Wow, 100 days already gone. Who am I kidding, this 100 days has been the longest, most stressful, most aggravating, and most frustrating 100 days of my life. They have also been some of the most fulfilling.
Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. I come from a family of smokers. My mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, some cousins, brothers and sister all smoke. I’m just about the only member of my my family that never did it. I was however the second member of my family that was a dipper. My first experience with Copenhagen was with my grandpa. He was a smoker and a dipper. Most of the time he would have a dip in while he was smoking. I remember always seeing the cans of cope in the refrigerator and he kept a coffee can next to his chair, filled with paper towels, so he had somewhere to spit. He dipped right up until he died at age 83.
My next experience with nic was when I was 14 years old and I had just moved to live with my dad in Arkansas. For whatever reason, either he thought country boys all needed to know how to chew, or he was going to break me of it before I got started, whatever the reason, he bought me a pouch of Beach-Nut. It was ok I guess, but I never really got hooked on it. I did it now and then when fishing, hunting, or hanging out with friends that dipped skoal, but it was never something I felt that I needed. That casual use lasted about a year and a half, and then one day I just didn’t do it anymore.
Fast forward to when I’m 20. I’m in the Marines and I work on the avionics systems of the CH-53 helicopter and most of the guys I work with are dippers. I pick up a pouch of Beach-Nut and start chewing again. Well, the spit with Beach-Nut was just to much when I was working out on the flight line, so I decide to give Copenhagen a try. Wow, what a difference. The first time I did it I had to lay down in the back of a helicopter after spitting it out. I was spinning like crazy and thought I was gonna puke. I wish that had stopped me right there, but it didn’t. I forced myself to keep dipping, and that was when I got hooked. The nic took over and I became a full time user.
I meet my future wife when I was 26, and working in a country bar as a bartender. She knew I dipped, and thought it was gross, but never really got on me about it. After we got married and decided to have our first child, she told me that she wanted me to quit. I told her that I would be quit by the time our baby was born. That statement ended up being the first time I ever lied to her. I spent the next 15 and a half years as a ninja dipper. I would get caught now and then, but would always say how sorry I was, and that I would quit for real this time, I swear. I think the longest I ever actually quit during that time period, was however long it took me to get to the store after I emptied a can.
What finally caused me to wake up was a doctors visit for a bad cold. When the doctor was examining me, she looked at my throat and asked if I used tobacco. With my wife sitting there next me, thinking I had been quit for a year, I told her that I can quit a couple weeks before. Of course that was a lie, and I had a dip in 30 minutes before we got to the office. The doctor told me that she didn’t like some odd patches of skin inside my mouth, and that it looked like it could be something bad. Right there I swore that I would never dip again. She referred me to an oral surgeon who checked me out. By the time I got to his office, I had not dipped for around 10 days. After he looked me over, he gave me the news that I appeared to be fine, and that it didn’t appear to be cancer. What a relief that was, I was so happy, and now that I was cleared, I could start dipping again….. Wait, WTF, I had just had the scare of my life, and I was all ready to go back to dipping. How hooked on this shit was I?
When I got home I started looking online for advice on quitting, how long it would take to get over the cravings, and how long it would be before I would feel normal again. I stumbled across an article on killthecan.org about what to expect when you quit dipping. I read several stories and then worked my way over to the forum. I posted up a quick note on the General Discussions page, and got a quick reply from a couple guys, and then a reply pointing me to the May 2016 group. The next day I made my first roll post at day 11 of my quit. I had a few screw ups where I didn’t post roll, or posted late my first week on the site. Fortunately I had a couple guys bust my balls and get me back in line. I haven’t missed a roll since, and I don’t think I’ve posted late. Over the next few weeks I forced myself to spend more time on the site, and try to get more involved in the discussions. When I finally told my wife about it, she was shocked that I had actually joined a support group.
This journey to 100 days hasn’t been easy. There were times when I was on the verge of buying a can. Times where I did everything I could do to convince myself that a cave would be ok, and that I needed it or I would lose my mind. Times where I couldn’t imagine that I would never be able to dip again.
Now, 26 years since I started using cope, somewhere around 10,000 cans, around $40,000 wasted, I have reached 100 days nic free. That may not sound like much of an accomplishment to some people, but to me it means more than words can describe. I can’t count the number of time I paused dipping for a very brief time during that 26 years. To now be able to say that I have not had a dip in 100 days, means the world to me. Believe it or not, I am now really ok with the thought of never dipping again.
While I have to take most of the credit for finally quitting, I have to acknowledge some others. First, my Doctor to calling me out for dipping, in front of my wife, and sending me to and oral surgeon. Second, to my wife for being supportive and understanding while I was being a raging asshole for absolutely no reason, and for always keeping me stocked up on gum and seeds. Third and finally, I want to thank this site and all the quitters here. Without your support, and fear of admitting a cave, I know that I would not have made it these 100 days.
Thank you KTC and all the BAQ’s of May 2016.