Because of the stress of being jobless during the pandemic, his days consisted of being behind his computer screen, with 2 packs of cigarettes on his desk and a cigarette in his hand. By the time of the ACE seminar, Rachim was desperate to finally quit, but extremely skeptical at the same time. However, after wanting to quit for so long, he thought: “it’s free, it’s online, why not?”
After missing the first scheduled seminar due to unforeseen circumstances, PAHO followed up with Rachim, who then registered for the second seminar. His interest was sparked even more after receiving an email from the Allen Carr Organization, urging him not to try quitting or reducing his nicotine intake before the seminar. When in was finally time, all his preconceptions about the tobacco industry and the way the cycle of addiction controls the brain were validated and he felt accepted, not judged, as the trainer, just like Allen Carr, was an ex-smoker too. There were even smoke-breaks, and at the end of the seminar, the participants ceremoniously smoked their last cigarette together while saying goodbye to this habit that had consumed their lived up until that point.
“By the time we smoked our last cigarette, I could not even light it. Tears streaming down my face, I thought to myself: ‘Did I really do this myself all these years?’ -It was emotional to realize that this was it. No more cigarettes. But it was a long time coming and I felt ready and empowered. Since that day, I have been smoke-free, and I am extremely grateful to PAHO for allowing me a chance participate and realizing that I could do it. I can now even be surrounded with people who smoke, drink, dance, and not have the urge to smoke. I am a better version of myself. Thank you PAHO.”
Rachim also shared his quitting-journey on Facebook, where he got many positive reactions and questions about it. He aims to keep paying the positivity and empowerment forward by inspiring others to commit to quit as well.