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Flavius Victor

Three Years

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Three Years

By: Bluesman

 

 

My father told the most hilarious jokes. He could bring an entire dining room to tears, literally, with even the lamest joke. It had something to do with the way he told the joke, his ridiculous fake accents, his ability to make an “off-colored” joke funny, even in mixed company. Perhaps more amazing was the fact that his humor and good-nature connected with everyone in his “audience.” He would invite the president of the local bank, to dine with a neighbor who worked in the local greenhouse. He would tell one of those jokes about the priest, the rabbi, and the Baptist minister … and have all three religions represented at the dining room table. He could get away with telling racy jokes to the prudish, country-club types, and clean jokes to his old drinking buddies. Some people collect coins or stamps or sports memorabilia … my father collected people. His “genuineness” and love just came through when he spoke … a little twinkle in his eye, a glass of brandy in his hand, and a sly smile on his face.

 

It has taken me many years to reconnect to these memories. A few years ago, my father died of tobacco-related cancer. I watched as the surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy took his life, in a painful inch-by-inch fashion. The endless days of pain and discomfort and nausea and diarrhea and humiliation, all in the hope that he would feel “normal” for some portion of the day. At some point, he found himself fighting an unwinnable battle. His care turned to something called "pain management." His face and body were bloated and deformed from the drugs and chemo, to the point where he was almost unrecognizable to his family and friends. He had to use a cane to get around, then a walker, then a wheelchair, as his legs started to fail him. The morphine just destroyed his mind. We would have dinner together, and he would try to form words and thoughts, but he just was not making any sense. It crushed him. He was always in pain, as the morphine never seemed to keep pace with the cancer. He became bed-ridden, and his eyes fell vacant, and then just closed entirely, as he fell into a coma for more than a week. I remember listening to his irregular, laborious breathing, and how my hand would leave an indentation on his arm when I touched him. I watched as he took his very last breath. The best man in my wedding, my dearest and oldest friend, my mentor for living life … dead at 62.

 

*****

 

You came here today because you want to find some answers. You believe that you “should” quit chewing tobacco. You may even recognize that you “want” to quit chewing tobacco. Neither of these statements completely captures the truth. Here is the answer that you are looking for …

 

You have an absolute obligation to quit chewing tobacco.

 

It is an absolute moral imperative, a responsibility that you cannot avoid, an obligation owed to yourself, and your family, and even single person who has ever invested their love and trust in you. You owe it to every person who has lost their life to tobacco-related cancer, and every person who now carries that loss around with them today.

 

Modern sensibilities often force us to speak in relative terms, shying away from absolute statements, allowing for exceptions and conditions and excuses. There are no valid excuses. It is time to stop using words like “should” and “will try” and “hope I will” and even “want” … they are not enough. In fact, they are a load of crap. Of course you “should” stop chewing tobacco. You are using a product that says, on the label itself, that it will cause you to develop cancer and kill you, when used as directed. And in case you missed it the first 10,000 times on the label, here is a news flash for you -- tobacco causes cancer. You do not have to belong to the Mensa Society to recognize what you "should" be doing.

 

And likely, if you have sought out the type of support available on this website, you may also have reached the point where you really “want” to quit chewing tobacco. This product controls and manipulates your life, to the point where your belief system and self-image are dependent upon tobacco. Once you recognize the lie of tobacco, it will make you angry, and it will make you "want" to quit. But like all addicts and junkies, you continue to use the product because you "have to" and "need to," because you think that you just cannot live your life without it. You have been institutionalized by your addiction.

 

Stop telling yourself that you “should” quit or “hope to quit” or “want to quit.” These may be true, in a sense, but they are also gross understatements of your responsibility. There is nothing optional about it. You HAVE to quit chewing tobacco. You are REQUIRED to quit chewing tobacco. You MUST quit chewing tobacco. Period. No exceptions. No excuses.

