2006 HOF Speeches

Life of a Recovering Hagen Junkie – Closet Redneck Addict

Hagen Junkie avatarLet me start by saying that I do not have the ‘be-all, end-all’ magic formula for quitting as no single quit strategy will work for everyone. The best chance for making this quit last is to have as many resources, tools and supports set up around you during your quit to help give you the best possible opportunity for success.

What I present here is what it has taken for me to get where I am today in my quit…250 days and counting!

What has helped me make this quit stick is that I took the advice of many of the vets and followed the SpongeBob Mantra making my quit THE most important thing in my life. If the only thing that got accomplished at work during the day was keeping the crap out of my mouth, I knew I had achieved my goal. My priority was my quit, not my job. I took the view that “I can always find another job, but I cannot find another lip, jaw or life”.

I carried a copy of the Reply from Jenny Kern everywhere I went for the first 100 days of my quit. Every time I had a crave or thought about caving I pulled this letter out and read it. By the time I was done reading it, the crave was gone and my resolve to remain quit was restored. It is not an easy read but it was highly effective for me and I thank Jenny Kern for sharing her story with all of us in the QS community.

One of the biggest differences from this quit and all priors is that this is the first one where I knew that there were so many other closet dippers out there in the same or similar boat that I was in and knowing that I was not the ‘ONLY’ closet dipper has made a tremendous difference! I mention being a closet dipper because I don’t want anyone to think they are alone here…we are all over the place.

As a closet dipper, when it comes to getting ‘busted’ by the wife, I can relate to what you and your wife have been through in the past and what you are going through right now.

I openly dipped from age 12 to 25 until I met my wife, and then went into the closet where I was a 2-can a day addict to ‘copendookie’, my ‘Redneck Crack’ of choice. I am now 35, have been married almost 10 years and have a 4 year old son. Throughout my 9+ years of marriage I’ve been busted dipping 4 times by my wife. Each time I got caught, I promised and swore upon anything and everything to her that this quit would be the last…we all know how that goes. When the dust settled after a month or two, I would allow myself to have a ‘reward dip’ for going so long without it. You know, just one more for old times sake…I can handle it. Sure enough, within a week I would be right back to my 2 can a day addiction. Continuously killing myself was some reward, huh?

250 days ago my wife caught me for the 4th and final time on 4/1/06. I spent the next week contemplating how in the world I would ever make this quit my last and final quit. I stumbled upon QS1 late one evening and immediately learned why I had failed in so many previous quit attempts, and like so many, I had hundreds of failed attempts prior to this. The answer was right there in front of me but for whatever reason, I never saw or wanted to see it until the day I found QS1. I had always quit for someone or something else besides myself and when I caved, I had that someone or something else to blame. This time, MY quit is 100% on ME and nobody else…had to quit for MYSELF.

My wife was furious when she busted me. I mean absolutely friggin’ pissed off. It had been 2 ½ years since the last time I was caught so all the trust that had been rebuilt just crumbled to pieces. She said she could not and would not put up with the lies and deception any longer and I really thought that this was the end of us. I did not want it to be, but I sensed that she did. Thankfully, we never once discussed divorce outright because it most likely would have happened. She just said she didn’t want to raise our son with someone who may not be around 3, 5, 7, 10 years down the road…which I completely understand and respect.

Needless to say, for the first time in my life, on 4/8/06 I quit dipping for MYSELF. The first month or so of my quit was doubly difficult because my wife was extremely skeptical about this quit. Every day I told her what day I was on and tried to discuss my quit with her but she kept saying, ‘why should this time be any different than the others’. I’m sure you’ve heard these types of little jabs too…they’re not exactly the most encouraging words a recovering nic addict can hear, especially while buried deep in the dense fog early in their quit.

Around 50 days into my quit, my wife started to believe that there was actually a glimmer of hope that this quit may be for real. As each day passed, she became more and more supportive and really got behind me in this quit. Although she remains cautious and skeptical even today, she is still supportive. I have knowingly lied to her more times than I ever care to count and many deceptive schemes had been meticulously calculated to hide my embarrassing addiction…she has earned the right to be cautious and skeptical. I still get that distrusting eye occasionally, especially when I do something that appears to her to be one of my old tricks. I have to recognize and accept her reactions when she questions me over some suspicious behavior like working late, staying up after she goes to bed or going to the store.

