I have started this speech 20 different times from day 100 through today, day 408. I hated every one and deleted it as soon as I finished. I want this to be different. It has to represent me, my quit and my gratitude to all those that have helped me along the way. This speech is dedicated to my father, who I think about and miss every day. It is also for those closest to me, the ones that understand my quit on and off the site. Finally this is for those that come after me; addicted souls that are looking for freedom from a dark and horrible addiction.
Late Addition: My procrastination and fear of writing this speech has allowed me more perspective on being quit as well as introduced me to the horrors of cancer. Since my HOF day, 12/12/12, I have lost a friend to stomach cancer, one of my quit brother’s wife lost her fight with cancer, I found out my best friend’s mother has lung cancer and another very close friend whom I coached baseball with for 6-years was diagnosed with bone cancer last week. This is dedicated to the memory of Bill Regan, Tara Allen and Stephanie Nutter, as well as the continued fight of Momma Whitt and Steve Rivers. May they fight off and defeat this awful disease that has affected so many of us.
My start is a little different than a lot of the speeches I’ve read. I didn’t have a family member who dipped or a fraternity brother that turned me on to it. It wasn’t a part of my life at all. In fact, I hate smoking. My mother was a chain smoker that never went without one for long. She would smoke in the car, house, and restaurants when that was still allowed. She passed 6 years ago of a number of things that were all related to a 50-something year love affair with Nicotine. This isn’t about her and I’ll have my say when I see her again a very long time from now.
All of my dipping revolved around baseball. I toyed with it as a young man, did it in my junior and senior year of High School during baseball season then cranked it up proper when I was 21 and playing in a very competitive men’s league in Orlando. I never thought I’d grow up and be a 46-year old man with a wife, three kids, two dogs, a cat and a shit load of responsibilities and bills to pay that also dipped a can of poison every day. My focus was only on chasing tail, playing ball, going to school and quarter beer night. Who’s better than me? Well I woke up one day and knew I had a problem. I needed that shit more than air and I knew it. I wasn’t Ninja, I was a proud dipper that would dip anywhere. What a fucking douchebag I was. How selfish and inconsiderate could I have been? I caught my 3 year old son taking a sip out of my coke can spitter. I cleaned him up and calmed him down while my only thought was, “Hope the wife doesn’t come out here now.” I angrily told my daughter to stop talking to me about it; I’m grown and will stop when I want to when she asked “Why do you do that?” I’ve listened to the concerns my son had for my use and told him that it’s my choice and right now I choose to dip. I’ve laughed when my wife would get in my car and throw all my spitters, and empty cans into the yard next to the driveway. Like every other addict in the world, I was the most selfish and inconsiderate prick alive. I fucking hated myself and couldn’t figure out how to change.
My quit started in late August of 2011. A close friend died of lung cancer. She was a smoker, around 40-years old. Her son played baseball with and against my son for many years. I ccouldn’timagine leaving my children like that. I couldn’t let them watch me die and think it was all because I couldn’t control my “habit” to dip. I looked for smokeless alternatives and remembered hearing Ex-Dallas Cowboys player, Randy White talk about Smokey Mountain Chew on the radio. I found the Smokey Mountain Chew website as well as KTC.org that day. I looked around, read a little bit and thought, “I don’t need this. This isn’t for me.” So I ordered the free 5-pack while I suffered through a can of Jake’s Mint and seeds for a few more days and dove into the Smoky Mountain when it arrived. I then tried quitting again on my own. If I fail, I’ll try again the next day, right? That’s what I’ve been doing all these years. The weekend went by and I was still stopped but I was jonesing hard for a real dip. Tuesday rolled around and it was time to head out of town for work. A quick stop to pick up a bottle of water and gum at the store I always bought my can from. Staring hard at the dip display behind the counter and knowing I had four impossible hours of driving ahead of me, I asked for a can of Grizzly Snuff. The guilt I felt walking out of that store knowing that I lost the battle once again was different from any other time I stopped and failed. It was deep and it was real. I was humiliated and embarrassed. I had no control over this. I let myself down again and was disgusted that I was too weak to stop. I couldn’t control it. I thought about quitting every time I bought a can. I’m guessing another 350 times, promising myself every time that this was my last can.
