2023 Hall of Fame Speeches

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again!

Try Try Again
Photo Credit: Quote Fancy

This is not the motto for KTC, but this is a message to anyone out there looking to quit for good who has had several failed attempts in the past.  I tried to quit several times.  I would say in my 24 years of using Kodiak/Copenhagen that I had 5-10 times that I seriously wanted to quit but would only stop for a while and never was successful.  I would make 3 days then cave, 5 days then cave, hell even almost a month around 20 days and cave.

All of my attempts prior to my quit were tried solo except for one attempt 10 years ago.  My first ever real attempt was ten years ago in 2014 when I had came across and joined KTC.  I really didn’t know at the time what I had signed up for and was a foggy mess but googled how to quit and there I was in a quit group posting my day 1 at KTC.  All I knew is I wanted to quit and here there were others trying to do the same thing as me.

I somehow made it 100 days and into the Hall of Fame by just posting and ghosting.  I didn’t get anyone’s number, I didn’t join in any conversations, I would just post and leave, and just the thought of knowing I promised other people I wouldn’t use was enough to get me to 100 days.  After 100 days I think I let my pride get the best of me and didn’t want to think I was still an addict. I thought I didn’t need this place anymore because this place was for people still addicted, and I was no longer addicted.

I made it 128 days and let my inner addict talk me into trying to use in moderation.  I bought a can, and within three days I was back to two cans a day which was half a can more than before I attempted to quit.  I didn’t post my promise anymore, and I remember that first toxic thought of no one will know if I use; they haven’t even missed me since I haven’t posted. Deep down I had ghosted the place, and there was a deep underlying reason I didn’t share my digits. I had a reservation of possibly trying to use in moderation all along through my attempt.  I felt so bad after going back and becoming addicted all over again and throwing away 128 days of fighting for nothing only to find myself back at square one.  I was so ashamed of myself that it took me 10 years to come back to KTC, because I knew I was weak and didn’t want to admit it.

I attempted solo several times throughout the 10 years and never made it far at all.  Within a month of caving after that first real attempt with KTC I developed generalized anxiety and panic disorder.  I say this like its just a diagnosis, but if there is anyone out there that understands, you’ll know this was a very terrible period in my life.  First of all, when you go from being a go getter and being damn good at most things you do to being confined to your room because your mind is telling your body the sky’s falling for no reason, this is life changing.

I personally think in my situation that I had rid my body of poison for 100+ days and my body was starting to heal and produce its own natural chemicals that were previously replaced by nicotine.  When I reintroduced poison back into my system so fast it overwhelmed me and brought on panic/anxiety.  Most people may have one attack and never have another one, but that wasn’t the case for me.  I was having issues left and right, and it took a couple months to get diagnosed after all of the basic checks were complete like EKG, heart monitor, and blood work.  So within three months of caving now I am being prescribed SSRI’s and Xanax just to function and go to work without wanting to leave.

Looking back now I can say that I think that for ten years I fought being chemically stable with prescription meds just to keep feeding my body poison.  10 freaking years! 10 Years I wasted! Fighting a chemical imbalance because of nicotine!  The best years of my son growing up from 2 to 12 years old I was caught up in myself and how I was constantly feeling and trying to regulate my mood using tobacco, Xanax, and alcohol.  It got to the point that I felt so bad every time I would get a dip.  I started to figure out that my problems were coming from this crap in a can.  When you have physical issues, in order to fix yourself, you start ruling things out to determine the culprit, and my root cause all pointed towards nicotine.  I felt like trash mentally, I was lazy physically, I would have panic and pop pills or drink beer to try and stay stable.  I was living a nightmare.

Try Try Again

Finally on June the 3rd of this year I was at the lake for a first time outing for the summer.  Just to make it up there pulling the boat and being out on the water I had to have a roll of snuff, a case of beer, and my medicine pouch with all my meds for panic or headache all just to have mental peace of mind to have a good time.  Does that sound like I was having a good time?  It hit me like a ton of bricks while pulling the kids on the tube – I am 39 years old, and I am wasting my life away all because of this crap in my cheek not doing anything for me except making me feel bad.  I finally had had enough and decided I was done with nicotine.  But this wasn’t the first time I wanted to quit, but this was the first time that I became MAD at nicotine for what it had done to me, and that is the difference I believe and why I am now quit for life.

