2009 HOF Speeches

One More Quit Story

Rawaldem avatarI am not sure what I can say that has not already been said better than my limited literary skills will allow. I will tell my story and share a few things I learned in the last 100 days in an effort to help others from making the same mistakes I have.

I consider my story a cautionary tail with an unwritten ending.

I stole my first can of Jokenhagen from my Grandfather when I was 5 years old. My older brother and I would chew whilst (JPC) sitting in our tree fort. I did not become a full fledge addict until I was 12 years old, back then there were no age limits so I would just ride my bike over to the store a get my fix. I chewed a can a day until I was 25 years old. I was only in my mid 20’s and I had been addicted over half of my life. I had some medical concerns that brought about a bit of a revelation in which I decided that tobacco just did not fit into my future plans.
I quit cold turkey. I considered that first week the most difficult of my life to that point. I considered my first quit so difficult that I used it as my motivation to never start again. It was simply so horrible that I never wanted to put myself through that again.

I was over 7 years quit, that’s over 2555 days quit. I decided for no apparent reason one night that I had earned a dip (idiot), I mean I could not possibly still be addicted to it right?(idiot) I could handle just one pinch,(idiot) I mean what could it hurt?(idiot) Shockingly I liked it, I liked it a lot. So much so that I decided I would finish the can. I then figured what the hell I would just chew for the rest of the week and so on. The speed and ease that I re-establishing my can a day habit was almost impressive. It was like I had never stopped. I did not feel any sort of guilt or shame at that point because I convinced myself that I was not addicted. I only did it because I liked it and I honestly believed I could stop anytime. Plus I knew I had quit before so I could do it again. I stuck to that story for another 3 years.

I stumbled upon KTC on accident. I was looking for some fake chew to help me to ‘slow down’ and was forwarded to this website to claim my coupon. I had reached a point of frustration because of so many failed attempts to quit and I was willing to try anything. I had lost all credibility with my family due to so many lies, hiding and sneaking and broken promises in my multiple failed quits. I had a hard time looking my kids in the eyes because I was so ashamed of my addiction that I saw as weakness. I knew this story only ends one of two ways, quit or cancer. I started reading some of the information and stories and decided it was time. I ordered a sampler pack of Hooch and Smokey Mountain and off I went.

Addiction is a horrible thing. Addiction has a way of making you forget even the worst of things and the hardest of times. It can help you to justify almost anything. It can help you to rationalize almost anything. It can make you lie to people you love. It can make you compromise your principals. It can make you betray friends, family and mostly yourself. Addiction makes you blind or at a minimum makes you have selective vision to reality. Addiction is ruthless and the worst thing is it never, ever goes away.

Thanks to KTC and the people here, I have learned a lot about myself and my addiction. I learned that how much I used, how long I used, what kind I used and all of those types of details do not really matter.
The only fact that means anything is that I am now and always will be addicted to nicotine and that this is a battle to the death that I will have to fight one day at a time for the rest of my life.

The cautionary part of this story is the fact that I have been here before, quit and confident. 100 days is a drop in the bucket considering the length of my use and addiction. What I lacked before was the knowledge of the reality of this addiction and the support system of people who are/have/will be walking in my shoes. I have learned that we are all the same. From the most veteran of quitters to the person who is sitting in the chat room right now with a dip in their mouth thinking about “trying” to quit. We are all only one chew away from disaster. I am not better or worse that anyone, just quit for today. My opinion is that the reason I and so many others have failed is that we forget that fact.

I want to thank a few people who have either helped me with encouraging words and support or pissed me off so bad I had to pay attention to them, I needed both. Thank you to Hoss, CDForecheck, Gump, SCM, Coolcop, JPCrew, KDJet, SamCat, Greg40, 11X4 and Theo and thank you to FranPro and Chewie for giving me another chance. There are countless others that have impacted me in one way or the other but there are way to many to remember and list. I can not thank you all enough, you all helped me in different ways to save my own life. I also want to thank my wife for putting up with my lies and broken promises for all those years, you are the love of my life and I am so glad we do not have this between us anymore. Thank you for not leaving me during the first month of my quit.

I will never forget how hard all this is and I will never think I have this thing beat because I know how easy it is to fail. All I know is today I will not chew. As for tomorrow, well I will worry about that tomorrow.

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

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