Labor Day, 2012
I just finished dinner and knew I had one dip left in my can. I mixed a cocktail, grabbed the can and sat across from my wife on our back deck. I packed it, opened it up and took what was left and stuffed it in my lip. I never dipped in front of her or the kids at home unless we were having a party and we were all out back. Somehow it was okay if we were away from home and outside. She looked at me funny and I said, “Don’t give me any shit. This is my last one.” She replied, “Whatever. You can do it if you want.” I took it out 5 or 10 minutes later and stuffed it into an empty beer bottle, my last spitter, and said goodbye to that bitch forever.
That was a Monday. I made it through the week, traveled and stayed true to my quit. Made it to the next weekend and was starting to lose it a little. I was edgy, angered easily and apologized almost each time I verbally lashed out. By Monday I was literally walking around in circles unable to focus on anything. Anxiety had taken over as my constant feeling of normal and I could never remember what I was supposed to be doing when I walked into a room. I figured I was either dying or going crazy. I sat down at the computer and Google, “Withdrawal Symptoms from quitting dip” same as I did a year earlier. KTC was in the first two or three options. I clicked on it and after reading as much as my brain could handle about withdrawals and finally believing death probably wasn’t coming my way that afternoon, I trolled the site a little more. It was then that I realized that I had been here a year earlier but never joined. Fate had brought me back. It must be a sign that I should join. It was at that moment that I drank deep from the KTC Kool-Aid fountain of Quit. I totally immersed myself in the site. Reading everything I could. I didn’t travel for work that week and gave absolutely zero productivity to my employer. They were able to keep their doors open and lights on so all is well with them.
I figured out how to write my Intro that day. It was appropriately titled, “How do I post roll?” like it was one of those “Help” IM boxes that you see on websites. I gave a brief intro about myself, my quit and what a helpless dumbass I was. I didn’t figure anyone would read it or that I would hear from anyone. Minutes later I get an email saying I have a new PM from KTC. Mich34 has sent me a PM. Holy shit! What did I do? I must have messed something up and the site is shutting down or this dude is going to tell me to stop fucking around. Nope……Mich34 is welcoming me to the site, offering up assistance and to swap numbers if I wanted. I’m thinking, “He must be the guy that runs this thing and replies to everyone. A second PM comes in from Seth13. He’s in my group……he quit on the same day as me. That practically makes us Suitemates like in college. Now I have a buddy to walk through hell with. There were several more to follow from guys that I still text with daily.
The following year of quit was amazing. Once I made it to day 45 or so, I was feeling pretty good. There were still moments where the cravings were bad and even a nasty fog at day 70. I was geeked to hit 70-days quit. Ten weeks Nic free and I woke up with the same anxiety, head pounding and confusion that I had on day 9. I emailed my buddies from Dec the Wreckin’ Crew and did nothing but that for a day and a half until I felt normal again. Those guys saved my quit that day and I am indebted to them for the rest of my life. I think most of us have a moment in our quit when we are at our weakest and are forced to open our souls to people we know but have never met. We put full trust in them and hope they care enough to help you through a very tough time.
What It All Means:
Most of all it means you have a second chance at life; a life that does not include nicotine in any form. It means if you keep your promise every day there is a place you can go any time you feel like you need to scream at the world, talk about something funny, speak to a friend or help a newbie. You can be the man you want to be and hopefully live a longer and fuller life. See your kids grow up, get married, have kids of their own. Be a person that had enough sack to face the beast and kick its ass every single day.
