So I Told Myself

KillTheCan LogoHall Of Fame… Speech…. Talk about a speech I didn’t think I would ever be writing, or giving… I am No stranger to public speaking or writing, I do both on a regular basis, NEVER HOWEVER thought I would be writing a Hall of Fame Speech…

Where to start? As many others have before me with a little history.

Growing up in Southern Missouri, out in the woods, Tobacco use was just a part life. I do remember my first taste as most do. I remember my Dad worked in the timber as part owner of a saw mill. I would ride to work with Dad some days, and be in the way as I thought I was helping. I remember one day sitting in the middle between dad and one of the guys he would pick up and take to work. They stopped at a gas station, Dad and I stayed in the truck while the other guy jumped out and ran in quickly. Climbing back into the truck he tossed what looked like a big fat candy bar up on the dash and said there you go Doug. As kids will do I remember saying I want some, can I have some. Dad said that’s not a candy bar son you don’t want any of that. The other guy (wish I could remember his name) says come on Doug he wants some, it’ll be good for him you won’t have to worm him. I didn’t know what that meant but I knew he was on my side so I said yeah Dad. So he said ok but don’t cry to me you asked for it. He takes it off the dash pulls his pocket knife out and cuts me off a small slice. As dad is handing me the slice the other guys is getting back out of the truck for some reason. As I toss it into my mouth dad said don’t eat it just chew on it. I took a couple of chomps and remember trying to scramble out of the truck and from there things are a little Foggy.

Fast forward a few years, I didn’t care about the “candy bars” or the pouches dad had on his dash. One day though I notice a little can on his dash, and ask what is that? Dad said it’s Tobacco like the other just different. I asked if I could have some, he opened the can and showed me the fine cut weed and said it will make you just as sick as the other.

A few days later however one of the kids on the bus pulled what looked like the same green can out, bent down behind the seat and opened it and put a little pouch in his lip. He saw me watching and asked if I wanted some and held the can out. I took it and slowly opened the can but instead of the same ground up weed this can had little paper looking pouches in it. I was just looking at it and he said just take one and put it in your lip but don’t swallow, just spit it out. So I did, I remember the bus doing some weird spins and rolls and felt dizzy but I didn’t get as sick to my stomach as last time.

Robert….. The kid on the bus and I became close friends, he lived just a mile through the woods from me and we would meet up and run around getting into all kinds of trouble, as some of you will remember late 70’s early 80’s were different. His bigger brother would buy what we wanted we just had to scrounge up the money for it. It didn’t take long to graduate from the Skoal Bandits to Skoal Long Cut. When I could I would sneak a dip out of dads Skoal Fine Cut can, which would give me a better buzz than the long cut.

Then came little league baseball, and the ninja closet dipping was over, I don’t remember if the whole team dipped but I can’t think of one that didn’t. By then I was on Skoal Fine Cut, or Copenhagan if I had to bum, and it was no secret. Parents weren’t happy when they learned, Mom wanted dad to beat me, but I remember him saying that he dipped so how could he get on to me. Unfortunately for Dad they had this discussion more than once. Dad never said stop so I didn’t, and from then on I had a can in my pocket.

Fast forward to college, I was night manager at Taco Bell and this new girl started working, Man was she HOT. It took me a few months but I finally convinced her to go out on a date with me Saturday night. I Stopped and filled the Gas tank up, planning on a night of cruising town showing off what I hoped to be my new girl. Of course bought a can of skoal opened it took a dip and tossed the can up on the dash. About a mile before her house I tossed the Cleaned my lip, chugged a mouth full of Mountain Dew swished and gargled, brushed with my finger checking the mirror as I pulled in her driveway. Met her parents did the pleasantries and escorted her to the truck, and off we went on our first date. We were barely out of the drive way when she spots the can on the dash and very bluntly announces that she WILL NOT DATE ANYONE WITH A BAD HABIT as she pointed to the dash and can.

