As I write this, I do it with the goal of helping two very specific groups of individuals.
First and foremost my HOF speech is written to the person who has already made the decision to quit tobacco, as you are the one who is enduring the struggle right now. You are the one who may be contemplating going back to the can. You may be looking for the strength and inspiration that says you can make it through the rest of the day, the rest of the hour, or the next 10 minutes without a dip. You can, and I hope this helps.
Next, I hope to reach the person who is cruising this site as you contemplate quitting. You have taken the time to start researching what has worked for other people and what hasn’t. You’ve read about quit aids vs. cold turkey, physical addiction, behavioral addiction and triggers. You have looked at mouth cancer pictures until you are sick to your stomach. You are looking for something that says it is absolutely possible to quit using tobacco and nicotine. It is possible and I hope this helps.
I’m also writing this speech for me. Talking, reading and posting about quitting, whether it was about my own quit or helping someone else, has been very therapeutic for me over the past 100 + days. I believe that it contributed a large part to my success. I expect that writing this will give me the jump start that I need as I set my sights on the 2nd floor of the HOF.
I’m not going to tell my entire story; if you have read 5 HOF speeches then you have probably heard a story like mine 4 times. I tried dip for the first time when I was 13 after being given a dip from and older and, of course, much “cooler” person than myself. Fast forward 25 years and you have a 38-year-old tobacco addict chewing a ½ can to 1 can of Copenhagen a day with no hope of quitting. Unlike a lot of people who denied it, I knew and admitted I was an addict and didn’t think I would ever be able to quit. I was wrong.
I found this site on Day 2. I was somewhere in the vicious cycle of either wanting to kill someone or wanting to curl up like a baby and cry. I was worthless at work and avoiding everybody. All I could think about was how bad I wanted a dip and how easy it would be to get buy a can. I googled, quit dipping tobacco and the site that would change my life appeared. This site and more importantly the members are the reason I’m still quit today.
So what happened between day 2 and day 102, and how did I make it? I followed a formula for success. I followed a road map that was left behind by many people who had traveled this road before me. A wise person once said, “Learn from your mistakes.” A smarter person said, “Learn from the mistakes of others, it’s easier.” We all know what doesn’t work when trying to quit; we’ve been there before. Now, you have a tried and true formula for quitting that the founders and veterans of this web site have developed. It is a winning formula if you use it.
INGREDIENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL QUIT
The Philosophy – We quit one day at a time here. I subscribed to this philosophy and I think it made my quit easier. I committed myself to doing whatever it took to get through the day without dipping. My day ended when I went to sleep, because that was the only time I wasn’t thinking about dip constantly. On Days 1, 2 and 3 I went to bed at 7:30 or maybe earlier.
Daily Roll Calls – Posting roll is your daily promise to yourself and to your group that you will not use tobacco today. I posted roll religiously. I respected that it was my promise and once my name was on the list dipping that day was not an alternative. There is some powerful psychological effect to doing this, in fact some guys only post roll and that is all they need. Do it every single day. Do it on weekends. Do it when you are on vacation. No computer, call a quit brother and have him post your promise. In meetings all day, send a text message to a quit brother to post your promise. Do it and then do whatever it takes to keep the promise.
Reading, Posting, Reading, Posting – Quitting tobacco is, was and probably always will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Non-addicts cannot understand what you are going through when you are quitting. My wife loves me and supports me 100%, but she has no idea how hard this is. My dad loves me with all his heart and would give anything for me to quit using tobacco, but it is impossible for him to know what I was going through. The members on this site know what you are going through. They are going through it, or have already been through it. Let them know how you are feeling, what you are struggling with, what is making you feel better. Read about their struggles and solutions. It helps, trust me.
Have an anti-cave plan – There is not one addict that is too strong, tough, cool or smart to avoid that day, night or moment when nicotine is trying to get the best of them. I put together an anti-cave plan early in my quit and promised myself that under no circumstances would I take a dip without going through my list and getting permission from everyone on it. The list included my mom, my wife and without a doubt multiple quit brothers. Unfortunately, making the list isn’t enough… you have to use it… BEFORE you give up on your quit. I did and it worked. If you are serious you will do this and you will make the calls before you cave.
Participate/Get Involved – Get to know your quit group and the supporters. If you are comfortable with the people in your group, then calling them in the moment of truth will be easy! I’ll be the first to admit that putting names in my cell phone like SirDipNoMore, Manimal, IBHomeboy, Beaveman, The Bear Killer and Bill (thanks Bill for having a regular name) can feel a little bit goofy. Calling one of them and telling them that you are Blove is even worse, especially when your wife is standing there. The point is, if I didn’t know these guys before I needed them… I’m not sure I would have made a call when I needed them.
Help Others – From the very beginning of your quit to the end of time, you can help another brother stay off the can. All you have to do is let them know you are there and you support what they are doing. PM them, support and inspire them. Tell them what works for you and what is hard for you. By the way, I guarantee that by helping others you will help yourself and your quit…. trust me! For those of you that have been around a while, you know this was a big part of my quit because I almost never shut up. Unfortunately for all of you, I plan on spending more time helping others as I climb the stairs to the 2nd floor.
HOF – It’s no different then a business goal or a sports goal. It’s something to shoot for. It’s an accomplishment that you can feel extremely proud about reaching. You have worked damn hard to reach this level. Celebrate with your family and friends. MAKE IT A BIG DEAL… because it is. It really, really is.
So where do I go from here? Well, that smart guy that I mentioned earlier, he also says, “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. I’ll be here tomorrow to quit using tobacco for the 102nd consecutive day. I’ll post roll and promise not to use. I’ll read about what my brothers have to say and tell them how I’m feeling. I’ll stick to my anti-cave plan if I run into problems. I’ll continue to develop the relationships that I have already started with the other members so I’m comfortable calling and leaning on them if I need to (not too mention, they are all nice guys and are pretty fun to talk to). I’ll make a point to help as many quitters (new and old) as possible. I’ll reach the 2nd floor of the HOF!!! I know what the formula for success is… why would I change it now?
Finally I wanted to thank several people for helping me get to this point and for helping me in the future, and I know you will. To 7iron, the first guy to respond to my post in the Café and the first person to educate me on the philosophy of this site. To FranPro who also helped me on that first day by telling me how to post roll and sending me to the June 2007 quit group. To Bill, who helped me on that first day and was the very first quit brother I ever spoke to on the phone. To TulsaCarGuy and Beavman… we did it together guys, from the very beginning. To Manimal the guy with that friggin hairy monkey man avatar and the guts to roll back his quit date as he approached the hall. Gutsiest move I ever saw Man!!! To IBHomeboy… my homey, you talked almost as much or maybe more than I did, which keeps it interesting. This list could go on forever and the Oscar music is starting… SirDipNoMore… funniest name to tell my wife, committed to helping others and having fun with the quit, The Bear Killer – just a good guy with good advice, congrats on your wedding. KillerAttorney, Chewie, N8theGreat, VJ, Socalquitter, etc., etc, etc….. Every other guy in the June 2007 quit group. My wife for putting up with me and my mom for having the guts and strength to quit smoking 2 weeks before I quit dip after cancer surgery, while enduring chemo and staring radiation in the face (she is on day 115). I’m sure I’m missing someone, but I’m really done now.