2010 HOF Speeches

Everything Is Choice

KTC Logo Old PhotoA friend brought leaf tobacco to school in 5th grade, age 10. Got sent to the principal and told how bad it was for you but I didn’t really get it, my dad was a chewer and I just thought it was something I had to be older to do. I saw chew here and there over the next several years but it wasn’t until after work one night at the age of 14 that I got hooked. One of the older guys at work, Casey, gave me a chew of Copenhagen, my head spun and I thought it was fun. I bought my own can the very next day and became a chewer. I never stopped to think about what I was doing and I chewed from that day forward. My Dad quit when I was 19 and he told me I should do the same. My smart ass answer was that I had only chewed for a few years and he had chewed for over 20, I could quit at any time. I was paying no attention to the ill affects of my habit; I actually thought I was cool. I knew nothing of addiction and I certainly wasn’t an addict I just had a bad habit.

Over the next 20 years I made a number of quit attempts for one reason or another, Mom, sister, girlfriend, birth of my first son, birth of my second son, Mom, sister, wife. I tried to quit a lot of times and a lot of ways. I am pretty sure the longest I ever went was 10 days. And most of the times I “quit” I was smoking instead of chewing, never really acknowledging the addiction which held me captive. Yes I had receding gums and mouth sores but I could deal with that. Just quit for a few days before the dentist visit and then when he didn’t say anything about cancer, have a can waiting in the truck to just burn the shit out of those clean teeth and gums. I never asked if I was OK I just assumed I was as long as the dentist didn’t say anything. The nic bitch was running my life and I was disregarding myself and my health in favor of it, but of course I never saw it that way, it was just a bad habit. After my first son was born I started to get concerned about the example I was setting and solved that by becoming a Ninja dipper. I actually told my wife at least once that I had quit while I continued to chew, what an asshole I am and what a dear sweet woman my wife is. She found my can during one of those lies and called me sobbing she was sure I was going to die, it shook me up pretty good, but I didn’t quit. I just didn’t think I could handle the hell that would be unleashed by me trying to quit, I knew I was hooked and needed help to quit. It was shortly after this episode at age 40 that for the first time I really thought I needed to quit. Not just for my wife or my family but for myself. My mantra became if I could kick this I could do anything.

In January of 2007 I enrolled in a “Quit Tobacco” class taught by a Registered Nurse. The class was great and it didn’t take long for me to realize that Big Tobacco didn’t give a fuck about anything but making money. I could not believe what I heard and learned about what this poison was doing to me. I quit after the second class, I was mad as hell and motivated like crazy. The backbone of the quit strategy I learned was to use NRT’s. Whichever one you wanted and as much as you needed. From January 2007 to November 11, 2009 I used Commit, Nicoderm, Nicorette and every other NRT I could find. I spent at least $40 per week on this shit but justified it as medical expenses. Just like chewing I made sure I had a constant supply of nicotine. When I would get to the end of the NRT cycle I would panic and tell myself I wasn’t ready so I would switch methods or I would smoke. Yes, I had quit chewing but I was nowhere close to kicking the addiction.

On November 11, 2009 I found my brother drunk and out of control, he’s an alcoholic and had been clean for just over a year. I smoked a pack of cigarettes that night and felt like shit for it the next day. So on November 12, 2009 I went to the store to find an old friend, someone who could understand my pain and ease my mind, Copenhagen Long Cut. The NRT’s had done nothing but delay facing the real problem, I was still very much an addict and I knew it. I knew I had to quit, but I had to have a strategy, a plan, something that would work. On December 10th while searching the internet I found KTC and read everything I could. I saw all of these people who had quit cold turkey and recommended it, it sounded crazy so I kept reading. I dumped my can at 9:19 PM and posted my Day 1 the next morning. When I dumped that can and posted that Day 1 I felt in control and I felt power. I didn’t know one person on the site but they knew me. Fellow addicts in recovery with hundreds of days of quit. I also found a book called Freedom From Nicotine which I downloaded that helped me immensely. The knowledge and support of KTC was super helpful in overcoming the suck and the fog, thanks to all of you who helped me post and listened to me bitch. This site was the difference maker in my decision to quit and the reason I have stayed quit even in the face of adversity. I felt good in my quit from about day 10 but I was about to be tested.

On the afternoon of January 15th I received a phone call from my Dad, they had just found my brother dead. Officially he died of a heart attack, the real cause of death was alcohol and the effect it had taken on him over the years. I posted roll early the next morning cause I wasn’t sleeping and I knew that the nic bitch layed in wait to comfort my sorrows. The outpouring of support from the KTC group blew my mind. Everyone who posted roll that day offered me their condolences, summit even called me to ask if there was anything he could do. It solidified my bond to my fellow quitters. I could have used the whole thing as an excuse to revisit nicotine but it wasn’t even in the cards because I had all of these people at KTC and myself who I had promised I would stay quit. During the two weeks after his death nicotine was present in the form of cigarettes and chew by the way of the many visitors who came to pay respects to our family. Again because of this site I stayed the course, I was tempted and I thought about it, but the last thing I was going to do was call one of my KTC Brothers and ask if I could have a chew…………..I knew the answer.

At the end of January I took a much needed family vacation to do some skiing. On January 29th, I had a nasty crash that left me with four broken bones in my neck. The accident left me in a bad way and I had plenty of idle time on my hands. The old me would have filled this time with a big fatty and a big glass of self-pity. Instead I thought about KTC and my promise to quit, I didn’t make roll for several days during February but KTC was never out of my mind. I have five numbers in my phone and every time I thought about dipping I knew I needed permission, it always ends there. Had it not been for this site and the people here I would not have made it to this point. Thanks to all of you.

Over the last 100 days it has become crystal clear to me that EVERYTHING we do in life IS a CHOICE. I am choosing to be nicotine free one day at a time, I am choosing to be the best person I can be one day at a time. I will make my choices each day and I know the ramifications of some of my choices are life vs. death. I have a plan to face temptation and that plan is what I have learned and gained through KTC. The mods and admins deserve a lot of thanks for all the work they do cuz without them KTC doesn’t exist and without KTC and its personalities and information my quit would have been another attempt. I NEVER would have attempted to quit cold turkey without this site – it seemed like too much. If I can do it so can you.

I would like to thank every person who has posted on this site whether they are quitters, supporters, wise guys, assholes, comedians or just normal folks. Everyone brings something to the table. It’s a great reminder for me that I have to make my own choices every day in everything I do. Today I choose quit.

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member luv2ski

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