My Life Belongs To Me!

btdogboy avatar“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

I first read this quote in college while skimming through his biography for a morsel upon which to write a paper without reading the entire book. Amazing how some things just stick in your head for your entire life. This quote, like a seed, has been growing and maturing into a full blown way of life for me. I’ve watched everyone, including me; use the God given gift of reason to justify things to their own demise. Dodging responsibility for the cause and effect of their own decisions and choices. “Everything happens for a reason.” I hear this all the time. I don’t buy it. I choose to re-arrange the words and say “There is a reason why everything happens.”

By the time I read this quote I was already a full-blown addict. I started teasing myself with leaf chew as a little-leaguer, intermittent experiments with the cousins and friends, until I finally managed to just make it a “way of life”. I never really mentally registered my addiction as a tangible thing. It never really was real … ? Confusing I know. I think this was the brain’s way of guarding my addiction from my ability to reason, “Why am I doing this”.

I never really meant to quit. That’s right! A real and true quit was never established prior to starting this process. As I have stated above, I was never addicted, it was just a way of life. I never allowed myself to analyze if I was addicted or not … It was like breathing … You just do it because you have to. Well, as I’ll explain, I found that I had an enormous addiction that found a way to hide from my ability to reason.

March 1, 2010: I’m driving to work on Monday, and enjoying my coffee. First I finish the coffee then I throw in the Copenhagen. Simple. Easy. Been doing it for years. Automatic. Don’t think just do what comes natural. Well NOT THAT DAY! My God given ability to reason stepped in and said wait a minute! Think this through! I sleep all night without waking for a chew. It’s not the first thing I do in the morning. In fact, between sleeping and getting ready for work, I would go about 8 hours straight without chew and I was fine? Was I really addicted? No way! I had been dipping Copenhagen for nearly 18 years straight and I still believed I chewed this shit out of my own free will.

I had a five minute wrestling match with my brain while holding that new can. My thumbnail was right at the paper ready to open. Had I opened that can I would still be chewing today. That moment in time changed my life. I pocketed the can and said I will wait until noon. At that very moment my brain screamed in horror as I pushed back. It took very little time to understand the power of my addiction. I made it to noon and decided to wait until I got home … wait until tomorrow … and so-on. I never called it quitting. I called it waiting. I never told anyone what I was doing in case it was too hard.

Day three I called Clampy (Best friend and future June HOF’er). Told him it had been three days and I wanted to die! He was so proud of me that he decided, that day, he would quit with me and we would help each other. He found this site. He did the research. He turned me onto the site. He helped me register. I joined on Day 8. Smartest thing I could have done.

April 30, 2010: btdogboy – 61 days quit. I wanted to include this post as it embodies my feelings of gratitude for this site, the supporters, and mostly the excellent June quitters whom toiled the journey with me:

“Funny thing, this KTC site. I have given my word to a group of strangers. Excluding Clampy I have never met any of you. Yet for some reason, my ability to stay accountable to you guys and keep my daily promise has come to be my daily affirmation as to the quality of my character. I quit for me! I stay quit for me! I will remain quit for me! But I make my promise to all of you and it means the world to me. I have no fear of the abusive nature of the written word. Should I cave, you would simply never hear from me again. What I fear is my ability to look in the mirror knowing I let everyone down. I fear having to tell myself that I am weak. I fear I would have to acknowledge my dependency. I fear giving up my freedom of choice!

How many of us initially kept this Quit a secret from people we encounter everyday just in case we could not do it. Rather we enlisted the support of total strangers. As it turns out this June group, these June supporters, and our promise to each other is just as powerful.

I’ve read that many of us kept this dirty little secret from the wife, kids, family, friends, co-workers. For some reason we could lie to the most important people in our lives in order to keep dipping. We did not fear the retribution from these people if we could not quit … yet I will not allow you guys to be quit better than me!

One day at a time is the only approach to quitting the addiction to nicotine. To view this as a challenge with a goal or a time frame is silly. But honor and integrity endure long past today. If I were to break my promise to you guys it would haunt me far past the 24th hour on the clock! I would have to live with the knowledge that I am not as strong as all of you, that you are better than me, that I lost and you won! Never!

I admire all of you that have made it this far because I know how bad it sucks! I know you are all men of character because you have kept your promise to me every time for XX-Days.

Peace … May the Quit be with you …”

In conclusion: I am free, I am proud, I am strong, and I am an addict,

btdogboy – 102 – I promise to the June Quitters that I will not use nicotine today!

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

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