2007 HOF Speeches

HOF Shep – After 400 Days, It’ll Stick This Time

KTC We're All Addicts

Hi. I’m Shep and I’m a nicotine addict. (Group responds “Hi Shep”.) Ladies and gentlemen, I have to say I’m embarrassed for even standing in front of you. If I would’ve been any kind of man and shown any sort of character or strength, I would have never started this habit to begin with. Now, I can say I’ve proven my mettle for a mere 100 days; a respectable feat but a drop in the bucket when compared to the number of days I chewed. While this is intended to be a moment of pride, I cannot help but reflect on the 9000+ days I chose to infect my life with tobacco. One hundred days is impressive when I consider the struggle to quit but in the immortal words of John Paul Jones, “I have not yet begun to fight”. How about you?

I started chewing Levi Garrett when I was 15 when I was called a pussy for not trying. I chewed with a couple buddies and would say spitting on our lures while fishing brought us luck. All of my buddies have long since quite and one became a dentist. After high school, I joined the Air Force stopped chewing for the first year or so. I figured basic training was a good time to quit. I don’t remember why but one weekend I picked up some chaw and was back at it. I started chewing for the next 20 years, always hiding my disgusting habit from my wife and kids.

I choose to start, create, and nurture a habit that would get between me and my wife, my kids, all the while making me feel like a complete failure. Smart thinkin’ huh? I allowed the habit to start at a football camp and continued it off and on for the next 20 years.

Instead of focusing on the mire I allowed myself to live under for the last two decades, I will instead focus on how my life has changed by end my addiction. Besides looking forward to brushing my teeth and knowing I’m not going to see blood from my gums as well as the hassle of constantly chasing my next pouch from WalMart, life is good. The guilt is gone and the calm warmth of closing the door on my habit is close to equaling the confidence of knowing you’re marrying the right woman…it just feels right. Life is no longer an exercise of chasing the next chew; instead it’s what it was intended be. Life has never been intended to be a product of chasing an addiction but rather a continual pursuit of excellence. Isn’t it strange how a simple, single decision we made as a punk kid would have such an impact on our entire lives?

Consider this, won’t you, if we’ve been carrying on our shoulders the result of a misguided decision from our youth to start chewing/dipping, what else are we still hanging onto? Could it be that we were lead to believe we were dumb or unattractive? Maybe you have a deep seeded secret you don’t even like to ponder upon, yet is still part of your daily life. The discomfort of facing with the issue, and ultimately dealing with it, will set you free once again.

In my time of coming to this site, I’ve found the best of our country… people helping others without expecting anything in return. You are all top shelf regardless of what our former habit convinced us of. We’ve all got skeletons in our closets but they’re immaterial when it comes to us accepting ownership of our lives and where we land.

We all have quotes from famous people that inspire us. Here’s mine: “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” — George Bernard Shaw

If you’re new here, please know the folks on this site will do everything they can to help you stay the quit but ultimately it’s your choice. I quit for my kids and it didn’t work. I quit for my wife and it didn’t work. I quit for God and it didn’t work. It wasn’t until I quit for ME that it finally worked. Each person finds their own reason but you’d better put yourself in the equation somewhere if you want it to stick.

Godspeed. Stay strong in your daily struggle,
Shep

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

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