Updated: May 30, 2022
Stopped using tobacco
I started consistently using chewing tobacco when I was 18 years old. I thought it was cool at that time but like millions of others, I became addicted.
Stressed...put a dip in
Sad...put a dip in
Partying...put a dip in
I used it to suppress my appetite to help my body dysmorphia, mask my feelings, and get that feeling of pleasure.
I joined the U.S. Army when I was 24 and this took my addiction to new levels. Suddenly everyone around me was either smoking or using chewing tobacco as well. I was buying log after log of Copenhagen Straight.
When you are out in the field it can be miserable. Training does not stop for rain, snow, heat, or anything for that matter. The tobacco helps you stay awake when you are forced to operate on minimal sleep and gives you a small semblance of pleasure as you prepare for war. When almost every pleasure is stripped away you hold on to the one you do have.
Then I deployed. You are in a foreign country with heightened threat levels at all times. Running overnight missions, pulling guard, climbing mountains. The stress is unparalleled. Now I am alternating cigarettes and dip constantly chasing any feeling of escape from this place and just trying to will myself through it.
Quitting was the farthest thing from my mind. I had excuse after excuse to keep going.
After I got out I continued the habit. I had a couple of reprieves where I tried to quit. 3 months here, 6 months there, a few days at a time but it never really stuck and one dip would bring it all back.
I was easily going through a can per day.
Luckily for me, a coworker helped me get a prescription that helps you quit. I took it for two weeks followed all of the instructions and never looked back.
That was 2.5 years ago. I was purchasing a can a day at $5 per can.
$5 x 365 days = $1,825 per year
$1,825 per year x 2.5 years = $4,562.50
Beyond the monetary gains from kicking the habit, I no longer needed to use tobacco as a crutch.
Instead of masking the stress, I deal with it
Instead of masking the sadness, I deal with it.
Quitting is hard, and asking for help is hard but it is worth it.
2. Quit drinking alcohol
If you are a person that can have 1-2 drinks and be perfectly content well congratulations. I am not that person I am more like Frank the Tank.
One goes down, then another, then another, and before I know it I am drunk.
My family has a history of alcoholism. One parent crushes a six-pack daily and the other mix their alcohol in a 64oz big gulp cup.
The writing was on the wall for me:
Having a bad day...grab a six-pack
Something to celebrate...grab a six-pack
Bored...grab a six-pack
I was getting drunk on Friday, sleeping all of Saturday away, and killing all momentum towards my goals. My weekends were a complete waste. Sure I could convince myself it was all in good fun but for me, I was using alcohol the same way I used tobacco and it was to hide the underlying issues.
When I got serious about creating this blog and my YouTube channel I knew I needed to quit drinking if I wanted to have any chance to accomplish my goals.
I quit giving into the smallest amount of peer pressure. I quit using my weekends to escape my feelings. It has been two months since I have had a drink.
I don't think that I will never drink alcohol again but I won't let it be the reason I fail. I have things I want to accomplish and alcohol won't help me get there.
My weekends now look just like my weekdays. My routine stays the same and I stay productive.
3. Quit playing video games
I love video games. I can play them for hours and that is precisely my problem. Hours of being productive towards something real were lost in a virtual escape. I used to get home from a day at work and that is the first thing I would want to do.
You can see a recurring theme here. All of the things I have eliminated so far I was using as an escape from real life. Look I have no problem with video games in general but if you are like me and they have become an hours-on-end escape from things you don't want to deal with you might want to address it.
My time is now spent consuming content that will make me better. Reading books, watching videos on topics I need to improve, and completing SkillShare classes.
It is filled with quality time with my wife. Finding someone that loves you and stands by you through it all should be cherished. Give them the love and attention they deserve and never take them for granted.
It is filled with enjoying my life. The real one.
Get to a place where you don't want to be distracted from the life you have.
4. Accepted responsibility for my problems
This mindset shift was the most important of all. It took almost losing the most important thing in my life for it to happen but I am so thankful that it did.
I had become one of those people who blamed their past for their problems.
I had become one of those people who blamed anything but myself for my problems.
It is so much easier to pass the blame to someone else as an excuse for why you do the things you do.
My childhood wasn't perfect so I act this way
My relationships haven't been perfect so I act this way
My friendships never lasted so I am anti-social now
It is hard to admit the role you play in these things. Relationships and friendships are two-way streets.
Did the way I acted growing up contribute to how my childhood was?
What role did I play in those relationships going bad?
Did I contribute to my friendships not lasting?
These are the questions I started asking myself. Realizing I contributed to all the problems in my life gave me the ability to take steps to address and fix them.
The past no longer holds any power over me. It has taught me lessons I needed to learn and for that I am thankful but I will not dwell on it anymore.
I have a very long way to go but I am looking forward to the journey. I hope this blog helps inspire people to improve their lives and we can embark on this journey together.
What is holding you back from achieving your goals?
Do you have the courage to change it?