2009 HOF Speeches

34 Years To Quit

ndrooster1 avatarLooking back over the years I don’t know if I was predestined to have virtually a life long battle with chewing tobacco. My love /hate relationship with the nicotine bitch started when I was rather young.

This is my story.

Sometime during the 4th grade (age 10) of my youth I remember going to a construction site with my Dad and there I saw a guy packing a lip full. I clearly remember asking him what it was and what did it do for him. He responded ” its tobacco and it puts hair on my chest”. I was impressed as he was hairy as a gorilla and by god I wanted hair on my chest too….so a few days later, when my folks were away, I snuck into Dads pipe tobacco humidor, grabbed me a handful and shoved it into my mouth and started eating it. Next thing I knew I was green, dizzy and threw up. Not fun and I had to clean it up myself before the folks got home. That should have been my lesson to stay away from the nic bitch.

Fast forward to age 18. I have never been one that abused much drugs..hell, tobacco and alcohol didn’t count cuz they are legal. The summer of my 18th year I bought my first tin of Skoal Wintergreen. 29 cents. I was off work from my Uncles dairy farm for the day and was at the local towns 4th of July parade. I bought the can at the Farmers Union station and still remember the look of disdain when the lady handed me the tin. Off I went , into the back alley, parralleling main street, packed in a whopper of a lip full, closed the tin and put it in my front pocket. Before I reached the end of the alley my world was spinning, but I never threw up this time. By the time I reached the end of the alley, I took the chew out of my mouth and threw the tin into a trash can sitting there. That was enough for me. Wrong. Half hour later or so, I went back to the trash can and dug through the garbage to find that tin of Skoal. That was a pretty “cool” trip! The nic bitch had wrapped her arms around me and I was seduced to become her lover for the next 34 years.

Several times during those 34 years I tried to kick her ass to the curb — divorce her out right and give her no alimony. I should of quit the day I remember that Skoal no longer had any flavor– nothing there..no kick, no enjoyment. That was about 4 years into my relationship with UST…so I switched to Copenhagen. There the bitch double teamed me and made me love her more.. It turned into a 2 can a day, no spittin habit. I made packs with co -workers who chewed and wanted to quit..none of us lasted through our first weekend of being chew free. Several times I threw my silver lidded can out the window – figuring that was going to get me to quit ..only to buy a can at the next town..Damn ..those were some nice lids too. I made packs to myself when cope got to 50 cents , I would quit, then to $1.00, the $2.00….then $5.00…..you know the story. But heck, my hobby/lifestyle of being a saddlebronc rider almost made it impossible to quit. I was a mans man, a and at every rodeo, UST was there giving out free tins, keeping me hooked. My buddies who didn’t chew would pick up their shares for me…life was good!

Then in 86 I had major surgery. Sometime in my rodeo career – which ended about year earlier, I injured my guts and now it was time to pay the fiddler. 14 hours later I woke up with a permanent pouch on my side, minus all my large intestine and rectum. My friends now say I am the perfect asshole, I say I really can get my shit together! 16 days in intesive care and recovery cures one of using tobacco. I was done — or so I thought.

During the early 80s, while still rodeoing, I got bit by the historical reinactment bug. You know, I started playing “Jeremiah Johnson” or the characters from the “The Mountain men”. A rough and tumble time period of our countries history and a portrayal of self reliant men -much like cowboys. And several buddies with the same historical interests chewed so I was never without – even on a 10 day event! Approximately 37 days or so after getting out of the hospital I was at a rendezvous in Minnesota and there I bummed a chew from a buddy. He told me not to take it cuz I would get rehooked.. I didn’t beleive him. Hell it tasted awful and within 5 minutes I spit it out. I should have listened to him because later that afternoon I bought his extra tin from him and within days I was back to 2 tins a day. Shit. TRUST THESE FOLKS WHEN THEY SAY YOU CAN NEVER TAKE JUST ONE AFTER YOU QUIT! NEVER!

There are lots of incidences of trying to quit that I could share but I will try not to bore you with any more stories..every one of them ended up in failure, a word that for the most part is unfamiliar to me. I could not accept the fact that I failed and justified it with “I enjoyed chewing” “I can quit anytime I REALLY want to”, “I just use it to concentrate on work”.. you know – the same lies you either told yourself or are telling yourself now. Addiction?? Hell that was not even in the vocabulary!

