Life Can Hit You Hard – How Tough Are You?

KillTheCan LogoThe Last, or Rather First, 100 Days in the Life of Killerattorney

It was hard to decide what my Hall of Fame speech would be about. It was tempting to try to explain my whole life in this speech, but that would be impossible. I could spend a week with any of you and do nothing but talk about things that have happened to me in my life, and there would still not be enough time to explain it all. No one in my life knows my whole life story. I’ve tried to be honest and open to the members of this site about what’s happened during my quit, but they don’t know the whole story. If they did, I think I may be the one person ever to join QS that people would actually hand $5 and tell to go get a can of dip.

So I’ll concentrate this speech on the last 100 days of my life, with perhaps a little background information thrown in here and there. My name is Jim and my screen name is Killerattorney. Yes, I’m a lawyer. No, I’m not a murderer, I don’t represent murderers, and the name is not meant to be “kill her attorney.” Killer was my nickname in high school, and I got a dog this June that I named Killer.

I started dipping around 1980 and dipped for 26 years. For the most part, my dip of choice was Copenhagen, though the last few years I dipped an off-brand called Cougar which was similar but cheaper. I had hoped if I didn’t like it as much, I wouldn’t dip as much…you can guess how that turned out.

Something I haven’t shared with anyone on QS is that I met my wife in the church we both were members of. She was married to someone in the church, and got divorced, and the congregation basically took sides with her ex-husband. I was friends with her and didn’t think she should be shunned just because their marriage didn’t work out. After they were divorced for a year or so, we started dating and eventually married in 1999. The church leaders told us not to come back, since it was uncomfortable for her ex to have her there. And since I married her, I was no longer welcome, either. But my whole family attended there, and they sided with the church leaders. So, in marrying my wife, I not only was kicked out of the church that I had attended all my life, but I was also kicked out of my family of five brothers and two sisters and numerous nieces and nephews (my parents had passed away in 1993). I am the proverbial black sheep of the family.

My wife knew I dipped from the time we started dating (around 1998), but there was the usual promises that I would quit at some point. My most serious effort was four years ago. I think I was quit for maybe four to six months, but I gradually ended up caving. I knew my wife would be upset, so I didn’t tell her I was dipping again. I dipped when I wasn’t around her or around anyone whom she knew. This is called a ninja dipper on this site, but I don’t really like that term. Ninjas seem like noble warriors to me, and what I was doing was not noble.

Amazingly, she never found out for four years. But during that time, I felt like such a jerk, always worrying that she might stop by unexpectedly by the office and catch me dipping, or see me dipping while driving down the street, or catch me buying dip at the store, or see me getting in the car every night right before I went jogging and getting my nightly dip from the glove compartment. However, she never caught me with a dip in. But on Oct 1, 2006, after complaining about how my car smelled all the time, she looked around inside when I was in the house and found my can of dip in the glove compartment. When I came outside to ask her something, she had a glaring look on her face and asked if I had something to tell her. Of all the times she was mad at me, I knew at that moment that I had been busted and I knew exactly what she was talking about. My life flashed before my eyes as I knew divorce was in my future. She said she had lost all trust in me. I tried to explain that just because I lied about dipping, it didn’t mean I would lie about cheating on her or anything else important like that. She wasn’t convinced. Of course, I resolved to quit dipping from that day on. It helped that she made me take her to my office and show her where all my dip and spit cups were so she could throw them out. Things were especially rough in the marriage for a week or so, but amazingly, after a couple of weeks, they seemed to get better. And I don’t even recall having that much of a problem quitting the dip, since I was more concerned about saving my marriage.

About a month into my quit, while complaining about missing my dip, my wife just told me she didn’t care what I did anymore….it was my body and I could dip if I wanted, just not to do it around her. Panic time. I had made the mistake of quitting for my wife and my marriage, and not for myself. Now those first two reasons were no longer valid, but I didn’t want to be a dipper any more. I did a search online and found killthecan.org as you all have done, and read all of the articles. I felt that these people were people with whom I could relate. I stepped into the chat room and was bombarded by people I would come to know very well. They were telling me to get registered and join a quit group. It had been a while since I had chatted online, and it was a little over my head, but I managed to figure it out and joined the January 07 quit group. Plus I spent a lot of time from there on out in the chat room. I knew from that point on that I was quitting for myself.

