2008 HOF Speeches

Finally… a Hard-Headed Quit – Stubborn as a Mule…

mule avatarMakes sense to begin at the beginning…..I grew up in the country in south Georgia and was taught the value of hard work, finishing what you start and if a job is worth doing…it is worth doing right. I began working in, of all things, tobacco at the age of 9 years old and have performed every job associated with “gathering” tobacco. I had no idea of the addictions that I was inadvertently propagating…especially my own. I remember trying my first cigarette at the barn and being laughed at when I turned green. I learned that I really didn’t care for smoking.

But then, like most of you, I learned to dip playing sports. Seemed like a “rite of passage” for the older guys to entice the younger guys to try a pinch. I had no concept of the addiction I was carefully building, one block at a time, every time I packed in a dip. Long story short – I was hooked.

Many quit dates were promised and missed:

College Graduation 22 yrs
Marriage 25 yrs
1st son 30 yrs
2nd son 33 yrs
Turning 40……

All were really half-hearted attempts. As I mentioned, I was taught self-reliance and with that, along with the male ego in general, comes the perception that tragedy is always for someone else. The “I am tough”, “Pile it on, I can handle it”, “It can’t happen to me” and “I’m gonna live forever” attitudes are misconceptions all young men have…even “middle-aged” young men. The “bull-headedness” that I possess (and it is substantial) has served me well in many areas of my life resulting the attainment of many goals… bull-headedness alone did not, however, equip me with the ability to quit copenhagen on my own……

Then I found this site…..and I have learned the following:

Upon reading the Kerns and ODT’s stories, I realized that yeah, it could happen to me….

I have learned the impact strangers with diverse backgrounds and a common addiction can have on each other in a very short period of time.

I have learned accountability with regard to my addiction. Accountability not only to honor the veterans who have seen fit to help me, but also to anyone that may be watching the example I set forth.

I have learned through a conversation in chat with WWB that yes, I am actually an addict that is equivalent to an alcoholic or crackhead….This was one of the most shocking and sobering realizations that I have ever had in my life. You see, I have never tried any “drugs”… not even a joint, and here I find myself with just as big an addiction to nicotine. That has been tough to swallow.

I have learned that it was ok for me to ask for and receive help….that I didn’t have to nor was I expected to do this alone.

I have learned to reach back to others who may need me to help maintain their quit, even though at this point I certainly would not classify myself as even a good novice at quitting. I also realized I don’t have to be a quitting expert….I just have to relate to the addiction and the common phases we all experience and be willing to care.

I learned that I am now in charge of my “choice” and no longer a slave to nicotine as I have the skills and weapons to win my battle for “today”…….

Many thanks go out to all the admins and moderators that selflessly contribute so much of their time and energy to providing this place to help folks like me. You are truly saving and changing the lives of so many people.

I thank my family and especially my wife for tolerating my shortcomings with this addiction and allowing me my new addiction….this site.

I also thank a fellow quitter named Buckfever who is 2 days ahead of me and has motivated me as much as anyone by just posting early and leading the way. I would encourage anyone just starting out to find someone in your group and commit to them individually along with your group. I knew as long as Buck was there, I would be too and I also knew he knew that I was depending on him….No way either of us was letting the other down…..It seems only fitting that my HOF speech should follow his.

Finally, thanks to all on the site, past present and future for helping me win this battle today. We’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

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

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