I still hate it to this day and am pissed that it cost me so many years of my life.  I knew quitting meant I would probably have increased anxiety or panic but knew it was the path I had to take to get my life back.  I went 5 days solo and started to doubt myself and was losing momentum fast.  I was a foggy mess but knew what I needed to do – I needed KTC to make my quit stick!  So I found my way to the site, (10 years before they didn’t use discord), stumbled my way into discord and found someone there asking me if I was ready to quit. I then explained my past failure, and they asked me to answer the three questions in my new group.  #1 What happened?  #2 Why did it happen? #3 What was I going to do differently to prevent it from happening again?  It was clear as day in the moment because I never really thought about these questions until right then.  #1 I went off solo and my addict-self talked me into trying to use in moderation.  #2 I gave in to my addict-self without accountability, went out and bought a can of Kodiak, and within three days was back to using two cans a day.  #3 This time I was going to use the accountability to stay quit and not just show up, post and ghost, but read material put out there on KTC’s site and read other conversations happening throughout the groups.

I am not going to leave after 100 days and think I am cured.  I am not getting any younger, my son is getting older, and I am tired of wasting my life away!  Even with the motivation I had in answering these three questions well into my quit, in the first few weeks and a little after, I had to revisit the way I answered these questions to put myself back into the shoes of the guy who showed up begging to be quit.  Quitting is not easy. It is a mind game every damn day there for a while in the beginning but I made it!  The mind games are now behind me.  I can now think, and I am not foggy.  Any thought that comes up from within I can detect as toxic and shut it down before it has a chance to set up shop and start to grow into an action.

I can do this because I am at 185 days, and I am still around here at KTC promising everyone that I will not cave, and my quit is stronger trying to inspire those who are on their first day, or first week, or first month!  It fuels my quit seeing others beat back nicotine, and it inspires and motivates me to stay quit.  I am a completely different person now!  I don’t have nasty breath, I don’t have grains in my teeth, I don’t have spit bottles all around in vehicles getting hot and ripe.  I don’t rush my family when shopping in a store, eating at a restaurant, visiting family, at a school play – you know all the things you would do to rush outside to your next fix.  That’s not me anymore, no hiding spit bottles or spitting around in the shop, or down sink drains, or in the trash can so the wife can yell at me for getting stuff all in the bottom of the can.

But the #1 best take away from this quit that has forever changed my life and has solidified my quit is I am completely off all medication!  No panic in 6 months, and therefore no Xanax!  I am highly motivated again, I have my energy back, and I even started new hobbies that I didn’t have the motivation for earlier this year.  I started working on small engines, and I’m now about to start a Ford Fairlane rebuild, and all this will be a new experience, tobacco free!  I am making new memories that don’t have spit stains all around them.

The reason I wrote this is because I know there are others out there that may be facing similar medical issues from the use of nicotine, and just because you have failed attempts in the past doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of misery.  You can quit. Every single person out there hooked on this crap has the ability to quit but only if they can learn to hate it for what it has cost them.  For me, it’s probably years off my life – my blood pressure and heart rate are now normal.  How many years did I lose wearing out my pump?  A mechanical pump life span is based on how well it is lubricated, bearing clearances, alignment, working pressure.  If my heart was working at higher pressure and at elevated speeds, to me that equals less longevity.  However, what’s done is done, and I can only go up from that low point in my life.

I am so thankful for KTC because I know without a doubt I wouldn’t be quit today without the support of my No Nic Knights of September 2023.  This has been an amazing journey so far, and I am loving each day that I wake up still nicotine free!  I have absolutely no regrets about quitting. The only regret I have is that it took me so damn long to start.  Thank You KTC! I am forever thankful!

JustinMartin300WSM (September 2023 No Nic Knights)

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan community member justinmartin300wsm

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