difficult to take that smoking was the only vice that I just couldn't shake. Then a few months ago, I met with clinical hypnotherapist who had helped people overcome their addiction to smoking but I was still dubious but in reality it hardly took any time with him before I was able finally to kick the habit.
Every morning I logged on to my computer and spent 20 minutes watching one of the short videos that were already waiting for me. What I enjoyed the most was that I didn't have to be in a room filled with other people talking about quitting smoking. It was like having a one to one session without having to leave the comfort and privacy of my own home.
Being a DJ means that no morning is the same as the next, if I get in late from a gig the last thing I want to do is get out of bed early and turn up late to a support group, I could just access the video once I had my morning coffee. Don't ask me how it works, all I know is that when I watch these videos something was apparently triggered in my subconscious which stopped me constantly reaching for a cig. As I said earlier I tried loads of ways to give up and this is the only thing that worked.
Since quitting I have so much more energy, I'm healthier, happier, busy with DJing and photo shoots and I'm working on so many different business projects - I just feel loads better about myself. I'm completely free of every addiction I've ever had. Except coffee of course, that's one craving I can't live without!
For more information on how I managed to finally quit visit: www.quitsmokingin7days.co.uk