I stated in my introduction post back on May 11 that I have a lot to say. I also stated that I would get around to saying it in my Hall of Fame speech, which I vowed I would make. Here it is.
I wasn’t even a teenager yet. My grandfather, my dad, and I were fishing. My dad pulled out a can of Skoal long cut wintergreen, and packed his lip. I asked him if I could have some, and he held the can while I got a pinch. I loved the flavor. I loved the burn. I loved the idea that I was just like my dad. So my journey began.
I don’t recall having another dip for some time. But I remembered that first time. And by the time I was 13 years old, I was sneaking my grandfather’s chewing tobacco on hunting trips. When I was that age, the law still allowed for a kid to buy tobacco products. So my buddies and I would buy cigarettes and dip. By the time I was 17 years old, I was hooked. I was a nicotine addict. I would spend the next 17 years fighting the addiction, only the addiction was winning.
I managed one good quit during that time, when my daughter was born. She was born in August of 2002, and I quit until October of 2003. When the 2003 hunting season rolled around, I fooled myself into thinking that I could have “just one can” on opening weekend. I still didn’t understand what it meant to be an addict, a recovering addict. There is no such thing as “just one dip”, or “just one can”. As an addict, one will lead to God only knows how many. I didn’t quit dipping again until May of 2009.
In April of this year I met Outdoortexan on a hunting, fishing, and outdoors web site. I learned that he was an oral cancer survivor. I went to his links and read his story, and looked at his pictures. It scared the hell out of me. He seemed like a good dude. As I got to know him a bit through our postings, I began feeling a responsibility to him. At this point, he didn’t even know that I dipped. But I knew. I felt like a jackass being a friend to a man that has fought oral cancer, knowing myself that I was a dipper.
So, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, I poured two cans of dip into the toilet and flushed it. I then swept the house, my truck, and my shop, looking for any signs that I was a dipper. Old cans, spitters, everything I found went into the garbage. I was quit. I don’t remember what day it was, within a day or two of quitting I guess, I sent ODT a message, telling him that I was a dipper, and I was trying to quit. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on me, maybe giving me some support. He replied, congratulating me on the decision to quit. He told me that he would gladly support my quit. And he referred me to this web site called KillTheCan.org. He briefly explained the concept of KTC to me. I came to the site, and immediately joined on May 4, 2009. It was the best decision I could have possibly made for my quit. I had a PM from Chewie in short order, welcoming me, and giving me helpful links on how things worked here.
I took the instructions given by Chewie seriously. I posted my first roll call that day, May 4, and I have never looked back. I have posted roll EVERY DAY.
Wow, I just looked back at my first few days of posting roll. I didn’t realize how huge of a fog I was in back then, until now. I had guys posting support and welcoming me, guys that I don’t remember. Those days are surreal to me now. I am glad those times are over with, never to be lived again.
Now you know my history. I have alluded to my first order of business in the last paragraph. I want to apologize to the veterans that supported me, and my August brothers that supported me, that I might have blown off during those early days of my quit.
Thanks to my wife, who has put up with this horrible addiction throughout our entire marriage. I’m so sorry I didn’t quit sooner. I will print a copy of this speech for you to save for our kids. One day in the future, when they are impressionable teenagers, we should let them read this, just so they know how incredibly difficult a nicotine addiction is to beat.
There are many quitters here that have supported my quit. Chewie, thanks for the welcome that first day. You got me on my way. Mule, Smokeyg, the PM’s in my second week really were instrumental in helping me understand some things about my quit, thank you.
Jaydisco and Kodiak Killer, my “quit buddies”. I don’t think I could have ended up with better quit buddies, and I would not have made it through this without the two of you. You guys answered every phone call, and returned every PM and text message. It was nice knowing I had you two watching my back. You guys saved my quit more times than you know. ‘disco, I think you talked to me for an hour one day while I was driving home from Shreveport. I didn’t ask you to stay on the phone. We were just two buddies shooting the shit. But you saved my quit that afternoon. KK, I respect you immensely. You bounced back after your cave, and you have been hardcore ever since. You have certainly earned my respect. I’ll quit with you any day bro. Nogreenbear, thanks for keeping your eye on me and encouraging me in my quit. To the rest of my August brothers that have survived this journey to the HOF, you have all been awesome quit brothers, and I’ve got your backs anytime fellas. There are some of you guys that I regret not getting to know better. We’ll have to work on that.
Thanks to the July HOF class of 2009. Many of you guys supported the hell out of August, so thanks for kicking our asses and leading us to where we are. Special thanks to Glenn “FtheKodiak”…..I don’t give a damn what anyone says, you are a damn fine quitter, and I appreciate your support. DeanTheCoot…..you have been the smart-assed comic relief we all need, and you are a badass quitter.
The veterans of this fine site have been awesome. I could not have done this without your support. I respect all of you a great deal, and I appreciate you all showing me how to quit, and stay quit. The list of “thank yous” in this category could go on for a long time. I have read so much on this site that has helped my quit. Thank you for posting support for the August group, and thanks to those of you that have PM’ed me and kept me going, you know who you are. Thanks to the Admins and Mods of this site. Thank you all.
And last, but certainly not least, Outdoortexan. Curtis, I feel as if I owe you my life. Actually being able to say that I have a friend that survived oral cancer changed everything. You are first on the list of people that I do not want to let down. I could not stand to face you and tell you that I caved. Caving is just not an option. Not this time. Thank you ODT. I look forward to shaking your hand one of these days.
If you are reading this, and you haven’t quit yet, please listen. Every quitter has the welcome mat rolled out for them when they come here for help. There is a plan laid out before you here on this web site that will help you quit, and stay quit. Open your minds, and listen. Quitting is a tough commitment. Everyone here just wants to help you, but you are expected to take this seriously. If you follow the plan, it will work. Get busy quitting and quitting right, or keep spinning the cylinder and putting the barrel in your mouth; it’s your choice to make. But if you choose to quit here, just know that you will be held accountable. This is your life we are talking about here. No more being a slave to that damn can. No more paying a tobacco company to kill you slowly. I want you to live, and so does everyone else on this site that is trying to help you.
Why do we quit? We all quit for mostly the same reasons, and there is a list of reasons, to be sure. But there is not one good reason for any of us to ever put that shit in our pieholes ever again. There is no acceptable excuse for caving. You’ve either got the balls to be a quitter, or you are weak. Plain and simple. I know where I stand. How about you?
My August quit brother livin said something in a post a couple of weeks ago that has stuck with me. He said, “In some ways it’s been a short trip down a long road”. How right you are, brother. Although this first 100 days seemed short in some ways, this is actually a life-long trip down a never-ending road, for we are addicts. But we are also quitters, and I will walk down this road every day for the rest of my life, and I will survive the trip because I have my brothers at my side.
Day 100 – I am quit