After feeling wholly uninspired to write this speech, KTC great walterwhite posted in our group on the topic of HOF speeches. His post began with the words, “Your HOF speech might actually save a life!!” Suddenly I was inspired. All it took were the words of another quitter to help me find my own words.
And those first four sentences of this speech are the reason I have the distinct pleasure of putting down a few words that might save a life.
KTC is brotherhood and accountability. That’s the foundation. Always will be. But it is so much more. KTC is knowledge. KTC is powerful, meaningful voices. KTC is humor. KTC is an emotion dump if such a thing is necessary. KTC is an unrelenting ass whooping. KTC is a nicotine cessation pharmacy whose drug is people. Gorgeous, caring, unbelievably accepting people. And they were just like me.
I was alone for the better part of 20 years. I am blessed with a wife better than me in every possible way and two kids who have no idea I’m not all that likeable, but yet I was so very alone. I was trapped in a pair of progressive addictions that stole my money, my faith, my heart, my self-confidence, and my dreams. Alcoholism brought me here as much as nicotine, but they had both stolen so much from me. And nobody on Earth could possibly understand the person I hated so fiercely when I looked in the mirror. They just couldn’t express true empathy with somebody like me. And even when I came here and made it 84 days before caving, I never really allowed myself to believe that the people in this place could understand me, much less help me.
But if you are reading this and have the same doubts, there’s this really simple quote I read somewhere one time. It reads simply, “I believe in good people.” I challenge you to find better people than the strangers on this crazy forum with whom you will grow and change and cry and rant and experience what might be your life’s greatest accomplishment. It is mine. I never would have done this without these people. And that alone is a pretty powerful statement for ANY addict. We addicts don’t need help. We have everything covered. We’re perfectly content in our little straightjacket of unhappiness. Until we aren’t. And then we ask for help. And it’s the most empowering moment of our lives.
As I write this, I’m sitting at 110 days. I’ve never been truly happy in my adult life. Addiction and depression have weighed me down for more than two decades. I will not lie and say I’m suddenly the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I will not lie in my HOF speech. Fighting to stay clean of addiction is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and some days the exhaustion of your own mind might leave you with no other option than to just go to bed to keep that day’s promise, and you won’t realize until the next day that that decision gave you back one small piece of nicotine Kryptonite, but don’t ever be foolish enough to think happiness will come flooding back as addiction becomes difficult to see in the rearview. I can see glimpses of happiness, but after twenty years of killing myself, I’m still not really sure how to define or recognize happiness anyway.
I’ll say this about that happiness thing, though. There’s a difference between happiness and contentment. I’m happy with my decision to quit dipping and drinking. I’m content with my life. My family makes me happy. I am content with everything else. I know I am where I should be in my life. I am a teacher, a job I was meant to do. I find my wife and children to be the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. But life doesn’t make me smile just for the sake of smiling yet. But I believe it will soon. 110 days fighting addiction and I believe in something again. I’m even trying to dream again. I think that’s pretty good after 110 days. I’m content with that.
It’s the people at KTC that have helped me dream again. It’s the texts I send daily with so many people I refuse to name them for fear of leaving somebody out. It’s the friends I’ve made on this forum with guys I have never met who are better friends than those I’ve known my entire life. It’s the guys that stick around here after being clean for years just because they get high on life by helping people save their own life. If you’re reading this and you’re finally tired of yourself and your addiction, believe in people other than yourself. You’re an addict. You shouldn’t believe a damn word you say anyway. And trust me on this. If you’re a married man, I don’t care how ugly you might be and how much weight you’ll gain from all the sugar you’ll eat after you quit. Admitting you need help – and then accepting it – is one of the sexiest things you will EVER do in your marriage.
I don’t say it every day, but I say it a lot. I’ll look at myself in the mirror or I’ll be driving down the road and I’ll say, “Go be awesome today.” Fulfilling that demand would not be possible while enduring one active addiction, much less two. So if you’re reading this with a dip in your mouth, I am more awesomer than you. And you look and smell disgusting. I don’t because I’m awesomer than you. Nanny nanny boo boo.