We came, We saw, we talked to anyone who wanted to hear about the great place that is KTC.  The most important thing I can say is for all of you who ponied up cash to make it happen, THANK YOU.  You have paid it forward more than you will ever know, for that please sit back and feel good about your self for a second.  If one person quits dipping because of us being there it was a success.  I wanted to put some thoughts out there before I get back into daily life as you know we tend to forget a lot of what we did.  These are just my thoughts, what I thought of what I saw so please take them as such.

My overall impression is that we reached some people who want to help people quit.  There were people from all different places, mostly public health industry, but for the most part all did something on a local level where they work.  My overall impression is that most people work on prevention, trying to keep people from ever starting.  My opinion is that is only half the battle.  It doesn’t matter if tobacco is legal or not, people who want will find ways to get it.  I think most come to a point that they want to quit, they have no idea how.  The problem is when they do,  where can they find the help?  I’m no professional, but I am an addict.  When I quit I needed help and I knew it.  The oral surgeon gave me Chantix, I took it for a couple of weeks but in the end I’m not sure it did anything to help me quit.  The one thing I remember about all of the commercials is them pushing the support they provided, and if you ever used this drug and the support you know it isn’t much.   They have quit coaches, but when you call them you can hear them read from a script.  I’m not a health professional and never will be, but I can tell you that what the drug provided did little to nothing for me.  I can tell you from the view of an addict, the support I have received from other addicts has done much more.

I also heard a lot about the need for doctors and dentists to engage users and get them to quit.  While they do a good job of that, I disagree with what comes next.  When someone says to them they want to quit,  what comes next is where we differ.  They tout a couple of websites, and they talk about treatment in two phases.  They talk about breaking the habits, the chewing or oral fixation, and the addiction.  I think they then take the easy way out, the tell them the same we do, get seeds, gum, etc to help “break the habit”.  The next step is a little different, they “break the addiction” by giving them a patch, gum , lozenge, whatever that has nicotine in it.  I’m sorry that isn’t breaking the addiction that is feeding it.  You hear about people going into alcohol treatment clinics, do they give them alcohol and tell them to “step down” the alcohol?  If I am drinking a fifth of Jack everyday, giving me a six-pack of Bud to “step me down”  is I am guessing not a treatment method.  If you never get off the nicotine you will eventually look for more.  You and I both know this will happen.  Of course this logic feeds into another topic heard at the summit, “harm reduction”.

There are many analogies you could use here, so I will not bore you.  This is a novel idea but this just sounds like I am just killing myself slower.  If you don’t get an addict off the drug you will never get them to completely quit.  You keep wearing that patch or using that gum and eventually it will not be enough.  And let’s say you do finally stop using them, no matter how little nicotine you were getting, you still have to get it out of your blood.  The fog of getting off nicotine isn’t less because you used “less” nicotine, it is still the same amount of time and the same amount of pain.  The problem is everyone wants a pill for everything or just the least painful way. 

I heard a lot about support while there, most of it through the tobacco quit line and also a couple of web sites.  There was one site that was used to help, most if not all users stopped using it after six months.  From my own experience, if I stopped posting roll after six months, I would be back using again.  I am an addict and will never be cured so that means I need to quit new everyday.  I also asked some questions about the quit lines, most are staffed with health “professionals” that will help you.  The problem with that is most of them never put a dip in their mouth, never worried about when they could get that next dip.   They never fought that battle and think people will stay quit because they answered the phone with a smile and a script.  I can tell you if a quitter called me and needed help staying off nicotine, it will not be with a smile.  It will be reminding them of being a slave to a can and remind them they signed roll, they gave their word.  And if you did fail, let;s think about what happens.  If I give you a positive feeling, if I tell you its going to be ok, you probably will do it again.  Think about it, don’t we do things that make is feel good?  If there are no consequences for doing dumb things, will we ever stop?  No, so if I keep going back to dip because I know you will tell me it’s ok, what incentive do I have to stay off of it? 

I’m not a medical expert, never will be.  But I can tell you I would take the advice of someone who has lived my addiction before that of  someone getting paid to read off a pice of paper.  I know the method I learned here is not for everyone, but there are people signing up daily to get help quitting so it tells me it works pretty darn well.  I know we did get a lot of positive feedback, so what was created here works, you just need to be open to using the method.

One last item to share, I did not get to use the site much at the summit, but I did sign into chat as a guest while doing a demo.  I was convinced that no matter who was in there would jump in and help.  So with this person sitting next to me watching, I signed into chat as “wishtoquit”.  I acted like a new quitter and I talked about wanting to quit.  Well I got help and I got it fast but I got something else which is what I wanted to leave that person watching with, we go all in with quitting today.  I was told to flush the can, sign up, and post roll.  The more questions I asked the more I got told I need to quit.  I was told it would not be easy, quitting would suck for a while and I need to be ready.  Two things came out of the exercise, the person getting the demo walked away knowing the site works like we touted it.  I learned something important for myself to, we don’t all get along, probably never will.  What I can say with a lot of certainty is that when it comes to my staying quit, I know each and every person on this site would help me at a moment’s notice.  And that is the reason why we keep getting new quitters.

I think we did what we all wanted, we wanted to get it out there so people know there is a place that works if you WANT to quit.  Yes, the method is raw and not for everyone.  With that being said, I would gladly put this method up against any other and I know without a doubt we would be most effective.  I hope we can do more of these, I know it will be hard from a cash standpoint but I think we as a group offer a lot and we can have a major impact on people who want to quit.

I hope that paints a good picture of what the perception is and I hope we changed many of them.  We should all be proud of the job we do here everyday, I have a feeling we are in for big things.  Thank you for allowing me to attend on behalf of some badass quitters.

klark – day 568