WOW, it had been almost 10 years since my mom had said she didn’t like me dipping, since then it was just part of me. Now HOT girl is on our first date right off the bat? I was surprised that she hadn’t heard of or caught me dipping at work on breaks or after close. But what does a teenage boy do when the girl of his dream makes such an announcement. You guessed right, he takes the can throws it out the window and says it belonged to a buddy that had just left it in the truck. Sometimes you can’t win for losing, because then she says I can’t believe you just littered. Why I didn’t turn around, take her back home I don’t know……. But I am sure glad I didn’t.

Fast forward again about 5 years, I am now married to this beautiful dream girl of mine, and have a 2 year old son. GOD and CHURCH has always been an important part of my life, (my Grandfather was a preacher). I surrender to the ministry, and move 500 miles away, to Deep South Mississippi to pastor a little small country church. I get a job at a lumber yard as delivery truck driver and yard hand I think it was a prerequisite to shop there or work there that you had to dip. EVERYONE I was around dipped, I made it a few months being offered numerous dips a day before I caved. For over a year I ninja dipped, there were smokers in the church. I didn’t preach against nicotine, I just didn’t know how my wife would take it. As is inevitable, I was going to get caught, and I did, wife came by work one day to ask me something as I was pulling out of the yard with a load, she came running over jumped up on the running board and saw a can on the dash, WORSE yet I had a dip in. She just hopped down and walked off. I set the brakes and jumped down following her she just waved me off said we’ll talk about it tonight.

I was scared to death for the rest of the day, I Wasted a can of Skoal putting a dip in then tossing it out. Thinking I was going have to quit, but might as well enjoy the rest of this can today. When I got home it was not a fun conversation, obviously what she was the maddest about was my sneaking about it. I hadn’t lied in words she hadn’t asked, the secret was the issue. Long story short for this part, she didn’t like it I couldn’t dip in the house, but she wasn’t leaving me just No more secrets.

So now I am back to dipping in the open again, well mostly. It depended upon who I was around. Out of respect, (So I told myself). I would not dip around any of the elder members that didn’t use tobacco and never on church property. However there were times and situation where I was able to witness and visit with some at the lumber yard at job sites at the sale barn at the race track etc. that people listened because they didn’t feel I was looking down my nose at them, that I was one of the boys. (So I told myself).

Might as well jump forward a few more years now, let’s make it 10 years this time. I am back in my home town in Missouri Pastoring the little country church I was raised in. Life is great I am back with my family my wife’s family, my High School buddies. Those that knew me as a dipper I dipped with. Those that didn’t know I dipped I didn’t dip around. I had a clean conscience dipping, (So I told myself) I just didn’t want to disrespect others and dip around them if they didn’t use tobacco.

By now I have twin girls to go with my boy and they are in school and DARE, teaches them that Daddy is using drugs. GEE THANKS DARE. So relentless pestering from family I decide to try and quit, after all I had quit once 15 years ago for 5 years and all I had to do was throw a can out the window and lie to my future wife. Its Christmas time so I tell everyone Daddies New Years, resolution is going to be to quit dipping. And I did, without much trouble really, not as easy as last time but I make it until June. We are going on vacation to Savannah GA. Driving all night everyone else in cars is asleep, I stop for gas, stand before the Dip Shrine we have all seen and buy a can. While I am debating if I am going to Man up and own this cave or if I am going try ninja, Son wakes up smells the Skoal and wakes everyone else up “Daddy bout a can”. I mean it when I tell them I need it to stay awake and will only do it while on vacation. I will not take it home with me. I meant it when I said it (So I told myself) YOU all know I was lying.
This happens every year for a number of years I quit every New Years, Cave every June on Family Vacation. Except 2015 I tried only made it a few days and caved, each year it became more difficult to quit. I just didn’t have it in me, I wasn’t strong enough to quit again, WHY quit when I am just going to start back up in June? (So I Told Myself) Why make myself go through all that, Why make my family go through my moods. Might as well just accept I am a dipper kids are older now they now know Daddies not on Drugs because he dips and I am a better person when I dip (So I told myself).

