2023 Hall of Fame Speeches

Saying Nope to Cope

Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Smokeless tobacco, in various forms, has been a part of my entire life. As a young boy I observed both my granddad and dad using chewing tobacco as well as dads of my childhood friends. So it seemed kind of natural during my teenage years to start using smokeless tobacco myself. This was now almost 50 years ago. Never once did I consider the enslaving claws of the chemical as I switched between delivery systems of plug, loose leaf, fine or long cut. Eventually I landed on Copenhagen Long Cut Wintergreen as my delivery system of choice. I loved it—-or thought I did! After meals, working in the yard, driving to and from work, sitting in a tree stand, at sporting events, reading, watching TV, plus countless others—-all seemed like a perfect time to enjoy a mouthful of tobacco.  However, as time passed, thoughts began entering the back of my mind that made me think I should seriously reconsider my continued use of tobacco. Sadly, I ignored those thoughts and pushed them out of my mind—

  • even when I became a proud parent of a healthy son and daughter.
  • even when a sore throat, a spot on my lip or receding gums caused restless and sleepless nights.
  • even when my son started using smokeless tobacco in his teenage years.
  • even when a co-worker had half his face removed because of smokeless tobacco.
  • even when my 5 grandchildren were born.

I continued my tobacco use for years but the risks and warnings became more clear to me that I needed to quit. So I stopped several times— yea, several!  I always came back!  It was obvious, the chemical delivered into my body by Copenhagen literally owned me.  I worried about running out on business travel, on weekend get aways or hunting trips. I was a slave to this stuff. The thought of that sickened me!

As a man of faith I believe in a Creator who gave us a brain to use for sound reasoning and I could not see where enslavement to a chemical in a can of tobacco made any sense whatsoever.

So, on March 7, 2023, I said, ‘Nope to Cope’—with no idea how difficult the next few weeks would be. I didn’t tell anybody I had quit but after a few days my behavior made it obvious to those closest to me that something had changed. I was miserable— couldn’t concentrate— couldn’t focus—- couldn’t sleep—- didn’t want to do anything but get a mouthful of Cope. While searching for fake dip options, I stumbled onto the KTC website and 2 days later posted my first promise of day 10 to the June23 quit group. I read article after article on the website, listened to fellow quitters who were struggling just like me, and learned all I could. I bought into  WUPP—post early every day. ODAAT—quit today only. Accountability—- be a team player.

The timeline of quitting dip article was so helpful during this time as I kept saying to myself, ‘when will this be over?’ The anxiety levels were brutal for 3 to 4 weeks along with the cravings to stop the agony— voices were constantly saying, ‘Stop this ‘nope to cope’ nonsense!’ But over and over I kept reading posts from veteran quitters saying, ‘it gets better’, and fellow quitters began saying, ‘it gets better’, and then I began to sense that it was indeed getting better! It was not over, but it was better!

With every daily WUPP, the number of days continued to stack and soon it became apparent that quite possibly reaching the HOF was a realistic target. And now, it is good to be one of the 15 June’23 Looney Junes that boarded the HOF train—and I still cannot believe it! I am so glad to be quit! I am so glad I said, ‘NOPE TO COPE’

Never again would any quitter want to experience the early days of quit— so we have to ask ourselves ‘what keeps us on the train?’

It is my belief, that the same simple practices that got us here, are the same simple practices that will keep us here going forward.

  1. Quit Daily – Post early every day!
  2. Accountability – Make a promise, keep a promise!
  3. Team – Give back, help a fellow quitter!

What are the results of saying ‘Nope to Cope?’
Saying, ‘Yes, to my family—-‘
Saying, ‘Yes, to life—-‘
Saying, ‘Yes, to freedom’

Thank you KTC! PTBQWY!

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan community member CAH

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