2009 HOF Speeches

The Gift – Time Is Your Choice

KTC Logo - RedAs I wrap up a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos (never thought I play that ridiculous game again) I have a smile on my face. For since my quit, I’ve had time to make memories with my family and friends. Time I’d have spent in the can or in the car or in the woods or in my shop or in front of the computer trying to squeeze in that last dip. I’m smiling at the wonderful gift I’ve given myself –time to live.

The road to hell
You see, I’ve dipped Kodiak for over twenty years now starting with a drunken college party. Then I found out my college roommates dipped, my childhood friends dipped, even my new neighbors dipped. It was like a brotherhood… a very twisted brotherhood… I’ve seen smokers do the same. I was a light addict… you know 3-4 tins a week … no biggie. But about 9 years ago, I realized I really was an addict as I tried to quit the first time before my wife moved in. Since then I’ve given quit 5 decent attempts including: marriage – 1.5 months; birth of 1st son – 1 month; hospitalized for stomach issues – 2 months; visit to the dentist – 80 days. That last one was a real pisser… I caved after a few drinks knowing there was a long drive home.

The Gauntlet
I had a lot of crap dumped on my lap over the last 6 months… making my quit difficult yet all that more of an accomplishment. In the past, I would have found excuses to dip for:
being laid off as the sole bread winner; taking care of my pregnant wife in the hospital for over a month; the birth of my second son; starting a new job; losing my dog and 13 yr companion (Jake — as in Bigjake). Almost sounds like a sad country song, but it was my life through the quit.
If you’re an addict, you’ll recognize these as significant triggers to push you back into a habit.
For me – no more excuses.

The Difference
I suppose we’d all like to credit someone … but damn it. I’m starting with me. The quit is about a choice… no one can choose this for you.
Step 1 – Acceptance. I am and will always be a nicotine addict. Hell, it took til Day 76 before I gave away my $400 humidor and cigars. Now that I know I am an addict, the choice is mine. I choose to be a better man, be there for my kids, my wife and myself. Only I make those memories and not miss them for another bullshit pinch.
Step 2 – Get help, Don’t be a cowboy. I thought I was macho enough to go it alone…I wasn’t. It didn’t work. Share your quit with family and friends but don’t expect their complete understanding. Bless my wife –she handled this perfectly and gave support without judgment. Find fellow quitters who can hold you accountable and understand. Using QSX and the quit group was my choice to be held accountable and get help. Whether it was Trapper giving advice on fricken’ heartburn, Tom posting for me on vacation or Cathy hunting me down on my day count… My fellow November Quitters drug me thru crap …usually just by posting the same shit that was happening to me or making me laugh at myself. It’s nice to know you’re not alone. Thank you to all my November bros and sistas for your support.
Step 3 – Get back up. Like I tell my 5 yr old… Life’s not about fallen’; it’s about getting back up. If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t have made it through the Gauntlet.

Every Day
93 days ago, I bulleted a list in the corner of my home office whiteboard:
2 boys, 1 Dad, 1 Love, ? Grandkids, missed opportunities, gums, headaches, breath, cost —7 Days– Make it just one more!
Today, that corner remains with 1 important change—100 Days. It will remain there for a very long time.

I will now take our success and guide a college friend to the QSX. He’s the one who introduced me to dip, it’s the least I can do.
Bigjake — Chip

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

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