Well, today I hit the HOF. It feels good. But, fortunately, it does not feel like the end of the journey, like I’ve graduated. Because for me, the biggest problem has always been staying quit.
Those early days of quitting suck, no doubt about it. Body freaking out, mind squirming looking for any excuse to feed the addiction. The challenge is enormous, but the issue is front and center.
This shifts as time goes on. It’s hard to describe, but I think most who read this will understand what I’m talking about. The craving goes underground, becomes more subtle, comes at me from different angles and in disguise. It’s already happening. As the months have rolled by, I’m spending less time thinking about tobacco. Sure I post roll every day, read what my fellow Octoquitters and our supporters have written, add comments here and there. But still, the issue has faded for me. I’m not consciously craving as intensely or as often. And this opens the door for the type of craving that has always got me before.
I started chewing when I was 12. Skoal and Happy Days. Less than a quarter a can. Middle school and high school, I chewed Copenhagen openly around friends while hiding it from my parents and the authorities (Back then, when you got caught with a chew in at school, you had to swallow it). In college I chewed openly. Really didn’t give a shit what anybody thought.
Then I graduated college and things changed. Rural PA to Wall Street. It was no longer cool to chew (not that it ever had been except in my mind), but the monkey was firmly lodged on my back. So I became a ninja dipper. In the early years of working I’d go for a walk outside, or go to the bathroom, or just suffer till I could head for home and a chew. As time went on, my rules bent and I started to secretly chew at the office. I felt like an asshole for doing it, and have a long list of absurd situations I got into because of it, but the addiction was too strong.
Then marriage and kids. It is hard to imagine a more pathetic picture than my young son asking me what’s in my mouth, and my lying about it. Unless it’s when the kids are a bit older, and I’m my promising the kids and wife that I’ll stop, again, and again, and again. 37 years of chewing, mostly Copenhagen, usually a can a day.
But thanks to the support from my Octo – brothers and sisters and all the other supporters here at QSXtreme, I’m 100 days quit. I can leave all the failed quits behind – not forgetting them, and their lessons, but not needing to feel a failure any more. And in 3 days I will turn 50, with over a 100 nicotine-free days under my belt.
As I said in the beginning, I think the bigger challenge for me starts now. I can stay quit only if I continue to dance with the ones that brung me. I am sure that if I sign off now, with a bow and a big thank you, I’ll be back doing the first 100 days again. And that is not going to happen. Because I am just as sure that if I stay active here, and branch out to new groups to pass it on, that I can stay quit. I can keep the reasons why I quit fresh in my mind. I can clearly remember the pain. I will be able to see the nic-bitch as she tries to sneak up on me again. So I’d like to use my HOF Speech soap box to recommitt to my quit, my group, and this site.
Thanks again for the support, and I’ll definitely be seeing you around.