I’m going to try and keep this as short, sweet, and to the point as I can… but I tend to ramble so bear with me…
My dipping has been through several stages over the last 13 or so years, as I’ll try to explain…
My high school years were more of an experimental period and wasn’t really by any means a habit. I first tried dipping in high school, mostly because my friends were doing it and I was really big into baseball (which in itself carries a heavy dipping stigma). My weapon of choice didn’t come in a tin but rather the infamous bags of Redman, Levi, and AppleJacks. I would throw one in occasionally during a practice or hitting the cages, and every once in awhile when I was driving. I, of course, hid it from my parents (even though my dad has been a dipper since he was 12). But one day, I made a stupid decision to have a small bit of sidehack in while going to meet my parents at my cousin’s house for a cook out. My mom caught me and didn’t really yell at me but simply stated that she was ‘very disappointed’ in me. I would have rather been yelled at honestly. Needless to stay I made a vow to ‘stop’ dipping. (At the time, I used the word ‘QUIT’ but I’ll explain my different attitude toward my choice of words later).
Fast forward approximately 3 years dip free. I’m a junior in college and in the most stressful year of engineering school. It literally felt like hell on earth and I was in a constant state of stress. I had friends that I studied with just about daily and a couple of them were dippers. I used the stress to cause me to call on my old pal ‘Redman’. I still vowed to stay away from the stuff in a tin, but used Redman occasionally for about the next year and a half. Once I was finished with college. I told myself I didn’t need it anymore because the bulk of my stress was over.
Well, that thought lasted about 2 more years. Once I started gaining more and more responsibilities at my job, I bummed a dip of skoal from my buddy who sat in the cube across from me (who also happened to go to college with me). And the buzz immediately took the edge off. And that day folks started the ‘habit’. Over the next 4 years (give or take), I dipped off and on. I would dip for a week, then stop for 2, then dip for 2 weeks, then stop for a month or two, etc… It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I realized I dipped all day every day. There were 2 stints over the last six years where I stopped for about 8 months each, only to find that stress would win the wrestling match with my will-power and I would cave.
I vowed to quit after I got married last November. That lasted maybe 2 or 3 months. My wife never knew I dipped since I was a ninja dipper around her and my family. Then came October 1, 2015. I was sitting in the office putting in a dip. I did some soul searching and asked myself ‘what the hell am I doing?’ The buzz is no longer there, it doesn’t chase the stress away, and my gums and cheeks looked like shriveled up raisins.
So I started searching the web for tools to help quitting and came across KTC. I read some of the stories and tragedies from those dippers and family members who reaped the horrible effects of mouth cancer. I literally got chills and got scared as hell. This is a feeling that I’ve had before when Googling “Mouth Cancer”, but this time was different. I realized that now I have a wife and will eventually have kids, that I have more to live for. So I decided to join the site and see if the support was what I needed to QUIT and STAY QUIT.
I learned a lot from my fellow quit brothers on KTC. I learned that with nicotine, there is no such thing as a habit. Once you start and it becomes ‘habitual’ in nature, it’s actually an ADDICTION. I came to the realization that I was an addict. I also realized that there is no shame with admitting that I am an addict and will always be an addict. I realized that when I thought I ‘quit’ before, I didn’t actually ‘quit’, I ‘took a break’. Saying that you are QUIT from nicotine is not a word to be used lightly. By saying to yourself that you are QUIT, you are making a promise to yourself and your fellow quit brothers that you will NEVER go back to using nicotine. And I don’t feel good about myself when I break promises.
So I learned to post roll every day and I never missed a day (was close once because I completely forgot with the holidays but props to Copper for texting me and making sure all was well). And as stupid as the concept may seem to the newbies, it works. There are times that the cravings hit hard and the forum kept me in check. And simply knowing that I posted roll as a promise to myself and my fellow quit brothers that I would not cave helped get me through the cravings.
Was quitting easy… no. The first few days sucked. There were a few bouts of cravings over the last 100 days, and they sucked. But mentally and physically, I’ve never felt better about my my quit. I’ve been through some ups and downs and know that there will always be cravings and temptations (because I am an ADDICT). But I also know that my willpower is getting stronger everyday and I have the resources through KTC to get the support I need when I need it.
For those who are thinking about quitting, stop thinking and do it! It will be the best decision you’ve ever made. But know you need to quit for YOU! If you quit for your wife or your kids and not yourself, your path to quitting runs along the edge of a cliff where it is more dangerous and much easier to fall off. QUIT for you and use your family and friends as support. And with you being nicotine free, they will reap the benefits.
Now I will admit that I am not the most active poster on the site. I like to consider myself a leader but more of a leader by example than a vocal leader. Sometimes through a forum support group, that doesn’t necessarily come through as well. But I post roll EDD, scroll through the convos, and take what I need and leave the rest. And let everyone who reads this know that if anyone needs to bounce questions off of or vent about their feelings, know that I will provide whatever support I can.
Day 100 and hitting the hall is bittersweet. I know I won a few battles by hitting this mark but the war is far from over. But over the last 100 days, I want to thank all my fellow DOGs and the vets for challenging each other to stay quit and providing the support and encouragement when needed. KTC is saving lives everyday, it may have just saved mine.