It’s taken me quite a while to think about this but I suppose a HOF speech that is ninety-one days late is better than none.
Let’s start with a bit of philosophy. We were not designed to be controlled by nicotine. Thus, when it is in our bodies, we are under the influence of something alien, something foreign, an intruder, an enemy. And it truly is an enemy – destroying our health, our relationships, our families and our finances. As addicts to nicotine we are not only controlled by the foreign substance, we are also under the thumb of “big tobacco.” Those companies filled their pockets as nicotine invaded and emptied our lives.
This means that before quitting we were not ourselves. Most of us could not even remember what our lives were like before nicotine. We had allowed nicotine to reshape us. Nicotine had reconstructed our thought processes to the point where each time we fed the addiction we actually thought we were getting a boost of some sort to deal with life. In reality all we were doing was satisfying the nicotine habit. This poison also reconstructed our bodies. We put up with mouth sores, gastrointestinal issues, stained teeth, stinking breath and cardiopulmonary issues. In short, nicotine steals our health. But that’s not all. On top of all this, nicotine stole our internal peace. It not only created a physical type of hypertension, but the addiction manipulated us to live from one dip to the next. It was our focus. You could even say it was our life! And the next mouth sore could’ve been the last one – the one that initiated cancer and death. Do you remember the worries and the anxiety?
In my opinion, the most important truth to understand about quitting the nicotine habit is that is a reclaiming of our lives. It is learning to be ourselves again after having been POWs for so long.
Think of KTC as an army; the veteran quitters as drill sergeants and the first hundred days of quitting as boot camp. Indeed, if we screwed up and caved, these drill sergeants would have reamed each of us a new one and kicked our sorry butts across the Ethernet. We watched as they did just that to some of our fellow-quitters. But KTC is an army; it is a band of brothers and sisters that has a common cause and a common enemy. It is a band of brothers and sisters joined together to help each other defeat an angel of death. As we fight side-by-side to help each other defeat nicotine, we determine that we will not go down without a fight. We will survive. We will live on. And we will win this battle together.
One of the surprises that came along the way for me was the intensity of the fellowship that developed as I quit with my group and with others. At this point, I have never personally met anyone from the site, although I have spoken to several folks on the phone and exchanged a few personal messages and emails. Incredibly, however, some of these relationships have become quite strong and I would never want to disappoint my group or those who support me. The next major fact about quitting is that when we quit alone we are extremely vulnerable, but when we build accountability with each other our strength grows exponentially.
I’ve been thinking about all the folks here at KTC who have been a tremendous help in my quit. At the risk of missing someone, I’d like to thank these people personally: Skoal Monster, brianl, Bean, MikeA, Greg5280, FloridaLuke, AmericanNurse, Gator, Seth (supported me directly through my entire quit), Mjollnir (Thor), Syndrome, NOLAQ, and TruckerRick. I’m proud to be one of all the great quitters in Feb 2011. We’ve got the best group ever.
It is important to understand that being a part of KTC also involves a responsibility. We are all indebted! We did not make it to the Hall of Fame on our own. When we join with others personally in their quits, we add an extra level of support and answerability that may just be the push that helps someone else to finally succeed in quitting. Seth taught me that lesson and I will never forget it. Let’s pay it forward (and backward).
One hundred and ninety-one days ago this level of quit seemed impossible for me. I had dipped Copenhagen on and off for twenty-some years. I tried and failed to quit numerous times. For a couple of years I had actually prayed and asked God to help me to quit. In what seemed a moment of final desperation, He landed me at this site. You guys have taught me what quitting is all about and, more importantly, have helped me to Kill the Can for good. Thank you!!