Things seemed to be going pretty well at home. I had went cold turkey in my quit, but I started “dipping” tea from tea bags. After hearing about it from people in chat, I started using non-tobacco snuff. A little backsliding, I felt, but better than using the real thing. Then, on November 12, 2006, or 43 days into my quit, my life fell apart. My wife told me she wanted a divorce. She had threatened it many times in the past, but we had always worked things out. I was the type that would never even want to use the “D-word.” That day is still a blur to me, but evidently I told her if she wanted a divorce I wasn’t going to fight her on it anymore. Within two hours she was going through the house making a list of what she wanted and what I wanted. By that evening, she was nagging me to go to the office and type up the dissolution paperwork for us to sign and file. On November 11, I had thought our marriage was just fine again, and I loved her with all my heart and thought she loved me. By December 18, our marriage was legally ended. The woman I had left my church and my family for just decided she didn’t love me anymore.

As you can imagine, when I was at the office typing up our separation agreement, my first, second, third, and fourth thoughts were to run to the store and pick up several cans of snuff and return to dipping right away. Thankfully, about two weeks earlier I had joined QS and I shared my problems with my new friends, both on the boards and in chat. They managed not only to keep me dip-free, but also helped me to stay somewhat sane throughout my marital difficulties. To tell the truth, I wasn’t really in danger of caving throughout most of this time up to this point. Yes, there was the little crave to dip, but especially after I started using the fake dip, I didn’t feel the need for the real stuff. The real benefit I got from QS was the new friends I had made with whom I could share my life’s troubles.

Then somewhere around day 70, it seemed like all the dip cravings I had somehow avoided or put off hit me with a vengeance. I don’t want to get into the specifics here, but my wife and I had gotten into a really big argument that morning. I just had this overwhelming feeling that nothing in my life was normal anymore. I came into chat and did something I had never done before and never thought I would do. I actually typed something to the effect of saying that I was giving up my quit and going to go get some Copenhagen, because throughout all of my adult life only Copenhagen had been a constant. I needed something in my life that felt “familiar.“ Everyone else either died, moved away, changed or otherwise left me. Everyone in chat was at first skeptical, then realized I was serious. They tried to talk some sense into me, argued with me, and begged me to call them. Though I had made several friends on QS, most of them did not have my phone number. I left chat still thinking that I was going to just give up and cave. My mind was in the worst fog ever, and I could not concentrate and get any work done. I didn’t even answer my office phone. I wasn’t about to call any of the people that had e-mailed me their phone number, because I didn’t think I could talk to them without crying, and by god, I didn’t want my new friends to see what a baby I was. I stayed away from QS the rest of that day and most of the next day. I did not dip the first day, because I had posted roll and thereby had made a promise for that day and did not want to break that promise. The second day, I did not post roll, because I decided that if I dipped, I wasn’t going to be a liar to my quit group. In my state, I also thought that maybe the reason I was in such a fog was that I had spent TOO much time on the site, and was obsessed with the quit. All of this was the wrong reaction. Then out of the blue that evening, while looking at the boards and reading the concerned e-mails, but not posting anything or responding to anyone, I got a call on my cell phone from an unrecognizable number. I picked it up and answered it. Turned out to be Chewie, one of the best-known members of QS. At some point, I had given him my number, I guess. He had heard what I was going through, and called me. He talked some sense in me. He gave me the courage to call some of the numbers I had gotten and reply to some of the e-mails and talk to my quit brothers. That evening, probably around 11:00 pm, I posted roll, and explained to my quit group what I had gone through the last couple of days. They, of course, proceeded to rip me apart for doing such a stupid thing. Since that day, though, I have not only used the phone to ask for help from others, but also given out my number to anyone that might need help, with their quit or with anything else.

I still had some lesser problems after those couple of days. December 18 was not only my 45th birthday, but also the day of my final divorce hearing. Not a fun day. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I spent alone with no wife and no family. Also not fun days. New Years Eve…you guessed it…no fun. The thing is, I’m just having a hard time adjusting to single life again. Although my wife had evidently thought about divorce long before she ever found my hidden dip can, being suddenly single again was all new to me. Right now, I’m trying to get used to the single life again, and get back into dating, as the guys in the chat room are aware. But somehow during these 100 days, and especially the last 60 days, I have managed to keep tobacco out of my mouth, thanks to the information I have learned from this site, and the people who have talked sense to me when I needed to hear it.

While trying to decide what to write in my speech, I first thought about some kind of legal theme, sort of what you‘d expect from a lawyer. But another well-known member of QS named Rodeo Timer recently mentioned me in his HOF speech and called me the toughest SOB he had ever seen in the boards. That blew my mind, because I just thought that if he could see me crying, talking to myself, pacing the house, shaking, waking up in the middle of the night, unable to eat, unable to concentrate….well, not a picture of a tough guy, in my opinion. But then again, I did manage to remain dip-free throughout all this, so I guess I might be tougher than I thought. So I decided to go into more detail on what my life has been like these 100 days, so that if someone out there is afraid to stop dipping or thinking of caving because things seem too tough for them, well, maybe they will gain strength in my experiences.