So I dip straight through 2015 and 2016 and it’s almost Thanksgiving and I am getting sick. Just a cough that won’t go away, I don’t have the energy I did and my chest hurts. It’s just from the coughing (So I told myself) but then my back starts to hurt and then my left arm. At first it is just a nuisance pain but it keeps growing until I stay home from work, its killing me pain. Wife tries to get me to go to the Dr. I am stubborn and hate Drs. Finally two nights in a row as I say my evening prayers I just know I am going to die and I make my peace asking GOD to forgive me of my sins, take care of my family. Then Saturday morning before Thanksgiving, I can’t take the pain any more and ask my wife to take me to Urgent Care. She Panics because I NEVER ask to go to the Dr. so we Rush over to Urgent care get there at 9 but they don’t open until noon. She tries to get me to go to ER I tell her she’s nuts I’d rather go die in the funeral home parking lot than pay an ER visit.

I have to Argue with Urgent care to see me because when I describe my symptoms of chest back and arm pain, they don’t want to see me. They say I have to go to ER. I finally win or compromise that if an EKG shows I am having a heart attack I will go to ER. They do an EKG and I am not having a heart attack. SO they do some blood work and it shows that I have not HAD a heart attack, so they do an X-Ray and I wait to see the Dr. He comes in looks at me, looks at the chart and the paperwork my wife had filled out and he finally speaks and says I see you use tobacco.

I just look at him and say yes sir

He asked what kind.

I reply SKOAL FINE CUT

He nods flips back through the chart some more turning pages then asked “Are you afraid of cancer?”

I look at my wife then back at him and say…. “NO” Sheepishly

He stares at me and asked, “WHY NOT?”

I was a little uncomfortable with the conversation but what could I do so I gave the same reply I had to others, many times before. “Because the can says May cause cancer, I had a friend who had an older brother named Tim that died of oral cancer and he never touched tobacco in any form. And I know a guy in his 90s that has chewed tobacco all his life and his is fine. So I think it is just a gamble, rather or not I get cancer that I believe it is genetic and ultimately it is determined by GOD” (So I told myself)

This older gray haired Dr. tightened his lips into a pucker and nodded his head slowly up and down, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Then softly says “That is correct using tobacco is a gamble, it is a risk, you are taking and it may or may not end up in your favor there is just no way of knowing. You are correct you are playing the odds and I cannot tell you what the odds are for you in getting cancer or not. Using Tobacco does increase these odds but they do not guarantee you will have or die of cancer.”

I had been getting worried about where the Dr was going with this, but when he said that I felt I wave of relief. Then he came in for the kill and said.

“But let me tell you what is 100%” he paused looking at the chart again then back at me making eye contact. “Heart Disease” holding eye contact he continued “you came in today with a fear that you may be having a heart attack. Turns out you have pneumonia, we can treat that and you will be ok, BUT my dear friend. IF you continue to use your tobacco you will have a heart attack. You see it may or may not cause cancer, but it 100% does make your arteries more sticky. Do you watch what you eat? Do you know what your cholesterol is?

The sense of relief had quickly faded to a kick to the gut. As I looked at him, he still held eye contact and I hadn’t spoken so he said “WELL?”

I weakly and softly said “NO I eat what I want”

Then with a stern confidence he said well providing nothing else gets you first, if you continue you will have a heart attack. The first one may not get you or the next, if not one of them will if you don’t change your lifestyle.”

He just let that sit there and soak in for a bit then reached in his pocket pulled out his script pad and started writing. Then ripping it out handed it to me and says, “Take this get your lungs cleaned up and think about what I said, it’s your choice.” Turned and left the room.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that conversation, smoking affected your heart I had heard that, but if anyone have ever spoken that blunt to me about my skoal and heart I never listened.