 

How do you forgive yourself if you miss even one single day in the life of your daughter? How do you trade a wad of tobacco leaves for one single kiss with the woman you love? How could you value chewing tobacco more than seeing your son graduate from college or score the winning basket, or holding your first grandchild? How can you mortgage and forfeit years of love and sex and friendship and career and children and life, all for another pinch of chemically-treated, cancer-causing tobacco leaves? How can you choose death over life?

 

You can make all of excuse that you want. You can speak longingly of “hoping to quit” and “wanting to quit” and “willing to give it another try.” You can complain about the timing or the “big test coming up” or “job interview in a couple of days” or the stress of your life. It is all crap, but you probably have the luxury of time.

 

But when you are sitting in the treatment room, with the poisons of chemotherapy pulsing through your veins, and when you are trying to find the words to explain “inoperable cancer” to your child, my guess is that you will embrace the truth, and you will have a very hard time remembering all of these problems and excuses and conditions that kept you locked into the addiction. You will, ultimately, embrace the necessity and the urgency of your obligation.

 

* * * * *

 

Tobacco addiction is a condition, but tobacco use is a choice. You have the power to overcome your addiction, if you make the right choice and then take action.

 

I can make this bold proclamation because, three years ago, I was you. I chewed tobacco everyday, all-of-the-time, for more than twenty years. I have used all of your excuses and worn them out. I use to believe that I needed tobacco to live, to function as a father and a husband and a lawyer and a human being. I thought my life required tobacco. I knew I “should” quit chewing, and on some level, I even “wanted” to quit chewing tobacco. I was giving it a "try," hoping that I could do it. I was wrong.

 

From the vantage point of three years, I now recognize that I am fulfilling an absolute, moral imperative, an obligation that I owe to myself, to my wife, to my children, to my father, and perhaps even to my God. It is one of the most meaningful commitments of my life, not merely because it has freed my mind from addiction and my body from cancer-causing toxins, but because the act of keeping this commitment has restored my faith, self-discipline, will power, and capacity for self-improvement. I reinvented myself through the power of self-determination. I am who I chose to be.

 

It is said that “Excellence is a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” For more than three years now, I have kept my commitment, fulfilled my obligation, and replaced tobacco addiction with the habit of self-discipline. In this one area of my life, I have achieved a degree of excellence.

 

So now it is time for you to answer the question. Who are you? What do you repeatedly do? Do you have the courage, the character, and the testicular fortitude to fulfill your obligations and assume your responsibility?

 

In the final analysis, it is your actions, not your words and aspirations, that will define you and demonstrate who you are.

 

* * * * *

 

Matt, I have been posting on your website now for more than three years … I write and write and write and write. I have reached as deeply into my word bank as possible, but always come up empty-handed … I still have no words to adequately express my gratitude for you, your vision, and your selfless effort in maintain this website. So I will again simply say, “Thank you.”

 

To the members of this community, you must utilize this community to the fullest extent. You must make this commitment the top priority in your life. You must free your mind from tobacco addition through the power of commitment. You must not use tobacco today.

 

Free your Mind!!

 

The Bluesman

 

Postscript: This website contains a recorded history of success, generations of quitters who have taken the time to share their experience so that you can learn from it. They have said it better, and more clearly, and certainly more succinctly, than I possibly could. You can find their words by running their names through the search feature. Among some of the "old timers" who you may not be familiar with, I would suggest that you check out Calgary Mike, Jogi, Hoss, VictorE, Kroch, Hoyt, Athens, Bryce, Ted, Mex Bill, Blair, Otown Dave, JR from Arizona, Rick from Tampa, LF, Mayday, QFK, Big Dave, Northcreek, Mallowguy, Q@50, and Spongebob ... Importantly, this is only a partial list of the inspirational leaders that you will find here ... Matt has conveniently gathered their names under the caption, "Hall of Fame." I strongly encourage you to follow the HOF members from Day One through and beyond the QS Hall of Fame. They have done what you must now do. When you are done with this required reading, record your own struggles and triumphs on these pages, so that you will inspire the next generation of men and women, accepting responsibility for their actions. Good luck.

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