The questioning still occurs but not nearly as frequently. Now that she has witnessed first-hand my commitment to MY quit for the past 250 days, she has loosened the reigns somewhat and developed a bit more trust. The broken trust will not be restored overnight and I am fully aware of that. I don’t know how long it will take to rebuild it, but since I am 100% responsible for breaking it, I will never give up trying to restore it.

Quitting dip is very difficult… probably the most difficult thing an addict will ever do. When things get tough, going back to dipping would be the easy way out. Likewise, making a marriage work is very difficult too. When things get tough, divorce would be the easy way out.

As a quitter, you are not taking the easy way out with your quit by caving, so don’t take the easy way out with you marriage by getting a divorce.

I ask that you and your spouse not give up on your marriage so quickly. The same way you found this site for support and accountability for your quit, find the resources and support necessary and exhaust all possible solutions before giving consideration to throwing away your marriage. I highly recommend that you give your marriage the same level of commitment that you give to your quit, especially if there are any children involved…there is just too much history there to throw away.

Realize that regaining your wife’s trust will not happen overnight. It took time to build it up and now it has been shattered. It will take one day at a time to rebuild it.

To help my wife gain more trust in me, I have opened up and told here everything…the good, the bad, and the ugly. I showed her every hiding place ever used. Told her every possible secret I had and every excuse that I have ever used for getting away to dip. Fessed up to every lie I ever told. Opened myself up for her to ask ANY questions she wanted to ask…not just then, but even now if she thinks of something else to ask. I told her that if we missed anything during our ‘put everything on the table and hold nothing back’ conversation, I would let her know about it…mainly because you cannot think of everything to tell her during the first conversation. I told her that in time, everything would come out.

I’ve shared the QS community with her so that she can see what it was all about. She was skeptical about it at first…”you’re spending too much time on that site”. But when I shared it with her and showed her what it was all about, she realized how beneficial it really is…another level of support and accountability, with people who are, or have experienced what I was going through.

Most importantly, I asked her to forgive me for breaking the trust. I told her that I did not expect overnight forgiveness…just as the trust would take time to rebuild, her forgiveness would take time as well.

For what it’s worth, even at day 250 I still have to deal with some trust issues from my wife. She actually questioned me going to the store on Thanksgiving Day to get a 2-liter of soda…I just told her I now had a Coke habit to support! All kidding aside, she’s been burned by me enough times that she still keeps her guard up. It is not vindictive, it is not resentful, it is just plain accountability…which I have learned to appreciate and no longer despise her questioning. I firmly believe that just as my quit gets stronger for every day that goes by, my marriage gets stronger too!

I would be re-missed if I did not mention Bluesman’s “The Secret of Our Success” and how inspirational it has been. I literally thought he was describing me as I read it for the first time. It gave me the courage to let the demon out of the closet with my family, friends and co-workers. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, but it was also one of the single-most incredible stress relievers when I finally kicked the beast out of the closet. After I came clean with everyone, I had many supporters. My boss even knew about my priorities, quit first, work 2nd…and he supported it! My wife has been the most difficult to convince that this was THE last quit. She thought it was like all the previous times she caught me and I said I was quitting…again. It took some time to prove it to her and many trust building exercises, but now my wife is my BIGGEST supporter!

Believe me when I tell you, this has been THE most difficult thing I have ever done in my entire 35 years of life. Do I wish that I never started dipping some 23 years ago, absolutely. But I do not dwell on it because I cannot change the past. I am learning from the single biggest mistake I have ever made in my life and I am making conscious decisions to ensure that I never make this same mistake again.

The things we were willing to sacrifice to keep our addiction alive, are the same things we must be willing to sacrifice to keep our quits alive. You have to be willing to sacrifice anything and everything to regain your freedom from this addiction and to take your life back…and I promise you, it will be worth it!

Take care, and best of luck to you and your quit.

Hagen Junkie

Quit Date: 4/08/06
HOF Date: 7/17/06

Thank you to those who have had an impact on me and my quit: All of my brothers in Team Independence; especially 7iron and DoneDying for leading the way and WhoDey and VikeFan pushing us through! Rem, Al, 2many, QT, Cliffy (R.I.P. brother), Rutroh, Sno, Gum, Penguin, Capt. Kirk, OutdoorTexan, Matt Van Wyk, Flav, Rayne, danoj, FranPro and everyone at QS1, QS2 and QS3, thank you for all your help and support as well!

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member Hagen Junkie

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