Tobacco? No, tobacco certainly is not Greek to me. But, that is where it all started in my College fraternity. I will come back to that in a minute because to me, how it ended is far more important than how it started. Humor me, as I jump around a little bit.
In most of the HOF speeches I have read, the quitter will generally express sincere gratitude to other members of KTC for their support/guidance/accountability/etc. throughout the first 100 days. It is much deserved gratitude and I’m sure most quitters would agree. This site is huge to my quit. It almost sounds like a broken record because we all say it—“I couldn’t have done this without this site and all of you members”! It’s worth saying over and over though—this site is powerful. This gratitude that I am referring to normally shows up toward the end of the HOF speech. Well, not in mine… I’m giving my props first. There are several of you that were/are instrumental in my quit so I am going to start with YOU!
First off… I gotta give my initial gratitude to Hydro and Justquit. These 2 quitters are heroes in my opinion. On December 31st 2008 between 11pm and midnight I had a huge dip in my mouth. I was surfing the internet looking for ways to quit chewing. You see, I had promised myself, my wife and my kids that I was done with tobacco and that on January 1st of 2009 I would end my relationship with skoal and quit chewing. This was going to be hard… in over 13 years of chewing, I never once tried to quit… I didn’t want to. I liked it too much. So as I was surfing the internet I found this site. Didn’t know anything about it, how it worked, etc. I thought it was probably just a place for a bunch of internet dorks to hang out. I met a couple of quitters that were hammering on me pretty hard. These guys were Hydro and Justquit and they convinced me that night to spit out my dip. It was the last one I had and I spit it out earlier than I had planned. But, the fact is, those two fine individuals helped save my life. It is this site and the support of my family that has helped me stay strong and quit for 100 days. Hydro and Justquit—thank you.
Iuchewie… you are the man!! Thank you for your greeting note to me once I joined KTC as well as some of your early notes about staying focused, etc as I battled through the “fog”. Your encouragement and involvement on this site is incredible. You cannot put a price tag on the value you bring to this site. Thank you Chewie!!
Some of the individuals that helped me early on but have remained in touch throughout my first 100 days are Ready (caving is not an option, do something else), Chewless jim (who most of you don’t know is my ninja sensei) and BBJ (a tremendous leader and great motivator). You 3 vets have been incredible support! It seems like you were always there, almost reading my mind when I needed a lift or wanted to gripe about something. Thanks for your continued support!!
I have said for the past 100 days that “I own the funk”. My quit has been rough and I spent/spend a significant amount of time in the funk. There are a handful of my fellow FOQers that helped keep me positive and at times I know that was a daunting task. For that, I thank you!! You guys are the type of people that I consider “real” friends even if we never meet in person. Rkymtnman, you are a life saver. You jumped in during times when I was wanting to bail on the site for some of the nonsense I didn’t agree with/understand. You and a few others convinced me to stay “take what you need and ignore the rest”. You are one helluva quitter and I appreciate you!! JpCrew, ndrooster, TFurrh, BigHoss, Niwot and SWJ. You guys kept the boards alive and always dropped me something in my inbox when I was whining about my funk. To all of you, thanks for carrying me to the first milestone!!! Also, a big thanks to the rest of my AP09 FOQers—even if we didn’t chat/interact much, I was still watchin out for you as I know you were watchin out for me.
Smokeg… you little pillow biting faggy mcfaggerson. You get your own paragraph. Thanks, smoke-a-hontas!! I spent the first 60 or so days of my quit not liking you. But I was playa-hatin for the wrong reasons. You are a tremendous asset to this site and I appreciate everything you did to keep my mind off of the nicotine!!! Plus, you have the ability to bust my guts from laughing so hard at some of the crap you come up with. I really think you need some counseling. Hell, we all do. Seriously smokes—thanks man, I mean that sincerely!!
So, how the hell did I get here??? Am I really an addict just like the rest of you? Yeah, I am… and actually I am not ashamed. I could easily be in denial, still chewing 2 cans/day and thinking that I have things under control. But, I have chosen to accept the fact that I will be an addict for the rest of my life and I will fight this battle forever. I’m ok with that, I have a plan and know how to win!! I said it was Greek to me, what is that? The tobacco wasn’t Greek. The introduction was. I was introduced to skoal by one of my fraternity brothers. That’s what was Greek about the whole introduction to skoal… the fraternity, not the introduction.
