In order to provide the reader with some context before I get started, allow me to share some personal information. I am a husband of almost 10 years. I am a father of two sons, 6 and 9 years of age. I am a counselor who is currently working in the substance abuse prevention field. I am involved in a variety of volunteer groups and community events focused on bettering the county where I live. And, for the last 20 years, I have been an addict. My addiction to nicotine came before all those other things in my life. It was on day 3 of my quit that I found KTC and finally accepted the fact that I am an addict. It was this realization that I am an addict and that I must treat my addiction to tobacco as such that has resulted in my first successful quit. I am still an addict, I just have not used tobacco in 100 days.
If you reading this are still an active tobacco user, you are an addict as well. Below you will find my reasons for quitting and staying quit. It is time you find your reasons to quit and join us on this wild ride known as a nic-free life.
Reason #1: Me
Working in substance abuse prevention, I am completely aware of the devastating effects tobacco has on the human body. As a counselor I have helped countless youth in developing their coping skills to handle life’s stressors in a healthy fashion. One hundred days ago I would finish a presentation with 4th graders about the dangers of tobacco and then sprint to my car to stuff my mouth full of cancer. I would be teaching all day about positive coping skills, but the thoughts of my next dip would poison my mind. For years my addiction has been the source of an internal conflict that tore me up from the inside out. While working I would never lie to a child or youth about the dangers of tobacco, but perhaps I had been lying to myself for a very long time.
The tobacco addiction was not just a lie I told myself. It was a mask, a crutch, which I used to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Had a bad day? Take a dip. Wife or kids pissing you off? Take a dip. Feeling kind of down for no particular reason? Take a dip. My brain was lying to me. Every time I would take a dip my brain would release dopamine telling me that everything is going to be alright. Since tobacco was sweeping everything under the rug, I as an adult had never learned to deal with these real life issues.
Tobacco was a lie, and it was allowing me to be weak.
I made the conscious decision to quit. I decided that I would not allow myself to be a slave to nicotine for another day. On February 20th , I regained my freedom from tobacco. Each day since has held its own trials and challenges, and with each one I overcome, I grow stronger and more resilient. I am relearning to use those healthy coping skills after neglecting them for 20 years. It is not always easy but the rewards are plentiful. I made the decision to quit smokeless tobacco first and foremost for myself. That decision to be nicotine free is one I will continue to make every day for the rest of my life.
Number one reason for quitting has to be you. Will you quit for yourself today?
Reason #2: Family
My side of the family knows I smoked for 10 years, but they do not know I replaced smoking with dipping 10 years ago. I was a ninja dipper around them. My wife’s side of the family is stocked so full of dippers one might think they were looking at a constellation. There was nothing sneaky about my dipping around them. I think that is part of the reason why my wife never minded too much. She grew up around it and had grown up around the falsehood of “it’s better for you than smoking”. I did not quit because my wife asked me to or because she wouldn’t kiss me when I had a dip in (during active addiction I would choose dip over a kiss anyways). I quit for my wife because I love her more than words can possibly describe. Again, realizing I was an addict also led to the realization that my addiction had taken priority in my life. I quit for my wife because I want us to grow old together and to do all those things old people love to do (some of you vets on here probably know more than us young whippersnappers about the old people things I’m talking about). I quit for my wife because I did not want her to be the next widow on KTC sharing the story of how her husband killed himself slowly with smokeless tobacco. I quit for our life together.
Being a father is one of the most joyous experiences of my life. I love my two boys. I love watching as they learn new things, succeed, make mistakes, show compassion, and grow into respectful little men. They are my partners in crime and, with my wife working weird hours, we spend a lot of time together, just us dudes. I dipped in front of them all the time (see the reoccurring theme of my addiction taking priority over everything else?). Dipping in front of them resulted in the logical question of “Dad, what is that?”. I was honest with them stating it was tobacco and that it is not good for you. This of course led them to “If it’s bad for you then why do you do it?”. Up until 100 days ago I did not know how to answer this because I did not want to be honest with myself by telling them I was an addict.
For work we do presentations and activities at local schools, including my boys’ school. Before going to their school I would have to remind them that “what Dad does at home does not need to be talked about at school”. I would not lie about my tobacco use during the presentations (did not bring it up) but I certainly asked my sons to (better not bring it up), both were lies by omission. The look in their eyes as I tried to explain why I was going to their school to talk to them and their classmates about not doing something I myself did… that is why I quit for my sons. No more lies or untold truths. I quit for my sons so that through our open and honest relationship I can hopefully guide them in a direction that does not involve ever using any tobacco products. I quit for my life and I quit for theirs.
What are the other reasons in your life that have brought you to this point in your contemplation of a quit? Will you quit for them today?
Reason #3: KTC Family
Quitting is not easy, but the process is as simple as making a promise each morning to not use any form of tobacco for the next 24 hours and then keeping your word. The problem with keeping your word is finding someone to keep you accountable. As an addict, I am not capable of being accountable to myself. I know this from many previous stoppages that always resulted in my return to a can-a-day addiction. If I had been told 100 days ago that through my participation on the KTC forums I would forge friendships that will last a lifetime, I probably would have laughed in your face. But it has done just that.
If I am having a stressful day or a particularly intense craving, my quit brothers and sisters are a text, phone call, groupme message, or forum post away. If I need it, I will have the support of dozens of other quitters within minutes. And the same goes for all of them; I am always available to support them. From the moment I posted my first roll when I was greeted by some hairy guy named Big_Whit and a call to help the noob was made by Kramer, I knew that I had found my place. As I hold my Hall of Fame coin in my hand now, the inscription has never been truer. Upon brotherhood and accountability is built success.
I am so fortunate to have been bound by brotherhood to a group of incredible bad ass quitters in May 2016. To the vets that have joined us on this journey and been by my side each day: PatrickG, Kramer, and jpfabel. I thank you three for the guidance and advice. To my brothers and sisters, who keep me accountable each day and who mean more to me than they probably know (I will go alphabetically since I can see the SSOA in my head at this point): AWOL, Big_Whit, bobchap, ColinG, CRS, Daisy, Davalin, Grizzlymint, MadDog59, mcsnapper1, mhfree, moddyd, Nboling84, njohns23, pcold, Rex79, RNGLock, and too many more to list them all here. I thank you all for holding me to my word each and every day. I thank you for your constant support. I thank you for your friendship and your brotherhood. To other veterans who have stopped by to share their knowledge or at times just to slap us around: rkymtnman, JDFree, mcarmo44, Frazzled, danojeno, CavMan83, WalterWhite and again so many more. Thank you for keeping us in line or helping to get us out of line and all the things in between. To all the KTC moderators and administrators, I thank you for keeping this site running and for keeping all of the raging addicts from killing each other. I owe a huge thank you to our Hall of Fame Train Conductors, Wepdoc and Gone Cruising. You guys have done an amazing job all month long, thanks for walking side-by- side with us as May has entered the HOF. Lastly to the remaining Maybies, nodipinthislip and Burris, you are almost there, brothers. We cannot wait to celebrate with you!
Thank you, to KTC and my entire quitter family, for saving my life and for helping me to become a better man one day at a time. I quit with all of KTC today.
Will you quit with us?