I’m posting this about an hour and a half early, but I’m headed to bed and I had to get this out before I did.
100 days ago, I quit nicotine for life.
I quit adding to the risk of cancer (my biological father died of it). I quit needing a substance to maintain my level of happiness or alertness or whatever the reason I was clinging to at the time. I quit hating myself for an addiction I told myself I couldn’t control.
I quit making excuses.
In the middle of March of 2020, I quit.
It’s now been almost 3 and a half months since I’ve put that poison in my system, and the monkey is off of my back. It isn’t gone – nor will it ever be – but most of the time it maintains a healthy, respectful distance behind me. It’s waiting for me to trip, to alter my course, to turn around and look at it hopefully, and the second I do any of those things it’s ready to hop back up there and go for another ride.
It’s been a hard few months. I struggled with withdrawal, with weight gain as a result of quitting (I would eat during times I would normally have been ingesting poison and I’m pretty heavy right now because of it), with aches in my gums where I used to plug in the poison. But I found Kill The Can and was challenged to make it through the first 100 days. Every day I woke up and logged on and promised you all NNT – No Nicotine Today. I promised NAFAR – Never Again For Any Reason. I told my fellow quitters (especially my fellow Renegades of Quit and our daily support team of veteran quitters) that I am PTBQWYT – Proud To Be Quit With You Today. We reminded each other that it’s ODAAT – One Day At A Time. And every day, we got one more day farther away from it.
I’m not proud of the fact that I used to smoke, used to dip, and used to abuse patches and nicotine gum. I used to blame the Navy for those habits but the Navy didn’t force a cigarette into my mouth nor a plug into my cheek. It was incredibly hard for me to admit any of those things publicly, but accountability is one of the best checks on your demons, whatever they may be, and public accountability is the hardest but most reliable. So along with my HOF speech today, I’m also revealing my addiction to my entire extended friends and family.
I’ll always be an addict, but I won’t be a slave to it anymore. That part of my life is over and now I’m focusing on getting healthier in other ways. I’m still in the support group and always will be (one day I hope to make it to the “comma club” – quitters whose days since quit count has a comma in it). But hopefully I live longer for my family and spend a heck of a lot less money on things only designed to entrap and poison me. I live a more productive, better version of myself. I live a smarter version of myself. I live a more open and honest version of myself, not afraid of the secret I’m hiding. But most of all?
Special thanks to my biggest supporters outside of the Renegades – @Keith0617 for checking with me EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. – there are days I would have completely forgotten were it not for his WUPP texts. @MuleMan for checking in and constantly supporting me in text and daily WUPPs. Matthew (@GS9502) for being the first to notice if I was late a couple of times. And all of the other members of this community. You were what I needed when I needed it, and I thank you all.