I recently saw the new Rocky Balboa movie and there was a scene which really struck a nerve with me, and I think it applies to each of our quits. In it, Rocky is talking to his son and says

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”

Fellow quitters, and potential quitters, life is NOT all rainbows and sunshine. There are always going to be problems that come along. You cannot put off quitting until things are perfect, because they will never be perfect. And you cannot allow yourself to cave, just because a problem comes along you weren’t expecting. Life, or in our case, tobacco, would like to beat us down to our knees and keep us there. As we quitters know, nothing can seem to hit us quite as hard as a nicotine crave. But we have to be strong and take the hits that life gives us and keep moving forward, keep getting one more minute, one more hour, one more day under our belts without using tobacco. That’s how winning is done. We cannot point fingers or make excuses why we cannot quit and stay quit. Cowards do that, not us. We’re better than that.

I would like to thank all of the Jan ‘007 Licensed to Quit members, for accepting me into their group even though I joined QS about 30 some days after I actually quit. Sorry I wasn‘t here to go through the initial agony of those first few days with you, but I feel that I have bonded with many of you just the same. Also, thank you for putting up with my inane ramblings on such topics as whether a penguin with Santa’s head on a stick can get through a revolving door. I especially want to thank 6string for being like the rabbit at the greyhound racetrack, always just a step out of my reach, motivating me to try harder; Redgoose, for being the dog chasing me that I can never let catch me; SplinterCell, for letting me ramble on the phone to him about my problems; Mikey, for appreciating my posts and my jokes; GeoMan, JosephA, Matt30, Fadowdow, and all the rest of the Jan ‘007 agents.

I want to thank FranPro, for being my constant companion in chat, a good friend and drinking buddy; Shoot2Kill and mjordan, for helping me to post roll that first day; Bill, for showing me that even people with less quit days than you can still help you out in rough spots; sbtzc, for seeing past the quit and helping me with some depression issues; Gi Kea, for probably the most memorable avatar – whenever I think of dipping now, I see that stupid storm trooper in my mind; Rodeo Timer, for thinking I was tough when I was really such a basket case; Hank, jmr, 20yr, Snuggles, Dude, 7iron, Eutychus, QuittinTime, RC, and all the rest of the people I‘ve spent time with either in chat or on the boards.

I want to thank Chewie, for the reasons mentioned above. You didn’t really know me that well, but you may have saved my life, if not my sanity. You’ve also called to check up on me from time to time since then, which I appreciate. And I know you do the same for untold numbers of other quitters on QS, both 2 and X.

Thanks to Gum for being a motivator, having given up drinking, nicotine, viewing pornography, and cursing all in one day. He was the first to e-mail me, and I thought if he can tackle all of these demons at once (many of which I would like to tackle someday), surely I could tackle just the nicotine.

I want to thank Bluesman, whom I’ve never spoken to, but whose article connected with so many people, including myself, and who actually gives us attorneys a good name.

All of you other smokeless quitters have become my support system, including many I have not named here. I feel some of you have provided the moral guidance I have missed in my life. Some of you I feel almost closer to than I ever felt to my actual family. All of you make up some wonderful town with no borders, filled with the most helpful and friendly and, yes, funny people I could ever hope to have as neighbors. This is a good place to live, certainly better than Dipville.

Believe it or not, I also want to thank my ex-wife, for finally finding my hidden can of dip and forcing me to quit. You will never have the opportunity to read this and no one will ever tell you, but I’m sorry I lied to you all those years about the fact that I had started dipping again. Because of you, I quit for the first 40 days or so, because I wanted to save our marriage. I just made the mistake of thinking dip and lying about it was the only thing wrong in the marriage. After you told me you wanted out of the marriage, I was forced to discover the real reason why I was quitting and why I should be quitting…for myself, not you or anyone else.

And thanks to my English bulldog, Killer, for listening to me ramble during my quit and marital problems and never complaining about it, and for being so damn funny that it’s hard to stay depressed for long around him.

Finally, thanks to myself. That’s right, me. Because no one could ever quit for me. I had to do it myself. I had to suffer through the pain. Yes, you people on QS have helped me tremendously, but in the end, it all came down to me versus the can. And so far, I’m winning.

Jim aka Killerattorney

Hall of Fame inductee on January 8, 2007

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

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