I’ve written a bit of my back story in the Introductions. Please check that out here: I am NOT here by Accident
Sitting down to write this speech, my nicotine quit is at 121 days! I cannot express enough gratitude for KilltheCan.Org, the founders, and the people who donate countless hours to help new folks quit. Special thanks to our conductors (@nick-Otine Free and @macattack) who kept herding the cats, my co-quitters (@RajunRick, @robbie, @Bronco96, @Chumpy17, @Addictx3, and @jeremybaseball23), the many supporters along the way, my good friend and long-time quitter @Athan, and my patient wife and kids. I am also thankful for Dr. Ed Welch and his book Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave. This book has forever changed my view on the nature of addiction and the source of hope and freedom.
It is Hard
If you spend any time on this site (or have spent any time trying to quit tobacco) – you know that quitting is hard. There is a reason that I was able to quit alcohol 4,350 days ago – but remain physically addicted to nicotine nearly 12 years later. Nicotine had a much stronger grip on me somehow. My relationship with nicotine changed over time to the point where temptation arose from within me. It isn’t as simple as avoiding certain people or places – I am the person, and the place is wherever I am. This is a sobering realization – there is no blaming my condition on anyone or anything else. But it was also a realization that brought me back to KilltheCan.org and set me on a path to freedom.
The most challenging part for me was getting to where I committed to the quit and decided to flip the nicotine switch to off in my head. Having arrived at this critical decision, it became much easier to commit to a HOF class (a 100-day+ commitment) and to endure the physical and psychological discomfort of withdrawal. Getting to this place took me 20 years – because I withdrew from friends and family who might otherwise challenge me to give it up – and because health repercussions took several years to manifest themselves.
I hope that folks reading this will flip this switch before they suffer from health issues – or spend years hiding the addiction from family and friends. Know that while quitting nicotine is hard – it is very doable. Set your mind to it and choose freedom.
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave discusses the idea of progressive sanctification – the process of doing battle with internal temptations, or taking our souls to task. More importantly, the author reminds us that the battle is good. The struggle is not a sign of failure but a sign that the Spirit is on the move.
“It is a sign that we are spiritually alive and engaged in the process of sanctification. Some addicts are led to believe that the battle against sin is over after a short, name-it-and-claim-it skirmish. They claim victory. The battle, they think, is largely over. Then, when the inevitable temptations arise, they don’t fit the addict’s interpretation of what should happen…” Welch, Edward T.. Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave (pp. 230-231). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.
The battle metaphor should provide hope to the lurkers and several HOF classmates who broke their promises. Mistakes do not define you but are part of the struggle. Recommit and re-engage.
It should also explain the quick rebukes offered by our HOF conductors and numerous vets when folks forget to post-roll. The battle is raging, and the stakes are high. Your life hangs in the balance. If you are offended by the rebuke – grow some thicker skin and recommit to posting early and often.
Given the success of KilltheCan.org, who am I to offer suggestions to mods and conductors? But I do wonder if understanding the progressive nature of sanctification (that we are all in process) might help our shepherds engage newbies who stumble with more grace and patience at times. Some folks like direct and forceful rebukes. Others are turned away by the same words – or are not yet in a position to understand the reasoning for the rebuke. Seeing folks fall away is heartbreaking and seems avoidable at times.
KilltheCan.org is a fantastic group of people whose dedication to overcoming nicotine addiction has helped countless folks find freedom from a greasy leaf. If you are a lurker, sign up and get involved. If you are a HOF class member – wake up and post early. Stay committed and trust the process. If you are a mod or conductor – keep up the great work. Thanks for all you do. The HOF feels great.