2015 HOF Speeches

Getting Out of My Own Way

KTC Logo Old PhotoI’ve been chewing since high school. That’s 28 years. I first did it as a kid to try it, then didn’t touch it again until High School wrestling. When I got to college, I would find myself bored and chewing gave me the extra buzz to go along with my drinking. By the time I joined a fraternity, I always had a can with me. Once I became an active, I started making pledges carry cans of Kodiak around in case I needed a dip. It was part of the camaraderie of being one of the guys. It was about an image I was trying to project of being a tough guy and distance myself from the rich kids I went to school with. In reality it was about being insecure. I didn’t feel like I was good enough for any number of reasons, and chewing helped to set me apart. I was mentally addicted to the persona I had created to hide my insecurity.

Before I knew it, I couldn’t NOT chew. I had become addicted physically as well as mentally. I realized that none of the girls I was chasing were at all attracted to a mouth full of chew, so I started hiding it from women, and started to become a ninja dipper. It was a gift that kept on giving. I couldn’t not chew, but I couldn’t chew in front of people, but I couldn’t control either when I drank which was all the time. It was not pretty. And so it went for almost 20 years.

When I met my wife, I only knew that I couldn’t let her know that I chewed or drank like a crazy man. I spent so much time hiding who I was and what I did from her, that I don’t think she really knew me when we got married. I started to resent the fact that I had to hide chewing from my wife and decided she was a problem. When she finally caught me chewing 5 years into our marriage, she freaked. I told her I’d quit, I joined KTC in Sept. 2010 group and I quit for a couple of years. The site helped me, but I had quit for my wife and not for myself. I barely signed role and half assed my quit, and it was only a matter of time before I slipped up which for me happened almost 3 years into my first quit. I then went back to Ninja dipping, and hiding out in the toilet became my number 1 hobby. I put it in front of my marriage, my kids, work, everything. When I needed a dip, I disappeared. But nobody could know which made it even harder. If I had to be at a work event, I would need to plan breaks and sneak out every couple of hours. I wouldn’t go to team dinners because I could spend that time chewing in my hotel room freely without worrying about my wife catching me.

I was living a miserable life, literally dominated by nicotine. I planned all activities around it. The worst part was that as much as I wanted to quit I was afraid of what I would do without it. Chewing had become my refuge from problems at work, with the wife, boredom, stress, you name it. It fixed everything for me. The funny part was that a majority of the problems I had were from sneaking around chewing all the time.

So I came back after over a year of Ninja dipping and slowly ruining my life and my relationship as well as work. Since I’ve quit, life isn’t perfect, but it’s dramatically easier. Work is easier, I spend more time with my kids, I’m getting to know my wife better (both good and bad) and I’ve gotten new hobbies like running and biking. Since starting my quit I’ve lost 30 pounds because of my new hobbies. Quitting has really made me a different person. I quit because I wanted to and I knew I needed to. I’ve had to face some uncomfortable facts about myself and deal with the guilt of all the time I literally flushed down the toilet that I could have spent with my kids. In doing this I’m realizing that there isn’t much I can’t deal with, and the most annoying things I used to dodge like expense reports and calling prospects are now extremely easy and in doing them, I’m benefitting professionally and financially. So again, life isn’t perfect, but it’s amazing how much easier it is when I’m not being my own worst enemy.

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member tom92673

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