2014 HOF Speeches

Integrity Requires Being All In – Still Learning To Be Free

brettlees avatarI’ve been quit almost a year. I’ve learned a lot here. There are so many times I would have started using again, starting by having “just one” for whatever lame reason I’d dream up. But not now, I understand addiction more because of this site, and because of sticking around to see how others do it, as well as how others fail.

Want to know the real secret? You have to be involved. You have to put yourself out there. Post roll here, and more. Post your experiences. Support other quitters. Get to know other quitters. The more you do here, the more likely you will succeed. It’s this social aspect, once you really understand the addiction, that makes it work. For years, for many of, chew was your secret best friend, always there with you and for you. Or so the addiction made you think. Now you have to have a replacement – real quitters as friends and supporters and enforcers if you were to slip are just the ticket.

Find the involvement that helps you the most. When I started my quit I avoided text groups, but by now a small daily text group I’m in is clearly the thing that means the absolute most to maintaining my quit daily. I do continue to post though, religiously. I also stay involved here, and you really should do that too. You have to put yourself out there—be you, be all in. You’ll make great bonds. Some guys here will be great friends. Some guys here are supreme assholes, some are heroes. It’s a mirror of life, it is what it is. But what is it mostly the opportunity to do something you have never done before, and something few ever can- the opportunity to stop feeding your nicotine addiction successfully, and if you choose, the opportunity to actually start healing from that addiction and whatever created it in you.

Finally, I want to discuss healing just a little more, because if you are so inclined, you are about to embark on some amazing growth. The part I notice first is how good it feels to be in real integrity. I no longer have this dirty little secret about my chewing, or the shame of doing something that others vocally express is very gross to them. I am free of that burden. I never realized it was such a burden before, when I was using- but then again, a fish doesn’t really know it’s in water. It feels so good to be free, and one of those great feelings I’m still getting used to after all this quit so far is that I DON’T have that little secret any more—I’m not living a lie anymore. I am honest, not a liar, and am a person I always wanted to be, not someone with a dirty lie ruling my life beyond where most can see. To be a man of integrity has always been a principle of mine, though I always lived with a big lie and in constant efforts to deceive others- hiding chew and spit and cans and making sure my teeth appeared clean and not breathing on people so they couldn’t smell the chew, and so on. Now, I don’t have to be in constant “deceive” mode. It’s taken a long time but I am about free of that habitual inclination- and it feels great! And I can tell there is so much more to discover and enjoy about being free. You’ll find along this journey that it just keeps getting better and better as you go. There are ups and downs, and it’s hard, but you can do it following the methods here. Your life will be better in ways you never even imagined- I know because mine already is, and I’m just starting!

Closing, there are so many people I’d love to thank. Most are still around, others have left for various reasons. I seriously think about each of you who has interacted with me in intros or PMs or texts, or signed in with support in our Jan 14 class, or met with me in person. I can’t list everyone, and there are new ones to come I’m sure. Just know that the fellowship is what really makes it work for me and I sincerely thank you for helping me chose to live a clean and honest and free life every day, after decades of lies deceit and slavery to an evil addiction to a deadly weed of a plant.

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

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