I have briefly told some of you this story of an experience I was able to have about a year ago. My work has a benefit that once you work there 30 years you can take a one time paid sabbatical of one month! I used my opportunity to do a dog training apprenticeship with a bird dog trainer that I greatly admire. I went there thinking I was going to learn about dogs, but left learning much more; the value of hard work, commitment, morals, integrity, and more. Picture the work ethic of a rancher or farmer with the personality of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood and that is the trainer I worked with.
I found that most of the problems I had with the dogs I worked with was that I was making excuses. I made excuses that something was too hard, or that the level I was at was good enough. What I quickly realized is that when you settle for “good enough” then you open the door for “why bother”. I had made excuses for the last 30 years that I will quit next week, or I just have an addictive personality, blah blah blah. I had told myself that it is too hard to quit and I convinced myself that I can’t do it. Well after that month long apprenticeship I learned what “too hard” really was. Everything we do boils down to a choice…. Do we want to put in the extra effort and strive for excellence, or do we want to limp by and settle for mediocrity?
Somehow it finally sunk in with me that my quitting Tobacco isn’t hard! Shocking, but really it isn’t. It is a choice! Do I want to be a slave to Nicotine and big tobacco industry, or do I want to be free and make my own free will. It was MY choice to disrespect my wife and family by spending hard earned money on a dead plant verses spending it on them. It was MY choice to roll the dice and possibly shorten my life instead of choosing to just not go into the convenience store and buy another tin. It was MY choice to Ninja Dip at work and gut the damn juice because obviously I couldn’t have a spitter sitting on my desk, who knows how walking around the office with a fatty in my lip and my breath smelling like shit all the time affected my career? (I thought I was getting away with it, but after I quit I asked my bosses and they told me they knew).
Is quitting tobacco hard? I can tell you it isn’t fun, and it isn’t without its challenges! One of my favorite sayings on the KTC site is “Embrace the Suck!”. I put myself in this situation, I should be man enough to get myself out of it. I kind of considered it my penance or punishment for being a dumb ass for the last 34 years. But really is quitting hard?…. What I realized on my month long apprenticeship is that striving for excellence is hard, but SO worth it. I also decided that being lazy, taking short cuts, and making excuses is easy. I had a long hard look in the mirror and didn’t like the person I saw. I had let complacency enter my life. I was taking shortcuts. I was getting fat and out of shape. I was getting lazy! You want to know what is hard….. Being a single parent and working 3 jobs to support your kids, being a cop on the midnight shift in the inner city when you know everyone you work for hates you, being on the frontlines in some sandy desert away from your family, watching a loved one die of cancer. Those things are hard! Choosing to not put shit in your mouth by comparison is freaken easy!
I finally decided on November 28th, 2017 that I had enough. I choose my future, not some worm dirt in a can! I was going to finally have the balls to step up and strive for excellence. Not take the easy route or shortcuts. And honestly once I committed to myself that I was going to be a better version of myself it wasn’t that hard. I mean it sucked, a lot, but I was committed. And the support of this group greatly eased the pain of quitting. But I just decided I wasn’t going to be a slave anymore. I wasn’t going to disrespect those of you on KTC who made promises with me by caving on my word. And I wasn’t going to disrespect all the admirable men and women doing truly “hard” stuff every day by breaking my word to simply just stop putting a dead plant in my lip!
I also decided that I was going to clean up the other areas of my life. I started trying to lose the extra weight I put on from being lazy (gained 20 lbs after quitting dip!). Now I am running 2 miles every other day and feeling great. My wife and I started to get out of debt and now I am putting all the extra money I was paying for chew and elevated health insurance premiums into savings so that we can retire early and start enjoying life.
Was quitting chew hard? No, not really. Is sucked! It sucked hard! But it was so worth it in the end. Strive for excellence, be the best version of yourself that you can be.
In the end come judgement day, what side of the fence do you want to stand on? Do you want to be lumped with the lazy slobs looking for handouts and the easy way out, or do you want to stand with the honorable hard working men and women who keep their word?
Thanks to all of you that text me every day with your promise and support. It really does help and adds a huge layer of protection to my quit. I won’t list everyone that has helped me along the way, but ironically the two people that I communicate with the most are banned from the site (Mintquit and Dogonhunt). Thanks also to Sam, Fishflorida, and mostly our fearless leader…Cochese!
Day 100, IQW “The Underground Railroad of Quit”, looking forward to day 101!