Few days later I was feeling much better, physically but emotionally and mentally I was still processing what the Dr had said and was trying to regain my thought process and lies of not me, it won’t happen to me ( So I told myself) . When my wife and son come barging into the room obviously we were about to have a lovely conversation that would distract me from my mental conversation of should I quit.

My wife with much fanfare announces that our son was on academic probation in college because he had dropped a class, rather had tried to drop a class but didn’t do it correctly. He was also failing another class and had been on academic probation all semester its Thanksgiving and we are just learning this. So that brings about a nice lovely conversation with him about why he hadn’t told us. Obviously he knew we wouldn’t be happy, but it was his life and he didn’t lie he just kept it a secret. Discussing this keeping it a secret part we come to the conclusion that he was keeping it a secret because he knew he was in the wrong and didn’t want to face it.

Why is that important to my story?

Well because GOD likes to take advantage of times when I have “taught” my children something to “teach” me. As my son was walking away with his head dragging, GOD speaks to my heart and says your turn. Remember you say you don’t dip in front of others out of respect for them (So I told myself). Well if you feel you can’t dip in front of everyone, if you feel you need to keep the fact that you dip a secret from anyone, does that mean that deep down you know that you shouldn’t dip and don’t want to face it?

“No GOD” I said there is nothing wrong with tobacco, you don’t say any Thou Shall Not’s about that. I went through a quick bible study with GOD of all the (So I told myself). And all he would say to my heart was.

If you feel you have to keep it a secret is it right?
If you feel you have to keep it a secret is it right?
If you feel you have to keep it a secret is it right?

So when I stopped my Billy Goat religion, of BUT BUT BUT BUT GOD. And just sat pondering this lesson, I saw the parallel of what I was trying to explain to my son was the same thing GOD was trying to explain to me. It wasn’t as if I had just had a revelation that Tobacco usage was the sin I needed to go condemn the world of. Rather it was a personal revelation that “FOR ME” it was wrong and time to quit.

I wish I could say that it was settled then and there and I quit at Thanksgiving. GOD and I had the very same discussion over and over for the next few days and weeks. I lost every study, and each one I felt even worse after, by mid December I said OK OK I will quit just let me finish this year and quit New Years. It will be the Day I will always know and remember, and start the new year of right.

I didn’t tell anyone, I was going to quit but for the month of December I kept every empty can stacking them up on my dresser. Come New Years Eve I had 37 cans stacked up on the dresser, the door to my truck was full of empty cans and the door of my family flex was full of empty cans. I kept this as a reminder of just how bad I was dipping and how much money I was wasting.

We had a new years eve party at one of the elders house, everyone left east coast time even though we live in central, and headed to their respective homes, I put a dip in as we were leaving their house knowing it would be the last one, when we got home there was still thirty minutes to midnight so I packed the other cheek. Then 15 minutes until I packed even more in, 10 minutes more and 11:55pm central time 12/31/2016 I shoved even more, I had so much Skoal in my mouth I couldn’t close it. Then 11:59 I stepped outside reached in and started pulling it out flinging it out across the back yard, went in rinsed brushed my teeth, sitting the last can of skoal which was still half full on the night stand and went to bed.

Woke up the next morning and as always reached over grabbed my glasses slid them and picked up the can of skoal. Don’t laugh or think I am crazy but it felt hot and heavy in my hands reminding me I quit so I put it back down and headed to the bathroom. I know I have had this conversation with a few of you, BUT I had to keep that can, and I still have that can. All the empties are gone but that can is still there. WHY Because it has to be ME quitting MY choice, If I have none around I am being forced if I have the option it is my choice. I don’t recommend this for everyone but it is what my personality needs, I can’t be forced I have to chose.

A couple years prior in one of my family attempts to make me quit, they had actually found Killthecan.org and showed it to me. As the first two days progressed and my mood went south my family noticed I wasn’t dipping, at first no one said anything they just kind of skirted around me. On Jan 3rd with Google’s help I found KilltheCan.org and signed up. With the FOG I couldn’t figure out how to post. So I just did some reading and went on my way. I would sign back in ever few days read a little see I was right on track and go my way.

