2009 HOF Speeches

Burning a Little Brighter

ksweeney3 avatarMany times before, I had vowed to quit but just couldn’t. Not for any reason or occasion could I put down the can. I had pretty much given up and thought I would dip until my final day. A talk with my daughter one evening before bed was the spark that lit my fire.

She asked “Are you going to die when I am older daddy?” Wow, there are a lot of things you aren’t prepared to talk to your 5-year-old about and this was certainly near or at the top of the list. So as quickly as I could, I mustered the response “Yes sweetheart, I will die some day. I can only hope that when it is my turn to go, I have enjoyed a long life and gotten to witness many things like you and your brother growing up, first cars, proms, college, marriage, grandchildren, etc.” Deeming my response satisfactory, she went to bed without any follow up questions. After kissing her and my son goodnight and telling them I loved them, thoughts suddenly flooded my mind. *Are you kidding me Sweenz? You just painted this warm fuzzy picture for your daughter about happy things in life and events to look forward to before dying peacefully of old age! What about the agonizing truth you are killing yourself by dipping? You didn’t mention the part about her and her brother spending their youth and free time watching pain and suffering of a father that will be dying of cancer. You lost your father to tobacco side-effects, why the f*** would you want your kids to go through the same misery you dumb selfish bastard? What happens now when she and her brother have to live life without you because you couldn’t overcome this addiction?*

I am not sure if I was awake or dreaming but as I lay in bed that night, the thoughts and conversation still lingered in my head. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and the curtain lifted. Out of nowhere, I got to see flashes of my kids accomplishing many of the milestones of their youth. I immediately thought this was the beginning of the end for me as these visions are all I would get of their lives to come. It was around 10:30pm on 4/24/08 and I remember thinking that I need to quit tobacco if I have any chance at seeing some of these events. I woke up the next morning a little uneasy and still shaken from the visions the night before. What did they mean? Am I going to live? etc so I did not reach for my usual “get out of bed” dip that helped me get dressed in the morning. It was 4:30am on 4/25/08 and almost as if someone flipped a switch, I had a moment that would separate past from future.

In that very moment I chose to not take the first dip of the day, I also decided it was time to quit dipping for good. From that moment on I found a fire in my soul that burned brighter than anything I had ever experienced before. I knew then quitting was possible and I was going to prove it. There was nothing that was going to stop me and for everything that I was worth, was going to put down the can. The minutes that day turned into hours and the hours quickly turned into days without dipping which had not happened since I picked up the habit. Throughout my 15 year habit, never had a quit lasted for more than 4 hours before I was back to stuffing my face.

About a week in, I found this site because I was on the Internet trying to find out information about dip, quitting, health risks etc. Maybe I could have done it alone but I had a friend that had quit for a year and went back heavier than before so I knew I was in for the fight of my life and needed some help. Not me. Never would I go down that road so I needed to understand the why and that’s what I had been missing at that point. Without the knowledge and tools of other quitters, I was putting myself at risk for failure and that was not going to happen. So, a big thank you to: Ready, Mule, BBJ, Chewie, Loot, 44, Franpro, FAL, CJ, Buck, ODT, QT, pine, bubblehed, corn, redtrain, bman, tri-jab, monty and countless others that have been paying it forward to help newer guys get and stay quit. You guys are awesome and I appreciate your names next to mine on roll call as an example of pressing on one day at a time. You answered the why for me and showed me what it means to be accountable. A true inspiration! To my BAMFer brothers and sister (especially the ones that have stuck around beyond 100) J-Dub, Uber-Geezer, Diesel, J-Baller, Smoke, Brent, LSD, CM, Hazard, Monroe, ZAE, and others; it is an honor quitting by your side. Day by day we will stomp out this addiction together. We have almost 700 pages of rage, commentary, Tom Foolery and general ass-kickery that starts at 65’s day 1 and follows our transformation to who we are today. I look forward to many more. Unfortunately, there is no finish line to which I can say “I will meet you” but know that this life-long journey is not one you will go alone. You guys are BadAssMuthaF***ers and I owe you everything. To folks on the site that have joined after me: I hope that there is at least one person that I have helped in the same fashion as has been given to me because together we are all stronger.

We have the right to live our lives and not burden our families with our own stupidity. We have the right to watch our children grow and have earned the right to participate in their lives. We will not be denied. Success can be our only option now. We can never tire, give up, fail, or falter. We are worth more than this addiction and will stop at nothing to beat it. The road will be bumpy and full of hurdles but to succeed in anything, you have to want it and believe me, if you want this bad enough, you can make it happen. If you have not yet quit tobacco, I would only ask: what would make your fire burn bright?

Sweenz

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member ksweeney3

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