It is a miracle that I am here to write this speech. 30 years of chewing tobacco and using nicotine. People have used tobacco for much shorter periods of time than me and paid the ultimate price. I chewed tobacco as close to 24 hours a day as possible. Yes, I went to sleep with a dip in. Yes, I ate with a dip in. It never left my mouth. I quit many times before for short periods of time but then I would return to nicotine in one form or another and that would eventually lead back to chewing tobacco. I really don’t remember too much of my life without tobacco.
I am writing this speech specifically for people that are struggling with their quit and are reading HOF speeches to help them stay quit. The fact that the internet played the most significant roll in my final quit is very ironic. I absolutely hate the internet. I hate face book. I hate twitter. I hate email. I hate it all. I absolutely refused to go on chat. Now don’t get me wrong. If the chat room works for you, I think that is awesome. However, that was not for me. The two things on this site that were absolutely essential to my quit were in this order.
- Posting every day. For me there was absolutely no excuse. There was no reason for me not to get on the computer and make the promise to myself and my brothers. I found comfort in going to roll call and seeing names of people going through the same battle I was.
- I read HOF speeches. It made me realize that I was not the only person with this addiction. So many stories were just like mine. I never realized there were so many chew ninjas. I bet in the first month of my quit I read every speech. I came to understand that if these people made it, I could also.
I vowed that when I made it to the HOF I would write a speech in hopes that 1 future quitter would read it and the speech would help them the way that so many other speeches helped me.
Now the next thing I am going to write goes against much of what I have read but it absolutely worked for me. I set a quit date. Feb. 6, 2011. Super Bowl Sunday. I prepared for my quit by buying HOOCH and having it for the quit day. I bought my last can of chew Friday, Feb. 4 and took my last chew Saturday, Feb. 5 at 11:00 pm. God, that first day was hard. I will never go through it again. Monday, Feb. 7 I found this site. Chewie helped me sign up and I posted day 2. I am convinced that I would have never made it without this site.
Without a doubt quitting has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I have lost sleep. My emotions have gone out of control. Around day 50 I was hit hard by a depression that I did not realize could exist. I felt worthless as a husband, a father, a teacher, a coach, and as a person. I have never experienced anything like that in my life. Without this site I would not have realized that it was all part of the process. The veterans all warned that the funk was coming but I refused to believe it would happen to me until it hit. Dark, dark, dark days. I don’t wish it on anyone and I know it doesn’t happen to everyone but if it does hit you deal with it. Chew won’t make it better. What will make it better is time. From day 60 on have been the best days for me. It is hard to explain why but I will try. For the first time in a long time I am proud of myself. As the HOF got closer, I began to realize that without a doubt I was going to make it. Nicotine doesn’t own me any longer and as long as I refuse to use it will get better.
I think it is also important that I let you know a tool that I used in my quit was Hooch Spitfire. I have used it daily. Only a person that has chewed tobacco would understand what I am about to say. It looks like chew. It feels like chew. It spits like chew. Without the nicotine it is missing what had me hooked to tobacco. My use of Hooch has decreased greatly and I believe there will come a time when I walk away from it without much difficulty. I don’t know when that day will be but I am not going to worry about that yet.
It would be wrong to write this speech without giving thanks. The veterans on this site are amazing. You have saved so many people including myself. I am at a loss of words to express how I feel towards the people that run this site and take the time to help people that they know only by a screen name. This is really the only way I can show my gratitude. I am quit because of you and I will stay quit in honor of you.
Secondly, it became obvious to me early on that many people on this site are either active military or retired military. It has been an honor to quit with you. Thank you for everything you do.
Lastly, thanks to all my May brothers on the short bus. Seeing you post every day helped me more than you will ever know.
It seems like I should also thank my family. In reality all I can say to them is I am sorry that I was such an addict for so long. I put my life at risk needlessly. I selfishly spent over 20,000 dollars using tobacco. I don’t know if I will be able to make it up to them but I will try.
For those of you reading this that are considering quitting or are in the midst of the misery of the first few weeks, this is what I can tell you worked for me.
- Post roll like your life depends on it because it does.
- Keep your word to yourself and your quit group.
- Early on eliminate as much temptation as is possible. I didn’t leave the house with enough cash for a tin for two months. I didn’t go inside a convenience store for a long time.
- If you are a ninja you need to come clean with your family and let them know you are quitting (AGAIN). They won’t believe you but that is okay.
- Don’t worry about being quit forever. You are quit for today because you posted roll and made the promise.
- Remember you are not alone. This site is full of people just like you. We are all struggling. I believe it is easier for those guys with the big quit numbers but they have earned that. What I know is that the first three days were rough. There were some terrible days in the 50’s for me. There might be rough days ahead but chew won’t help me get through them.
- The people on the site that have made it to the HOF and beyond are not different than you. We have been addicted for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years or more. Not one person who has been through this will say it was easy. I have not seen anywhere on this site where someone regrets quitting. There are many examples of people who regret caving.
- Caving is weakness. You are stronger every day but understand your addiction is always close.
- Do whatever you must to stay quit. Gum, Seeds, Fireballs, Candy, and Fake. Deal with what that creates later.
- Give yourself credit for your accomplishment. Every night when you go to bed, pat yourself on the back. You didn’t use tobacco and that is a big deal.
- Value your quit. Every day is a building block. Think about how hard it has been to get to your current number. Do you really want to go back to day one?
- Print the contract to give up and put it in your wallet. When you are on the verge of caving (and you will be there) read it and try to sign it. This act saved me a couple of times.
- This site is full of people that want you to be quit. They will not always be nice but they do want you to succeed. They have been where you are. They know quitting is hard. They are examples that it is possible. I am quit. You can be quit.
This is my HOF speech. It is not very different from others but I think that is what makes it strong. If you are reading this and you are quit, congratulations. If you are reading this and thinking about starting the process of being quit, make the first step and post roll. The journey you are about to take is not easy. It is not for the weak. However, it is not impossible. Examples of success are everywhere on this site. The scariest thing about this speech is the finality of it. My quit is a daily battle and will be for the rest of my life. I look forward to other milestones. Day 200, 1 year, day 1,000. I will get there one day at a time. I would like to end my speech with something I read in a HOF speech by Chewie.
Do I remember my life as a chewer? I do.
Do I still crave? I do.
Will I ever dip again? I cannot say.
Will I dip today? I will not.
This addiction will always be with me. The only thing I know is that I will not chew today.
Quit date 2/6/11