This is my HOF speech.
164 days ago, on 8/31/14, I decided to take my quit seriously, and that decision will change my life forever.
I tried chew for the first time in middle school when I was celebrating a lacrosse victory on the bus home from an away game. A friend offered me a chew and I took a tiny pinch. After about 5 seconds I was about to throw up, so I took it out of my mouth and put my head between my knees until I felt better. That was 2002.
Over the next six years through high school and college I never had another chew. But then I graduated and was ski bumming with friends in CO in 2008. I was bored, we were playing Rock Band, and a friend offered me a chew again.
I took it, packed a tiny chew – intentionally smaller than what I had tried in middle school – and got a buzz on. I still remember it clearly. It was a nice buzz. I know where I was in the room when when I had it. It was great.
Over the course of the next six years my habit turned to an addiction and by 2014 I was ninja dipping, hiding my chew from my wife, and I was going through a tin in three chews because even if I filled my lip to its capacity with dip, I still wouldn’t get a buzz. I disgusted myself.
I first tried to quit dip in 2010. I made it about two weeks on my own. Since that time I estimate that I tried to quit ~15 times. I would chew for a month, I would not chew for 5 days. I would buy Ginseng Tea pouches. They sucked. I would cave. Repeat. One time I made it three months. I was really proud of myself too. Then I went fishing at the beginning of summer and stopped to get some gas and got a chew. I was addicted and it became increasingly clear to me that I had to do something different to change.
Then, on 8/31/14 on my wife’s birthday, and inspired by my wife who has been sober for 8 years, and inspired by the fact that we recently found out we are pregnant with our first kid, I decided to stop being a punk and take ownership of my life, of my habit, of my mouth, of my future…
I knew that I needed to get support. I had tried to quit so many times on my own. It never worked. I did some online research and found KTC. I posted my intro, I started posting roll, and I read everything I could for the first few weeks.
The last 164 days have been crazy. In September my wife and I decided to move from Seattle to Boston to start our family in our hometown – our 6th move in the last 4 years. In October we went back to Boston to try to find a place to live. In December we moved back, living with my in-laws for January because we hadn’t found a spot yet. In January we found a place and now finally in February we are moving into our new apartment this weekend.
Through all the craziness, I have posted roll almost every day. I definitely missed some days there and I appreciate everyone who reached out to me and who called me out when I did miss roll. It helped to keep me disciplined. It helped to keep me on point and focused on my quit. It served as a reminder that I’m not doing this alone. Those text messages I had with AquaLuke, with Sox Fan, the inbox with Jwright and with Mitchy – I know that I have my quit brothers to lean on in tough times. That’s why we do this together. That’s why it never works to quit by yourself. That’s why you join KTC because you are accountable to your quit brothers and to yourself to keep going strong and to not caving.
So thank you to all of you – my quit brothers and sisters – thank you for your support. I couldn’t have made it 164 days without all of you. Without you, my future self has cancer, I am spending 10s of 1,000s of $ on treatment, I am causing my family heart ache, I am eventually dead way sooner than I should have died, like Tony Gwynn.
I have a lot of work to do. We all will always have a lot of work to do. Every day is work. I will always be an addict and I will take it one day at a time. But I am grateful for my sobriety today and I will be back tomorrow to post roll.