Well, here I am at over 100 days quit. There’s still some level of disbelief as I type that out. When I came here to lurk around, the first thing I did was read hall of fame speeches – in total astonishment, mind you. The very idea that anyone could be quit for 100 days led me to believe that those who had done it must be some sort of superhumans. Hell, I couldn’t even fathom being quit for 100 minutes, let alone 100 DAYS. As I read speech after speech, I realized something very uplifting and began to feel a tremendous sense of hope. While these men and women who had quit were motivated, dedicated, card-carrying badasses who had taken their lives back, none of them were superhuman. This was something that could be done. And it could be done by me, too.
All it required was the proper hatred for nicotine. And believe me, I have that. Nicotine and tobacco, albeit in the form of smoking, killed both my grandparents within 5 months of each other. It has given my mother COPD and exacerbated her heart disease. As for what it did to me, it played hell with my teeth, which at one point in my life were perfect. On top of that, I was told I had leukoplakia (pre-cancerous lesions), I was bordering on being medically underweight from not eating (hard to eat with shit in your mouth 16 hours a day, ain’t it?). Furthermore, I had a resting heart rate of 110. That sort of heart rate is more suited for someone who is standing up and briskly walking, not someone sitting down at the computer. Scary. Also, my “enjoyment” for dipping had gone away years ago and was replaced by a nagging awareness that my mouth hurt and my dental health left much to be desired. I was also fully aware that my decision to buy dip was purely to satisfy an addiction, not for the purpose of happiness. So even in my addict mind, reasons to continue to use tobacco were running low rapidly. The rationalizations weren’t holding the same water they used to.
I ended up at KTC on a total fluke. You see, I decided it was time to quit, but I was one of those people who foolishly bought into how impossible and scary quitting nicotine was. That I needed patches or gum to do it. Thinking back on it, what a joke that was. The only people who stood to benefit from me thinking quitting was so scary and impossible was Copenhagen themselves and the Nicorette company. Anyway, I looked up how many milligrams of shit-o-tine I “needed” in the patches. 42 mg was the alleged magic number, and I set out to find some. I checked 5 pharmacies the day before I joined KTC, and not one had 42 mg patches. Turns out, they don’t even MAKE patches of that dosage as far as I’m aware. I had just missed the part where the article said you needed to wear two of the 21 mg ones. At that point, extremely frustrated and disgusted with my addiction, I said aloud to myself “Fuck it. I’m not going to put two ridiculous patches on my body because I’m that desperate for poison. I’ll do it another way and keep my dignity.” That other way ended up being KTC. If you believe in fate, then it was fate. If you believe in God, then it was God. If you believe in neither, I’m one lucky son of a bitch. What do I believe? I believe my being here is not an accident.
Listen, I don’t know if I could have quit without KTC. I’ve thought about it, sure, and maybe I could have. For about a week into my quit, I sincerely considered leaving. The thing is, I DO differ a little bit from many people here in that I’ve never tried to quit before. God’s honest truth. Does that make me special or better than anyone? Hell no, but it did make me think maybe this site wasn’t for me. I’m glad I stuck around, because whether I could or could not quit without KTC is totally speculative and irrelevant. It’s hypothetical. What is NOT hypothetical, however, is that I sit here at over 100 days quit now, having met many friends along the way as a bonus. I no longer have leukoplakia, I now have a normal heart rate, I’m at a normal weight, and while I still need some work done, my oral health is FAR better. Oh, being able to taste food again is a plus, too. If your word has any sort of value to it at all, this site works.
When I put my name on roll call, that’s a promise to all 23,000+ people on this site that I won’t use nicotine – not just my group. 23,000 people, and that number is climbing by the day. Think about that for a second. To put it in perspective, that’s like making a promise to every single person in a filled-to-capacity Madison Square Garden, except that place only holds 20,000 folks. Imagine doing that every day. I can’t go back on a promise like that, especially when of those 23,000 are people who I know and genuinely consider to be friends. That is a tremendous amount of accountability. That is why I feel the site works. The first piece of advice I ever read on quitting was to tell everyone you know you’re quitting to build accountability. Well, I decided to take it a step forward and tell 23,000 people instead in addition to everyone I know.
With that said, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me stay quit, shared knowledge and advice, or just talked to me on the forum or in the chat room. You are all truly amazing people, and there is no other community like KTC. There are too many of you to list individually, but having too many people to list that have cared about me is a “problem” I’m happy to have. Going forward, I will try to mentor newcomers to the site and offer them what advice or knowledge about quitting I’ve gained, just as people mentored me when I first came here – and continue to today.
Finally, while I realize we can only quit for ourselves, this particular moment in my quit is for Millie and Tracy. Those were the names of my grandma and grandpa I mentioned who died from lung cancer. I always tried not to think about them as I was shamefully packing my lip full of carcinogens, knowing what nicotine and tobacco had done to them. And when I inevitably would think of them, I’d tell myself it was different because they smoked and I dipped. But deep down, I knew it was all the same. By ignoring the lesson their deaths should have taught me, I wasn’t just spitting into a bottle when I was dipping, I was spitting on their graves. Well, now I’ve made things right, and will continue to keep them right one day at a time.
My favorite part of quitting is not having to feel that shame and guilt anymore, and knowing that if they were still here, they’d be proud of me. If you’re new to the site, here’s my question to you: What is your favorite part going to be in YOUR quit?