2022 HOF Speeches

Rubber Meets the Road

Rubber Meets The Road

I’m 44 and until 108 days ago I’d smoked or dipped my entire adult life and even a little bit of my childhood.  Just typing that I smoked in my childhood is gross.  I remember paying .50 more at a c store because they’d sell to minors back in the day.  Joined the Navy after high school and put any doubts about my addiction to rest right then and there.  Couldn’t wait till boot camp was over so I could rip heaters on a ship.  I switched from cigs to dip after a stop but mainly because smoking inside was now discouraged in the early to mid-2000’s.  Went through the rest of my 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s mostly dipping with the occasional bum of a cig for old times’ sake.

I went to a quick care facility to get some meds to knock out a lingering sinus infection a couple of years ago.  Doc comes in and he says “rubber meets the road” I asked what the hell he was talking about, and he told me it was time to give up tobacco.  For some reason I heard what this doctor was saying, it wasn’t like I’d never heard it before, but it just got through to me this time.  He told me I’d be lucky to make it to cancer.  He figured a heart attack or stroke would probably get me first.  Owning and working every day in a grocery store can be stressful especially in the last 3 years and he saw those signs.   I wish I wouldn’t have waited two plus years to jump into my quit but if wishes were horses beggars would ride.

108 days ago, I didn’t have some grand plan of quit.  I got a late start to work at the store and I was out of dip.  Pretty easy to just grab a roll and head to my office when your family owns the place.  Anyhow I thought if I made it to lunch time maybe I can wait until I leave to grab my customary roll.  I decided to try to make it through the day.  I wanted that poison bad that day, but I made it home without dip.  I felt like a badass that I made it 1 day without nicotine and I didn’t even “plan” on quitting.  I was always told I should have a day set in my mind and ween myself off nicotine.  Spoiler alert that was never going to happen.  Days 2-5 are a foggy blur of hating everyone and everything.  I realized this wasn’t going to work even short term, so I started looking around the world wide web and stumbled onto KTC.  I thought it seemed dorky and I’m too cool for “support groups” but what the hell right.

Atomic fireballs and Jolly Ranchers had got me to this point, but I knew something else was needed.  Work, golf, driving, mowing and all those other triggers were going to be too much for me.  Turned out what I needed was KTC.  Flippout got me started and gave me the basic info needed, WUPP, ODAAT and NAFAR.  So that’s what I did, I’d show up, post my day and promise not use nicotine today, just today we will worry about tomorrow when it comes.  Basically, I was in fake it until I make it mode.  Somewhere in the second month it started to really make sense.  Accountability, tools, brotherhood, fighting nic tooth and nail and the ability to come here and let it out, the good, the bad and the ugly really started to click.  Turns out I was the Dork for not wanting some help.  Flipp, CharliBluff, CV3, Ema, UncleBubba, Keith, EdT, nick-otine Free, all the October Douche Canoes and conductors and lastly GS 9502.  Thanks for showing up and being here for me.  I’m not crying, you’re crying.  I keep a copy of the contract to give up in my billfold and I take my coin with me most places which I’m sure will fade away but build as many walls between you and nicotine as possible.

Below is a list of my favorite things I read along the way

  1. “Needed sasquatch with a ball bat”.  Praying it away wasn’t going work for me.  I didn’t write down the author, but I love that quote and I still think about when craves hit.
  2. “No chance by myself”.  Self-explanatory and I worry about some of my fellow DC’s as some have already parted ways.  Missed the author here too but damn if it isn’t true.
  3. “Just be done & show up every damn day”.  Wise words from Nic-Oteen Free.  I’ll see you tomorrow.
  4. Not so much a quote, but no you can’t have a cigar.  I bet I saw 10 guys lose their quit over a stogie.
  5. “If keeping your word is hard how will you handle chemo?”  That’s some cold hard truth, thanks Keith
  6. “Have a network”.  People tend to fight this, and I did too.  You will almost assuredly fail without this.  I grabbed this from No More Cope but you’ll see it over and over again and for good reason.

Every day of those first 100 things got easier, not easy but easier.  The craves are less intense and aren’t as often.  My sleep regulated somewhere around 60-70 days.  Acid reflux has reared its ugly head a few times.  But I’m not killing myself with tobacco and nicotine anymore.  I know I’m only at the beginning of my battle, but I have so many more weapons than I had 108 days ago.

No quit is the same but they all involve telling nicotine that today is not the day.

Much love to the KTC community and reach out anytime,

Casey aka Barnabus

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan community member barnabus

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