2017 HOF Speeches

GeneralCuster HOF Speech

GeneralCuster avatarIt’s tough to say exactly what my initial motivation to start dipping was, but I guess that’s water under the bridge now anyway. Ultimately, I began dipping as a junior in college and continued, for nine years, to live everyday as a slave to Kodiak Long Cut. I had a couple failed quitting bids in that timeframe, neither of which lasted longer than three weeks or so. Outside of those brief windows, I can count on one hand the number of days that I didn’t pack a dip during those nine years.

I knew that it was, at best, a disgusting habit. I knew that it would, at worst, kill me in a profoundly slow and painful way. I had heard the cancer stories, seen the horrifying pictures that accompanied them, and was certainly well aware of the reality of tobacco’s impact on the human body. And yet, as we at KTC can all attest to, I couldn’t shake the grip that nicotine had over me.

What was particularly troubling for me was that I was unable to quit despite having never known my grandfather because he died of lung cancer in 1977 from smoking cigarettes. My dad, with whom I’m very close, once shared a story with me about his dad when they were younger. They had a house on an island in Maine where they went every summer, and it was always regarded as a unique, special place in our family. At the end of one summer when my grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer, my father stood with his dad at the ferry landing on the island. As they waited for the ferry, it occurred to my father that these would be the last few minutes he would ever spend with his dad on the island. That thought on its own has always haunted me. Worse still, I could not bear the idea of my father having to bury his father AND his son because neither of them could quit tobacco.

This led, perhaps indirectly, to my “moment of clarity” this past June. Or perhaps “meltdown” would be a more appropriate term. In an emotional diatribe which my fiancée was kind enough to indulge, I poured everything out. All the guilt from years of abusing my teeth and gums, all the shame that accompanies failed attempts to quit, and so on and so forth. But most importantly, I expressed a resolute commitment to put the tin down forever (or can, whichever term you prefer). Since that evening, I haven’t touched anything containing nicotine. The support and accountability that KTC has provided has played a huge role in that.

It has not been an easy process, and I’m well aware that there will be more difficult times ahead. But I’ve got an amazing support system, both in my family as well as here at KTC, for which I am profoundly grateful. One day at a time, every damn day!

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

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