Lessons Learned

Happy St. Patricks' Day From KillTheCan.org!When I joined KTC, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I expected the site to be a simple tool help keep me accountable – check in once a day, post roll, and go on with the day dip-free. KTC provided that function, but it provided much more. I gained insight and clarity into some of life’s basic lessons, including community, honesty, and living life in the present.

Community. I’m a quiet and reserved introvert; I wasn’t out looking for new friendships or connections. But, even as an infrequent poster, I have been a regular participant. Everyday, I read the daily commitments of my quit group members and I learn a little more about each of them. Over the passing of days, weeks, and months, I cared about them and their quit. And more surprising to me, they cared about mine! I didn’t see it and I wasn’t looking for it, but I was destined to become part of a tribe of quitters gathered around a Dumpster Fire. Individually we shared the desire to live everyday free of nicotine and together we make that happen. We’re stronger together than we are individually.

Honesty. Like most other quitters, the risk of cancer, gum-disease, and other health impacts informed my decision to quit. But for me, the fatigue of hiding my habit also drove my decision. I was tired of the ninja dipping and the worry that my spouse, family, or co-workers would discover my secret. Today, I can honestly say I’m nic-free, which is liberating. With KTC, I also gained a new level of self-honesty I didn’t expect. Three months ago, I could not call myself an addict; today, I can. Today, I can get up every morning, look in the mirror and say to myself: I’m an addict. Quitting is hard, but that fundamental self-honesty makes it’s easier. You can’t be honest with others until you’re honest with yourself.

Living in the present. I stopped dipping once before when I was 28. I started again 13 years later when I was 41. The details of my cave are less important than the bigger narrative: Life happened and the future looked bleak. I attempted to relive more optimistic days of my youth with a can of dip. Living in the past doesn’t work.

Since I made my decision to quit (again), I’ve wrestled with the almost daily temptation to pick up a can. But over the past 3 months, I’ve refined my understanding of what it means to live in the present. I can’t live in or change the past: I’m addict and will always be an addict. I can’t predict the future, but there are some things I can expect: the temptation to dip will always be there and nicotine doesn’t make the future better. I can choose to live in the present and make a daily choice and commitment to live free from dip and nicotine. One of the mantras of this place is “one day at a time.” Living in the present–one-day-at-a-time–works.

After 100 days. I’ve accepted that I’m an addict. Whether it’s 100 days or 13 years, every day I own my choice to live free from dip. I’m comforted and inspired by the tribe of fellow quitters who are doing the same. For all of that: I’m grateful.

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

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