One thousand days ago, I woke up and made a decision to quit all forms of nicotine, and have done so every day since. That’s one thousand consecutive days of making a conscious choice: I am not going to going to use nicotine today. Pretty simple. Quitting wasn’t always an easy choice, especially in those early days, but it certainly was no accident.
When I found KTC two or three days into my quit I was desperate for a lifeline. Anything that could help to ease the constant, gnawing craves and the pea soup fog that had settled over my brain. I was struggling just to cope, and I figured any sort of tips and tricks I could glean would certainly be of some use. I quickly discovered that no such tips or tricks exist, but something far more powerful does.
Allow me to preface this by saying none of the advice I offer is particularly new or groundbreaking. Do a little digging in any pre-HOF month or through just about any HOF speech and you will find many equivalent sentiments from literally thousands of other quitters. Plenty of truths and wisdom about quitting has been written ad nauseum in this space. Perhaps the one perspective I can add is a distillation of the core fundamentals that comprise the Quitter’s Mindset. As in, I came here looking for “tips and tricks” and quickly found a literal foolproof mindset that I can personally guarantee 100% success – if you follow it unfailingly.
The Quitter’s Mindset
#1 Post roll first thing each day. No excuses. If you have a pulse and the means to access some form of electronic communication, you can get on roll and make your promise. To be clear, this isn’t a rule. This is something you already understand must happen of your own volition. You don’t have to post roll. You want to post roll. See the difference? Strive for the latter, even if you must fake it for a while at first. Posting roll and making your promise first thing will become the foundation of your quit today, and every day thereafter. If you’re still skeptical about the efficacy of posting roll first thing, go look at any month that started 1,000+ days ago. Look at the timestamps from quitters posting their promise. I can all but guarantee that the overwhelming majority of them consistently do so in the first part of their day. Every. Single. Day. The ones that were lackadaisical about it early on have long since faded. Do yourself a favor now and make a habit of posting roll first thing.
#2 Focus only on today. Once you’ve given your word, center all your energy on keeping your word for the rest of the day. Yes, ‘one day at a time’ is preached far and wide here, but until you come to understand and embrace what that truly means, you must keep your sights set firmly on doing everything in your power to be quit today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, and certainly not forever – just today. Quitting in 24 hour increments is far less daunting, even for a seasoned quitter, than thinking of being quit in terms of weeks, months, and years ahead. 24 hours is finite and totally within our control. Worry about today, today. Worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
#3 Invest in your own quit by investing in others. I repeat: invest in your own quit by investing in others. Connect with other quitters on here. New and veteran alike. Your addiction desperately wants you all alone so you can be more easily manipulated. That gets a whole lot harder when you feel personally accountable to other quitters. It seems a bit odd at first to be trading PM’s and sharing your mobile number with total strangers on the internet, but it is one of the single greatest tools you can have in your arsenal.
Plenty of guys quietly assure themselves that they don’t need help. Guess what? They’re wrong. At some point, every single one of us needs a pickup. Even if you’re the one picking up a fellow brother, that alone becomes high octane fuel for your quit. Just as some guys think they don’t need any help, others think they can get all the help they need from their family, friends, church groups, etc. Also wrong. Having supportive friends and family is great, but unless they are battling nicotine addiction right alongside you, there are very noticeable limits to the actual support they can provide. Besides, they probably knew you and accepted you during your dipping days. If you were a ninja dipper, you long since figured out how to deceive them. On KTC, we’ve seen it all before. The lies. The bullshit. The rationalizations and addict-speak. We’ve also seen the mile of shit you must wade through in those early days of quit. The struggles and the triumphs. Your wife or friends might think the world of you, but when it comes to you as an addict, no one knows you better than KTC.
Finally, I will add how fortunate I am for some of the genuine and lasting friendships I’ve made here (MiBS shoutout). Barely a day goes by where I don’t connect with at least one person from my core group. Sure, the conversations have largely drifted away from quitting at this point, but to a man, we all have each other’s backs and understand explicitly what it was that originally brought us together. Having connections like that simply cannot be understated. I would literally rather die than disappoint these guys by caving. Plain and simple.
#4 Be deliberate with your quit. As I mentioned previously, you don’t quit by accident and you sure as shit won’t stay quit by accident. It is a deliberate, conscious choice that you must make every single day. Treat your quit with the respect it deserves, and do it with purpose and pride. Never take your quit for granted, even when things start getting easier, for complacency is your addiction’s primary weapon to win you back. Make no mistake, nicotine addiction plays the long game here. Once you’ve grown complacent, it’s only a matter of when, not if, you will eventually find yourself scraping the bottom of a tin. Complacency killed a near 4 year quit for me over ten years ago. I know how easy it is to get lulled into a false sense of security. Once the fire inside dies down to barely a flicker, it doesn’t take much to allow a cave to happen. The best way to ensure that never happens to you is to quit deliberately and with purpose each day.
That, in a nutshell, is the core mindset you need to adopt if you have any designs on being a long-term quitter. If you’re thinking about quitting, or have just begun your journey, know that you can do this. It won’t be easy, but it will be terribly worthwhile. Invest your time and energy on facing your addiction head-on, using the advice given above. I learned each of those facets of quitting in my first 100 days, and I’ve spent the following 900+ days proving that they work flawlessly.
Since this is technically a HOF speech, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some other folks their proper due. I posted a 1,000 today, because of my fellow Stone Cold Quitter brothers in November, ’14. To post up each day next to the same group of guys is reassuring and reinforces the fact that what we do here actually works. I’m fortunate to have landed in such a strong month stocked with bad-ass quitters. It’s truly been an honor to quit alongside these guys. I’m also thankful for the vets that set me straight in those early days. It didn’t matter if they were a few weeks ahead of me or a few years, the knowledge they dropped plus a well-timed pat on the back or kick in the ass is precisely what I needed. They lit the way, and I am forever grateful.