Flashback to 1996, first semester finals week, Kansas State University (back when we were good at Football—those were the good ole days). I was a sophomore. I was doing something that I didn’t do very much, very well or very often but it was necessary—studying. It was late and I was tired. I lived in a fraternity and a bunch of us had classes together so we were using the “group study” approach. It wasn’t very effective but we did it anyway. One of my best friends was packing a fatty and I decided to give it a try. It burnt the hell out of my lip (should have been sign #1) and made me dizzy as hell (should have been sign #2) but I kept it in as long as I could stand it. From there, I was hooked. I heard a smoker once say, “I only smoke when I am breathing”. That is how I felt about dipping. It became part of me, who I was. I never tried to hide it from anyone; I was very open about it. I would put a dip in when I woke up, after a meal, while I was studying, walking to campus, intramural football/softball, hunting, fishing, at the bars. Good grief, I was co-dependent. Anytime I drove anywhere I enjoyed packing a fat dip and listening to my music in my truck as loud as I possibly could.
The older I got, the worse it got. I would dip at work, doing yard work, at kids outdoor events, at the lake, on the golf course, etc. You name it, I was chewin! I remember my wife saying one time “it’s time to quit”. That is the most pressure I ever got from her. And, it wasn’t even pressure—she was just stating the obvious. I agreed with her… but, I really needed my dip because of how stressful things are. It was my crutch, my pick me up. Things seemed so much better and manageable when I had skoal in my veins. My wife was right though… it was time, I just wasn’t ready.
Then my children got older and started noticing it and asking questions. They teach kids in school that tobacco is a drug and people who use tobacco are drug users. So when my 8 year old son came home from school and asked me why I was doing drugs I had to think of something clever to say. How the hell do you answer that question? At first I got pissed (not at him) and tried to defend my position. I almost convinced myself that I would write a letter the school voicing my opinions. The fact of the matter was they were right. Although I disagreed with “how” kids are taught about tobacco in school, the teachers/administrators are right. I was trying to fight a losing argument. Maybe in reality I was disappointed in myself for allowing my children to see this or be taught this by their father. How do you answer your kids when they say, “Daddy, why do you eat tobacco all the time”? No that is not a typo it is what they would ask. That one stings quite a bit.
Of course there are the sores on the inside of the mouth, dental health and overall health in general. Those factors certainly strengthened my resolve when I was “ready” to quit. It was just so hard because time goes by so fast. I can actually remember the first dip I ever had. I remember it vividly, it seems like yesterday. It was over 13 years ago. I finally realized it was “time” and I was “ready” to quit when I started going through a 12 pack of diet coke every 2 days and a log of skoal every 5 days. Skoal and diet coke… mmm, they just go together so nicely!! That is sick. It was almost like I was trying to kill myself. Critics from the outside looking in probably saw it that way.
I’ve never in my life quit something once I have started. I don’t believe in failure. I have a strong winning personality and I don’t do well in the whole giving up department because I am too hard headed and determined to succeed. The first time in my life I quit something was on 12/31/08 at almost straight up mid-night. I quit chewing. It’s the only thing I have ever given up on in my life. And, by giving up on skoal, by quitting, I made a decision to save my own life!!!
In retrospect, I was a very selfish person. Like all of you, I put tobacco before anything else. She had a grip on me and I ran to her whenever she called. But when the light comes on, it really comes on. What was I thinking?? Post quit, I have had 2 biopsies and several dentist appointments. No cancer (yet) and my fangs are as white as sheets (luckily). But, all of that crap could have been prevented.
I know I will stay quit. I can do this partly because of this site but also because I am so damned hard headed. And partly because days 1-100 were not very much fun and I don’t want to go through them ever again. I’M QUIT.
I like breathing… I love living… kind of hard to really live when you are killing yourself with cancer in a can every day. So, I quit. I quit for myself and I quit for my family. I have 3 kids that need me and I need them. Although I want them to be like me in some ways, I do not want them to be a “spitting” image of me. I have a wife that needs me and I can’t breathe without her. She is the most incredible person in this world and I want as much time with her as my life will allow.
I have only had 2 addictions in my life. One of them I am currently recovering from (Skoal). The other addiction is my wife… I am addicted to loving her. I’m not willing to let go of that addiction, ever. The woman is amazing. She was with me when I started my relationship with skoal and she was with me when I ended it. She sat there and watched me kill myself one dip at a time. She always wanted me to quit but she knew it was going to have to be my idea, not hers.
Gorgeous, we are 100 days in now and no turning back. Thank you for all of your love and support, I could not have done this without you. I love you, completely!!
And to all of you on KTC.org… a big thanks again to you!! I’ll see you at roll call in the morning as we all add a +1. Because dammit, quitting is what we do—one day at a time!