This isn’t a place one wants to visit twice but this is actually my second trip to the Hall of Fame. I ended a twenty plus year run of chewing Copenhagen last summer when I needed to take a Life Insurance exam that included a test for nicotine. A positive test would result in a quadrupled premium (that says something about tobacco right there, doesn’t it). So I “quit”. I think deep down I knew I would be back.
During the last 100 days, I have been called a caver on this site, and probably much worse. But I didn’t cave last summer. I never actually quit. More like I took a break. And it is because I returned to the can last summer that I can say without the slightest crack in my voice that I will never return to nicotine. As a result of my prior experience, I learned something about myself and about the quitting process that is more powerful than anything else I have found in my own battle against nicotine and I hope that this helps some new quitters at some point because it is true. Once you reach this day, your 100th day without nicotine, that thing that you have craved IS GONE. It doesn’t exist. Your mouth has changed. Your mind has changed. If you were to buy a can and allow yourself that elusive dip after all of this time, you would left with an unsatisfied, horrible tasting quit killer and a mountain of guilt that you may never climb. That thing you crave is gone. It doesn’t reside in those silly little cans at that gas station that call your name. That thing you crave no longer exists. This simple fact has allowed me to prevail over my darkest thoughts and moments and kept me from caving on a number of occasions. Again, there is no salvation for those craves.
Quitting is a way of life for an addict. Probably a lot like someone who decides to get in shape after letting themselves slip into years of obesity and unhealthy choices. The difference I see though is that a once obese, a now fit person can now and again completely defile themselves with food and gluttony and not completely destroy their body of work. They can fold an extra-large pizza in half and eat it in two bites and it would be amazing. Not true for us. We’re done. There is no cure for our craves. Only diligence. Only discipline. Only the love of your family and your desire to want to be a part of it for a long time. And only the promise you make to yourself and your group when you post roll the morning. If you’re a newbie reading this and you have it in your head that you can stop quitting and stop posting after 100 days then you are in dangerous country. You need to collect as many tools, as many weapons as you can to battle this quit. It gets easier but it doesn’t go away.
Mahalo to KTC and Shell for the support and guidance. This site is an essential tool to manage your quit and build accountability. I’m grateful for it and the people that have helped me along the way so far. And while walking up to the podium to deliver this Hall of Fame speech is both rewarding and a source of pride for me and my family, tomorrow morning is a just another day to start all over and quit like mad. There is no end to this game and knowing that might be your best weapon of all.