Sportsfan231 said it best: “Stick around. Become a friend”. There is nothing better than getting an early morning text from G.O.A.T. It’s like coach calling you into his office and saying, “I’m giving you the ball today.” “Don’t let me down.” Or getting a text from IG2H talking about his latest quit achievement or worries about the next hurdle. Or the endless amount of hilarious banter, pics and stories from my text groups. I have actually sat on my back deck drinking a cup of coffee while following Boelker62’s race via a text on my phone with 4 other guys. That’s as Ghey as it gets and the most bad ass thing we’ve done. I’ve made friends that I believe I will have for life. Dive into your quit 100% and it will repay you more than you could ever imagine.
Finally it means that I have an opportunity to help others that are fighting the same demons as I am. Some make it and some don’t. The one thing that I’ve learned over the last 408 days is, if you post your promise every day, keep that promise then repeat the next day, you will stay quit. +1’s add up quickly and forever will eventually take care of itself. If you get involved and make a few friends along the way, it’s hard to quit quitting.
To my closest quit friends that were busting my balls about not writing this earlier.
I didn’t write this speech before now because I was scared. I didn’t trust myself to not go back to my old ways one night when I partied a little too hard, or if something really bad happened and I would say, “Fuck it” and go running back to the same store where I have been slowing trying to kill myself for the last 10-years. I have seen myself shit on a lot of good things in my life over 46-years and I didn’t want to be that piece of crap that wrote a heartfelt speech then told everyone here to GFYSLF. Every milestone brought on feelings of guilt, anger and discontent. I could feel the demon was still there and she wanted out. That bitch missed the surly, unhappy and selfish Mike that focused only on her. She was stalking my ass at every achievement, wanting to celebrate the way we used to. It wasn’t until I hit 400-days of freedom that I felt happy with my accomplishment. I was finally proud of what I had done and positive that I wasn’t going to shit all over myself and those that have supported me along the way. I took back my life and will never return to that abyss of selfish unhappiness.
Thank You: (you can take a break or just scroll down till you find your name)
There are really so many people to thank. I’m sure that I’ll miss a few of you by name that have helped me but I’ll start with the creators of this site. You are saving lives every day and I thank you for saving mine. Thanks to the following for PM’s and Chats over the last 408 days, Mich34, SirDerek, KDip, Timeless, CMark, Tarp, Catty, Ryan, KDip, Radman, Mr. and Mrs. CDaniels, Sand_Fleas, IG2H, Cw/oC, Copehater, FLLuke, LHG, Rocketman, Phillister, OIB, EricfromPittsburgh, Eric71, Sox, and anyone else that I have chatted with and/or PM’d. Even those of you that have caved, I thank you for making my quit stronger by reminding me that I am never completely free from my addiction.
The December 2012 Chew Wreckin’ Crew: We will forever be bound in our quit together. Whether you still post, caved or caved and returned, you will always be a part of the Wreckin’ Crew and have my undying support.
Biscut: Thank you for being a mentor and role model. You are my brother in quit to be sure. I am proud to be quit with you each and every day. Plus the thought of you driving down an hour down I-95 to kick the shit out of me if I caved was enough to get me through some tough patches.
JHawth25: One of the first newbies that I helped to make it to 100-days. You are a great guy and Rock Star quitter. I am proud to call you a friend. Your story inspires me to remain quit. I can only hope my son turns out to be as solid a man as you have.
Evil-Won and Sportsfan (GOAT): You guys are attached at the hip for the rest of time. You are exactly what this site is about. Your January Jackwagins are a super group of epic quitters. The leadership you both show should be the template of how to support addicts. Tough love when needed surrounded by overwhelming support and care.
N2Chukar: Once in a while you run into a new quitter that you just know you were meant to help. Supporting you has been an honor and a privilege. While helping you through your first hundred days of quit, you helped solidify my quit and made it stronger every day. I look forward to talking baseball with you and sharing the paths of our son’s for years to come.
