2011 HOF Speeches

The Beast vs. My Family

jcook avatarMy story about how I started using is a lot like yours. I had no idea, the first time I put in a dip, that I was opening the door to the beast. More on that in a minute.

My family is everything to me. My wife, my daughter, my son. Here is why: I lost my mother when I was about to turn 6. Lung cancer. My dad was my hero, my best friend. He was everything to me. I lost him when I was 17, a senior in high school. Lung cancer. I was alone. No family, no one. I struggled through the last semester of my senior year. By the grace of God made it into college. Homeless for a few weeks. All the fun stuff. The main thing here was being alone. Then, in college, I met the woman who would become my wife. She had this huge family, all about as screwed up as I was, and willing to bring me into the fold. Fast forward through the mushy stuff and we happily married and just hanging out. Then we find out we are expecting our first child, two years later our second. In what seems like the blink of an eye, I go from alone, to surrounded by the most profound love I have ever known.

Somewhere along the way though, I got lost. The stress of responsibility, the stress of being the one people depend on, whatever; I opened the door to the beast. The promises were great: help to calm down, help with the stress. I opened the door. I let the beast in and like you all know, the beast took total control. I hid this from my wife, my kids, my friends. Then, I began to notice something: I was pulling away from my family for the beast. I would hide, leave, do anything to get away. Just for one more dip. Just for one more fix. I noticed I judged my day, either good or bad, based on how much time I could spend with the beast. I wanted to be alone, just me and the dip. Somehow, in this screwed up mind, I had gone from hating being alone to longing for it. The beast was pulling me away from the very source of my life.

I wanted to quit. Kind of. I would try for a week, give in. I would try for a day, fail. Then one day I noticed something, my kids and my wife, they had stopped expecting me to be with them. They were already getting started on the journey of life without me. I looked at my son, I saw me. I didn’t want my kids to experience losing me to cancer like I lost my parents. Then, for the first time, I choose to fight. I stopped using. I faced the beast and screamed (literally at times) defiance. And I won a day. Then another. Then another. I treated my quit like the battle for my life because that is exactly what it was. I decided I would do anything to stay quit. Take any step. I was desperate to win this battle. I vowed to never let the beast take me away from my family again. And day after day, I felt something grow. FREEDOM! Oh to be free! To not plan my day around a can. To be free to play with my kids and not need the next fix. To just live. So what now? I quit today. 100 days, I still fight. The beast still comes at times, but it knows that it it beat. The battles are much easier now, but I still fight. And live!

Know that you CAN do this.
Know that this is SO WORTH IT!
Know that it gets better every day.

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

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