Jan 12th I had a follow up appointment with my family DR set up by urgent care from Nov. I told my Dr about the conversation with the Urgent Care Dr. and how I had quit New Years Eve. And how I was struggling with it and might need some help. He says congratulations and gives me a Wellbutrin prescription. 6 days later I felt worse than I did before so just stopped taking the pills and just struggled through. Family were trying there hardest to ignore my moods and help me, almost made me feel like a kindergartener how much there were patting my back and telling me how proud they were of me how I could do this.

Jan 29th I finally figured out how to post roll on KTC, and even managed to get an introduction posted. SoccerJack was first to respond words of encouragement quickly followed by pab64 advising me to post roll every day and be active with my group. Then DanMan calls me out on group page wanting to know who I am? Why I joined Jan 3rd and just now posting Jan 29th. Telling me you guys didn’t take kindly to posting and ghosting. To be honest in the Fog and Anxiety and Rage I was in I just about clicked little x top right corner and forgot about it. But the more I read the more accountability I saw in practice, the more I knew that’s what I needed.

I got in the swing of things posting roll made my fair share of wrecks and laughed watching others wreck. Talked little on forum but not much…. Had a few Private messages come in giving me digits and requesting mine, to which I shared but wasn’t really ready to welcome you guys into my life outside of the forum. Then one day my phone rings an unknown number and I was busy so I just let it ring. Later I had an hour drive ahead of me and was curious who had tried to call I was guessing someone from KTC but not sure. I hit redial and NJohn23 answers, planning on just a short courteous friendly conversation but end up talking the entire hour drive and I think I did most of the talking. That conversation with NJohn23 really made the site real, I can’t really explain or put into words the encouragement that conversation was and just how much it sealed my resolve and commitment to not just my quit but the quit of others.

Then the digits started coming in the more active I was and the more challenges that were presented on the forum. Richard C, BatDad KitKat Samrs Econner,Carmel Brian G then Later on Chad Crews… all would text call some etc just random things. Sometimes I would text them sometimes I would just look at my phone contact list under KTC and smile knowing that I could contact anyone of them and they would stop what they were doing and visit with me. Then Richard C calls me one day I am at work inspecting a house when he calls, I answer and walk out to my truck and end up sitting on the tailgate for an hour just talking to him. He was struggling but he was being honest I can respect that and had a good conversation with him. After we get off the phone I finished my inspection and head back to the office and on the way BrianG calls me, not just to visit with me because He needed help or I needed help but Richard C had reached out to BrianG as well, and he was concerned. It blew me away the level of commitment that this group had to each other. I live just an hour and half form Richard C, went by to see him once but he wasn’t at his shop. I can’t help but think if I had tried harder and made more effort to be there in person for Richard C if maybe he wouldn’t have caved. It did hurt losing Richard, not just me but the group, again just showing the level of commitment to each other. Trusting Richard will be back. Hope you read this and come back Richard C you deserve to quit.

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for KTC and for all my fellow quitters here, and for ALL; of My April17 group. I named a few above but that is not an inclusive list, I do not leave anyone out on purpose or that any of you are of less importance than others. I have read a few of the other HOF speeches and wandered where, is my name, you listed them but not me. LOL so now here I am making my HOF “BOOK” and listing some but not everyone, I realize it’s impossible, short of just copying and pasting the entire KTC Members list.

I thank GOD for leading me to KTC and for the strength support and accountability I have gained from KTC. My family has been here suffering through my quit with me, and we have more suffering to do. We know it is not over just because we made it 100 days.

I know that KTC will be here for me and I promise and commit to being here for anyone and everyone. There will be no participation trophies handed out here, you quit or you quit quitting and that is unacceptable. You will be held accountable you will be supported but if you want to QUIT WUPP EDD ODAAT

Jared (IFYOURUWHOAMI) April17

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Matt 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.

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

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