The Sexters: 2mch2lv4, Roamcounrty, Bruce, Suds, ERDVM, BigWhiteBeast, Z, Morgan1. Thanks for making every day better with non-stop banter, putting the nuts to your wife, shitter pics, FU Monday pics, Vadge – I want my dog back. FU Z and GFURSLF Bruce, Roam looking stoned at the only club in Sunray, TX with Suds, ninja hot chick pics and everything else you do that keeps me quit. I can’t wait to finally meet all of you Gheys. Best line ever: “Suck my dick, Beast” – 2mch2lv4
The Wolfpack or Thunderbuddies: Put sunglasses on now. You may get blinded by the Gheyness. These five guys are part of the Dec. ’12 Chew Wreckin’ Crew quit group. We text every day and I owe my life to all of them. I owe them a debt of gratitude that I will never finish repaying. They are too often the first thought when I wake in the morning and the last thought before I go to bed. I’m getting a little weepy thinking about how much they mean to me now but you really should see the shirtless pic LCWB sent us. It is Abtastic! The night of trading shot videos was awesome and I still watch those from time to time. Or the “Pick Buddy Up” video from TGin in response to D-Bo’s Xfit video. I also want a full sized poster of Kuss’ tattooed back showing his name and quit date. No doubt it will be the cover to his first rap album. Here’s a special thanks to all of you guys.
The Dali aka Limatime: Thanks for finally realizing who I was after group emailing for over 3-months. Drinks at Pusser’s was a blast back in May. I’m still trying to figure out how to post the phone pic we took before dropping you off.
LCWB: MGL – You sir are a quit warrior. You inspire us with your stories of fighting Scorpions, snakes, wild deer and every other creature known to man out there on the Ponderosa known as Gig em Estates. Can’t wait to finally meet in Savannah. TEQUIIIIIILLLLLLIIIIIAAAAA!!!!!!
TGin/916 or 918Quit: We’ve had some great talks over the last 400-days. As much as I could make out through that thick, New Englander accent. I’m glad I reach out to you in a PM early in our quits. I’m not sure how many people I’ve really helped here, but I’m glad I was there to get your text on that one horrible day. That day helped me too. Thank you for trusting me enough to reach out.
Boelker62: Thank you for inspiring us with workout and meal plans. Oh yeah, and thanks for making me feel so shitty about the level of my cardio fitness while you’re running for 12-hours straight and pissed that you only made it 45-miles, not the 50 that you were hoping for. The man hug that will take place in Savannah will be in the top 5 Gheyest things ever at a KTC get together. I can’t wait to meet you and your lovely better half.
MFKuss: Kuss was the first person I ever received an IM from on my phone. I was lying in bed in a hotel room and my phone made a noise. I had to stop what I was doing and check it out. I looked at it, hit a button and there was a message from Kuss. We went back and forth for a while and that was really my first thoughts of making real friends on the site. Kuss is one of those guys if he was your neighbor, you’d hang out with him all the time. Steal beer from his garage refrigerator, borrow his yard tools and not return them and he’d absolutely have your back no matter the situation. Thanks for IMing me that night buddy. MGL for you!
Thanks to my friends away from the site that ask about my quit and have supported it from the beginning. Your interest, compassion and encouragement have kept me accountable.
Finally I want to thank my family for their support. I especially thank my son, Drew. He’s 17 now and has friends that dip. He often talks to me about my quit and he talks to his friends that dip about how bad it is. He’s a ball player and my main concern is he’ll start doing it the same way I did. I love you, bud. Thanks for everything you do……besides sneaking out your bedroom window at night. Knock that shit off. Thanks to Teagan, my daughter that keeps me straight on working out and often asks what day I’m at. She always seems so impressed by the number. Thanks to Theresa, my wife, for putting up with 19 years of spitters, bad breath, and having to watch me spit gallons of chew over our time together. Thanks to Kimmy, my other daughter who seems like she doesn’t even remember when I used to dip. She despised it the most and the occasional times that she does ask how my quit is going, means everything to me.
Thanks to you right now for reading this and letting me share my quit with you. I can’t believe you’re still reading. Sorry it was so long, I guess I had a lot to say.
DiplessinJax – Dec. ’12 “Chew Wreckin’ Crew”