December 25, 2008. I had been chewing Grizzley for the last 4 years because it was cheap. I was a at sports “MAN” show and they were giving the stuff out for free. Cheep worked for me..although at times it gave me heartburn but I finally could make a tin last 9 to 11 days, putting in a fattie when I woke up and taking it out when I went to bed 16 to 18 hours later. I had the bitch under control now! Sometimes I was even so lazy as to eat with it in when opportunity didn’t allow me to ninja toss the dredges. Well this Christmas, I had picked up a tin of Cope somewhere along the line..man that was like heaven, the memories flooded my receptors. In 5 days of being with family I had gone through half the tin of Cope and all the tin of grizzley…and I felt like shit but the fattie was in.

Morning of December 29th I woke up and said to myself ..I quit. Lucky for me I found this KTC site shortly after that vow. I probably would have secummed to the lust of the nic bitch without it. There was something different about being accountable to a bunch of strangers and I could wrap my head around the ONE DAY AT A TIME method..like AA. Here I realized this was a addiction that I was /am going to battle all my life. BUT first, I had to get over what I perceived as the “humor” part of this organization. Calling, pming , texting new found strangers/aquaintences when one desires a chew. LOL! Yeah right..okay then. That was a joke to me at first..then one day, about 7 days into my fog of quit I realized that it is important and it does work. I got very serious then.

Like so many before me, I almost became addicted to this site. My wife even thought so but at the same time she was willing to stand by this new found “focus of my attention” and supported me in my quest to quit. She never made one single demand on me during my fog period or when I was getting cranky from missing the bitch or when I ate two weeks of groceries in less than one week. She seemed to know it was all part of the healing process. That was great support here on the home front. The other great support came from these strangers on this board that were going throught the same thing I was at the time..and from those who have been there and are still struggling. I beleive I have made some great friends and aquanitences from a number of these quit brothers..all because they have opened up to me and asked me to be their buddy. This system works if you treat it with respect and use it daily. My only regret is that during the healing process, especially at the beginning, it is hard for “newbies” not to take offense at some of the stuff written. What seemed to be personal attacks ( and taken as such) I now know were words designed to keep ones mind preoccupied with other stuff other than the desire to go back to chewing. Because of the way I reacted to those percieved attacks, I probably closed some doors on some pretty cool aquaintences and potential friends. That is the problem with cyber shit. Anyway, if I offended any of you out there – and you know who you are.. I apologize and thanks for keeping my mind off the bitch.

Accountability is what this is all about. That and your word to yourself and to your quit brothers and sisiters. Use this site the way it is meant and you will stay quit..if you are true to yourself about quitting. It is extreme..but that is how this works. In 34 years, this is the only thing that has got me to quit this long! I now look forward to the +1 on this adventure! Why am I sharing all this in a long winded story of my travels with the bitch? Cuz if I can show you that a guy married to the bitch for 34 years can kick her ass to the curb…. I know you can. It takes willpower and accountability! The accountability part is offered here..the willpower is in yourself.

My thanks go to the following April brothers: Rkymtnman..thanks for contacting me almost immediately and being there everyday..I thoroughly enjoy our almost daily chats/texts. I truely hope our paths cross. Tfurrh, Wildcat, SWJ, JpCrew, Pbkid, Edromeo, Moeman,… thanks for keeping my quit real and for keeping the boards alive. You all have been instumental in my April quit. Lets continue the pms and roll calling! And to the rest of April..even though we never personally got aquainted on a regular basis.. I have appreciated your being on the board every day – even if it was just for roll call. Word rocks.

To the support of the vets..man I could not have gottent through the crappy times without you. BBJ, iuchewie and Ready, pms right from the start..thanks for holding the door open and the words of encouragement to keep me walking in the right direction. Seems you guys would come to the rescue at just the right time with your words of wisdom. CJ, Animal, Hydro, ScooterScum, Smokey, loot and even Jpine. (LOL!) All your shared insite and intensity was appreciated and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the personal contacts .

And to my new quit brothers in different months..Tony 732 and Yammerhammer. Time for me to pay it forward. Lets keep the pms a rolling so I can help you stay on track!

Thanks KTC brothers and sisters..I could not of done it without any of you! I am here for the long ride on this site and see you in the next level..one day at a time.

Last but not least, to my wife, son and daughter in law, daughter, Mom and Dad…to hear each of you sincerely tell me how proud you are of my quit..thanks . Those few words of support meant the most. Thank you.

Good luck fellow quitters..you can do it.

Mark (ndrooster)

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member ndrooster1

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