Virginians HOF Speech

Happy St. Patricks' Day From KillTheCan.org!I dipped snuff continuously for 40 years, having started when I was 16. Virginia is a tobacco loving state, since we grow it here. Growing up, I can recall few people who did not use tobacco in one form or another… even 80 year old women dipped powdered snuff. I had never heard the term “ninja dipper” until I came on this site; where I’m from, you don’t flaunt your use of dip, but you don’t hide it either.

I joined the Marine Corps at age 20 and dipping was not that prevalent yet. Many of the places I passed through had never heard of snuff and a lot of stores didn’t carry it. While deployed overseas, you got a crappy version of Copenhagen in a plastic can that didn’t taste great, but it was all you had. A delivery of “stateside Hagen” was truly a blessing. Flash forward 10 or so years from the early 80’s and dipping took over; if you didn’t dip, you were a minority.

I had only quit/tried to quit dipping a few times in 40 years; I was dip free for over 3 months in Boot Camp, except for a dip from the DI’s, because I was the high shooter on the range. Later, while in a Recon unit, somebody started “The Hundred Dollar Club”. By joining the club, you promised to pay each member $100 if you caved. There were soon over 10 members of this club, so there was no way I was going to pay a grand to take a dip. This lasted a month or so before the founding member received orders to another unit. While attending his going away party at a bar, we voted to disband the club immediately and sent someone to go get a can of Hagen. A few other tries here and there over the years, but none stuck. I always replaced the dip with a patch, or chewing on a cigar.

A defining moment happened during one of my tours. I served in a unit that had a very high death rate and it changed me. For 12 months, me and my team served in severe conditions, not knowing “who would be next”. It messed with my mind for 20 years, not knowing what was wrong with me. After finally “sacking up”, I went to see a shrink at the Veterans clinic. I disagreed with his diagnosis of PTSD, because I didn’t have “flashbacks”, or heightened awareness (jumpiness). My main symptoms were knowing that I would somehow die soon, and that I had zero emotions. Explosions, thunder, close-calls… none of them effected me. I have no adrenaline in my body and no fear of dying, or anything else for that matter. Turns out I have a rare type of PTSD referred to as hypo-reactive… kind of like being a machine, but knowing enough to know it sucks.

How do you get someone to quit tobacco when they already think they will soon die, and they don’t care anyway? Through counseling, I have come a long way in my battle with PTSD, but I still have no emotion and probably never will. Last year, my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He’s a stud and was already accepted to VMI and had planned on following in the “Family Business “; since 1893, the first-born son in my family has served and retired from the Marines. We have almost 110 years of uninterrupted service and my son had planned on being the 5th consecutive generation. The discipline it takes for my son to count carbs, give himself shots and check his blood sugar amazes me. Not to mention he was only 2 days past his 18th birthday when the “bomb was dropped”.

Add to this, one of my best friends from the Marines told me that his young daughter had become addicted to heroin and other drugs. I remember her as cute little princess and couldn’t believe how drugs had screwed up her life… Two kids from different fathers and stealing from her parents to support the habit. In early December, I bought a “Log” of snuff and decided it would be my last. I had been through Airborne, Combat SCUBA Diver, Mountain Warfare Instructor school, served as a Drill Instructor and I decided that I would use my military discipline to make this quit stick. No more being a punk and letting something control me. On December 18th, I quit nicotine and haven’t looked back. I didn’t know about, or take advantage of the Forum until day 80, but have posted role since.

I credit this site for giving me the tools I needed to make this quit work. My family especially appreciates that I took KTC’s advice and made the quit about me, instead of my family. In the past, when I tried to quit, I was bitter towards my family. I held them responsible for wanting me to quit… you don’t want a Marine DI to be mad at you. I also want to thank my March quit group for taking me in after an 80 day delay. I’m sure a few of them still have their “panties in a bunch” for allowing me to join, but that only makes me smile… I guess the DI in me still enjoys seeing some misery.

My advice: Get with your group and stay with your group. Read the available info on the site and put it to use. Refuse to be a punk that is controlled by a worthless substance. Pick something in your life that required discipline to conquer and use that experience to “put you over the top”. To me, nicotine is Kim Jong un… a worthless little turd that thinks he has a lot more power than he actual does. Time to smother both nicotine and Kim Jong un with a pillow.

Stay nic free my friends,
Virginian

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

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