2016 HOF Speeches

3 Decades of Stupid – Bitch please… I’m Mattlock

mattlock avatarWhen I started writing this, I had no idea it would become such a novel, but here it is. Hopefully those that read this and share my experience see where this train is leading and are smart enough to get off before I did.

I started my 30 year nicotine addiction when I was 12 years old. Picked up chewing from the older kids I played sports with. Started smoking at 13 at my first job at a restaurant where everyone else smoked. I quit smoking at 20 when I got married because my ex-wife is allergic to cigarette smoke. Quitting smoking was hard so I started dipping again. My wife hated it but didn’t give me a bunch of grief about it since I said it was helping me quit smoking. Little did either of us know at the time that dipping is much harder to quit than cigs because of the amount of nicotine delivered is so much more (1 pinch the equiv. of 5-6 cigs) and it lasts longer.

Once I did realize how hard it would be to quit, I became a ninja dipper. I hid from my wife so I could dip. I would be the first to volunteer to run to the store for a gallon of milk or diapers. I would sometimes tinker in the garage or in my office for hours, working on nothing. I worked late hours and stayed up after she went to bed, just so I could get a dip in. I told myself when my wife got pregnant I would stop. I mean, I COULD stop whenever I wanted to, I just didn’t want to yet. At least that’s what I told myself.

My wife and I went through 7 years of infertility treatments. It was hell. Financially the burden was incredible since none of that is covered by insurance. But worse was the mental stress. My wife was an absolute basket case, and every other female we knew seemed to be getting pregnant every time someone looked in their general direction. Because of that, I felt like I needed to carry the world on my shoulders since I didn’t want to add any additional stress to her. The whole time however, I was pulling away from her more so that I could carry on dipping without her knowing. That was causing her more stress.

We finally got pregnant and I said that I would stop when the kid was born. 5 months later my wife miscarried. No way could I quit then, I was a wreck, my wife was literally losing her mind and all I wanted to do was hide out so that I could dip.

After another year she finally got pregnant again and my oldest was born. Still didn’t quit. It went on and on and on like that. Promising myself I would quit at the next big event. When I moved, when my second was born, when I got a new job I would quit this filthy habit. All the while, I was withdrawing more and more from my family so I could dip in secret. It cost me my marriage, literally. See, every once in a while my wife would find a can laying around and I would tell her that I would quit and then fail. Over and over again. It got to the point where, in her mind, if I would lie about something so small as that, what else was I lying to her about that I couldn’t own up to. She was convinced I was cheating when I was out of town on trips, or working late or whatever.

We finally split up about 7 years ago. My kids were devastated and my life was changed forever. Not all of it in a bad way. I met my current wife a couple years later, have two wonderful daughters with her and when I met her I actually did stop dipping for a couple of months. But I stopped for her, not for me. So pretty soon we got into a fight and my selfish needs outweighed her importance to me at the time and I said I can have just one. 5 years later here I am on KTC quitting for today.

I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped using over the years. Literally how many hundreds of half full cans I have thrown out only to buy a new can the next day. I use an app that tracks stats from your quit. According to that I have spent roughly 43,000 dollars in that past 30 years on dip. That doesn’t include the half cans I’ve lost or thrown out. It doesn’t count all the crap and junk food I’ve bought in the gas station while buying dip or all the full water or soda bottles I bought that I took 2 swigs of before dumping out because I needed a spitter. It doesn’t count the cost of my divorce. Nor the cost of the time that I spent dipping instead of with my kids. It’s that last bit that hurts the most as I look back. I wasted a lot of 16 years with my oldest and 13 years with the next oldest to spend time being a slave to a FRIGGIN’ PLANT rather than be with them. Think about how sad that is for a second. That is what addiction is; being a slave.

This is the point I want to bring home from all this. All the behavior you see in what I have posted above is not the behavior of a bad habit. This is the behavior of a junkie. There is absolutely no difference between me and a heroin addict except my drug of choice. Addict behavior, all the lying, stealing, cheating and selfishness is a symptom of addiction. The reason we exhibit the same behavior is that nicotine is just as addictive and operates in almost the exact same fashion as does cocaine and heroin. The other thing that proves this point is that bad habits don’t cause withdrawals. I don’t get foggy and start shaking if I spend too much time on the sofa instead of exercising or eat too much fast food. I do if I stop nicotine.

So now that I know what it is, I need to change my thinking about it. I know that my addiction is to nicotine, not dip. That means I need to learn to hate nicotine in all forms. As an addict I know that I can’t have just one, ever. That means no cigarettes, no cigars, no gum, no lozenges and no vaping. Would a cocaine user who snorted for 30 years be less addicted to the hit of a crack pipe? Why do we romanticize any of these other poison delivery systems in the first place? Cigars have somehow obtained a status symbol, but it’s just plain stupid. I mean after all, what says success like sticking 4000+ chemicals, 400 poisons and 43 carcinogens into your system… voluntarily? If someone asked you to stick a diesel fuel pump in your kisser you would probably say hell no, but a cigar with 10 times the carcinogens is OK for some reason? WTF?

Other addictive substances don’t affect me the same way. I can go for weeks or months without a drink and have no problem. I wanted the same thing with nicotine too, the problem is that I am not wired for it. It’s no different than the AA or NA grad. If I even have one, my brain fires up those old neurons and I’m off to the races again. I proved it to myself after my last pause for over 8 weeks. So no, I needed to get to a point where even just one is never OK. Hate the NicBitch with everything in you because she will take everything from you, including your family, your jaw and your life if you give her the opportunity. If you keep romanticizing that bitch, you’ll continue to let her back in over and over again.

If you are reading this and haven’t signed up yet, that’s the kind of attitude you need to have. We can’t quit for you and you can’t quit for anyone other than yourself. So stop putting off the decision, get in here and post your day 1. Post your promise to quit for 24 hours and have enough integrity to keep it. Embrace the suck and get mad, at yourself and Nic. Then, get involved on the site, share out your number to as many as you can and use them when needed and be there when they need to use you. Burn the boats and make sure you are at the point of no return mentally.  This site works if you follow it and use the tools and can keep your word 24 hours at a time.

Yesterday was day 99 for me, and the first Father’s Day I have ever celebrated that revolved not around me hiding from my family to have a dip, but actually being with my family. What are you missing out on because of your addiction?

For those that made the journey to 100 with me, and for the vets that put up with my rants and kept me in line, you guys literally saved my life and gave my family their dad back. For that I owe all of you guys a debt I can never repay.

~Mattlock

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member mattlock

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