2019 HOF Speeches

Redwood’s First 100 Days of Freedom

Redwood RoadMy name is Justin, I am 35 years old, and I am a nicotine addict.  In the past I never understood that fact, let alone accepted it.  Now I own it.  I am an addict and will always be an addict.

As I look back, nicotine has always been there in my memory.  I remember my dad dipping and not thinking much about it, it was just something that he did.  When I was offered my first dip from friends at 16 (Copenhagen snuff) I willingly accepted.  From age 16-18 I dipped regularly, mostly socially with friends for the “buzz”.  I remember telling my dad about my habit a few years later when I was 18.  He told me to be careful, the buzz was fun but I would wake up one day and be addicted and he did not want that for me.  He said “Once you are addicted you will deal with this for the rest of your life”.   I did not listen.  I continued to use and before long the buzz disappeared.  I had to have my fix.  I was addicted. From that day forward I used tobacco constantly.  All forms of tobacco: dip, chew, nasal snuff, cigars, cigarettes, tobacco free nicotine pouches, and since 2007 Swedish Snus exclusively.  The longest I ever quit was for a month in college.  I quit for my girlfriend at the time.  To help me quit, I stuffed a whole can of Copenhagen snuff in my mouth at once.  I thought I was going to die but after that month I was right back stuffing my lip.  I have tried numerous times since to quit.  When I got married, when I had my first child, my second child, my third child…  None of those quits ever stuck for more than a week.  I always rationalized my addiction and crawled right back to the can.

Recently, for a combination of reasons, I decided that it was time to try again and be serious about it this time.  My biggest motivation is my five year old son.  I do not want to pass this addiction on to him, I want to break the family nicotine addiction chain.  I also want to be free, to not be a slave to nicotine anymore.  Being a retread (caved as part of the August 19 group with 44 days in) I was hesitant to come back to KTC.  I tried quitting again on my own.  Two days later I abruptly left the house without telling my wife where I was going.  I drove to the gas station and bought a can.  That night I held my three-year-old daughter in my lap and started crying.  I finally realized how much this addiction controlled me.  I knew the only way I had a chance of quitting for good was accountability and KTC.  I swallowed my pride, came back, and posted a day 1 in the December 2019 group.

The last 100 days have been a roller coaster of emotions, from day to day and moment to moment.  They have also been the longest 100 days of my life.  There were times when I wanted nicotine more than anything in the world regardless of the consequences, and others where I wanted to fight for my life and stay quit.  What has kept me going is the accountability and knowing that I am not going through this alone as I have before.  I worked on getting digits, updating the SSOA, and chasing late posters.  Getting outside of myself and trying to help others has been a big reason I have stayed quit.   Days 1-75 were tough.  Most days I woke up wondering if I had it in me to keep going.  I spent the day looking for excuses to talk myself back into the can.  Then, without fail, I would get a text from another quitter asking me how I was doing.  I would be honest with them and they would help me get my perspective back, and so I continued to press forward.  I have used tons of fake pouch substitutes during my quit and still do.  I plan to work on my oral fixation addiction next but right now I am not worrying about it.  I have used the following (in order of my favorite to least favorite):  Onico, Jake’s Mint Chew, Grinds, TeaZa, Bacc-off, Hooch, and Smokey Mountain.  Around day 75 I turned a corner and started feeling much better mentally and physically.  I even had some days where I hardly thought about tobacco.  This amazed me (and still does) as I never believed this was possible for me.  My roughly two-week good stretch ended on day 92.  Since day 92 I have been in a funk.  Depression has returned and so have the doubts.  I am holding on and quitting ODAAT (One Day At A Time).  I cannot guarantee what will happen tomorrow, today has enough trouble of it’s own.

I never thought that I would make it 100 days without nicotine, but I have, and it is a rewarding feeling and a big milestone.  But 100 is also just another day.  I realize that the can and my addiction is only one bad decision away.  I must remain vigilant.  I will keep in touch with fellow quitters and stay involved.  If anyone is reading this and thinking about quitting: do it now you will not regret it.  It will suck for a while, physically and mentally.  That will improve over time. But most importantly you will have FREEDOM.  Freedom from being a slave.  Freedom from having to rely on a chemical drug to feel good every day.  The freedom alone is worth the effort, not to mention the many other benefits.  Toss that can out and begin your first day of freedom.  Post roll first thing every day, help update the SSOA, get as many digits of your group members and vets as possible, and stay involved.  It is amazing how involvement and relationships will help your quit.  They provide a constant reminder that many have been down the path you are on and have conquered, and that what you are experiencing in your quit is not unique. The pain and struggles are real, and others have been where you are.  They are more than willing to help, take advantage of that.  Make your decision to quit and embrace it.  Sweet freedom is waiting for you.  I am proud to quit with every one of you today.  I am forever grateful and thankful for this KTC community.

I specifically want to thank:

Keith0617.  You were the first to contact me after I posted my day one.  You have texted me daily since and called when necessary.  Thank you for your selflessness and your encouragement.

JJG009.  My brother from a different mother, thank you for putting up with my emotional ups and downs and my addict talk.  Thank you for staying strong when I was weak.  Thank you for speaking truth to me when I was close to heeding my addict brain and caving.  You are the reason I am still quit.

CDA-rj and drums636.  My August brothers.  Thank you for immediately accepting me back with encouragement and accountability when I did not deserve it.  You guys are some BAQ’s and I look up to you.

SixString, thank you for the encouragement, inspiration, and accountability you have given me.  You are an exceptional quitter and a powerful force.  Keep it up brother.

Copequits, Croakenhagen, Athan.  Thank you for always being there and encouraging me in my quit.  You have provided me with hope and proof that quitting is possible and that I can be successful.

To all my brothers in the 2019 December Quit Syndicate, thank you for the support and accountability.  I am proud to be quit with you.

KD2, thank you for the daily texts.  You are a BAQ and have provided needed accountability to me in my quit.

Done09.  Thanks for sharing your plumbing secrets with me so that I don’t bash my head in when the kids clog the toilet.

Chrink82, KD2, Mike08, CEN2, Forgoodthistime, MourningWood, NateDog123, Done09. Thank you for the text conversations and the encouragement.  You care about my quit and have encouraged me greatly.

I also want to thank (in no particular order): BrianG, BluManChew, Zeus, BugGuy, SRains918, Broccoli-saurus, Peter Gibbons, Davidharleyson10, DocPetey, Allpuck, Gottadoit, FishFlorida, Candoit, 69franx, ExBearHag, jsjohnson, walterwhite, oldschool, Falcon67, BaylorGrad19, Greenburr, RAZD611, chris2alaska and AddictArchitect.  Each of you have provided me inspiration, encouragement, and accountability during my quit directly and indirectly.  Thank you for your selflessness.

Stay Strong and Stay Quit

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

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