I quit chewing tobacco on January 5, 2017. It is a habit I developed in college that I never really gave up. I was completely and totally addicted, both mentally and physically. I think the mental addiction was worse than the physical addiction. I convinced myself I was “special” or “different” from everyone else, that I was more addicted, that I could never quit. So for two decades I never really tried.
At the time of writing this article, it has been 25 days since I have used tobacco. I am still stunned that I was able to give it up.
Two weeks after I gave up tobacco, I drafted a Facebook post to let my friends and family know I had reached an important milestone. I admitted my addiction, my weakness, and encouraged others facing a similar problem to face their weakness too.
I almost didn’t post it. It was too damn scary. I felt vulnerable. Exposed. I was revealing a personal failing, a weakness, to my friends, family, and acquaintances.
I posted it anyway, despite my reluctance and fear. What happened after that really stunned me. The post went “viral” in my circle of friends. I got over 300 likes and over 100 comments. Far and away the most responded to social media post I have ever put up. The responses were universally encouraging. I received emails, letters, and private messages as well. The overwhelmingly supportive and positive response brought tears to my eyes.
I’ve always had this misguided notion of what it means to be a “real man.” Like a lot of guys, I’ve thought that showing “weakness” wasn’t a bad idea. That people would take advantage of me. That people would look at me differently, and not in a good way.
I don’t think that way anymore. Real men can be tough and vulnerable at the same time. In fact, you aren’t a real man if you can’t show some weakness or vulnerability from time to time. You’re a coward.
I also think the vast majority of people in this world are fundamentally good people. In these dark political times, it’s easy to forget that.
And when you show a little “weakness” or vulnerability, people will rush to your side to support you, to help you, to give you aid and comfort.