You can do anything for just 1 day – Chow to chow, lights to lights
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, “I’ve quit a bunch of times before. It’s no big deal, I’ve just always started up again because of…” That was me, would probably still be me if I hadn’t found KTC and bought in to the program.
I started dipping my freshman year in college so I could get that nicotine feeling without the impact on my lungs from smoking. As a college football player, that was what was I believed mattered. Consequences? What are those? My casual dipping “habit”, expanded to a regular dipping “habit”, then expanded from there. By the time I enlisted in the Marine Corps 5 years later, I was a nearly tin-a-day dipper. In the Marines I felt like I had found my dipping Shangri-La. No judgments for packing horseshoes, camouflage clothing hid any dribbles or spills, bottles filled with brown liquid were everywhere you looked. I no longer had to hide my “habit” and expanded to dipping 1-2 tins daily for over 8 years.
However, as my mouth started to hurt a little more each time and I found myself doing increasingly irrational things to make sure I would never be without my tin, I began to think about quitting – and I tried. I bought gum and hated it. I bought replacement chew and hated it. I tried cold turkey and hated it. Each time I tried, I kept going back. Sometimes after a few days, other times a few weeks, and even made it a month or two, but each time I fell back to what had become my favorite thing. I felt trapped by what I once viewed as a friend an escape.
I found KTC while Googling things like “best ways to quit dipping” or “stop dipping” or “what are the odds I get oral cancer from dipping” and decided to check it out. I found myself initially disappointed that there wasn’t some secret acupuncture method or code word that would miraculously make me stop. There were just simple rules. 1.) Stop using nicotine 2.) Get rid of nicotine 3.) Commit each day that you will not use nicotine that day 4.) Repeat 3 and follow through. I tentatively headed over to introductions and said “Hello, I’m going to stop dipping on such and such date, are there any pointers?” I was near immediately blasted with some…intense…feedback, “What are you waiting for? If you don’t stop now, you’ll never be back. Why don’t you just grab your sack and stop now?” To which my first reaction was “I’ll quit when I want. I just bought a tin and I’m going to savor that last tin before quitting. You don’t know me, don’t come at me with that attitude” and so on. That was a real moment of clarity to me that I was willing to keep harming myself just to prove other people wrong. Maybe there was something to the idea of an addiction that needed to be broken.
So, I gritted my teeth, threw away my tin and counted day 1. I never thought I’d make 100 or 50 or 25 or maybe even 10, but each time I wrote my name on that list and made my commitment I knew I’d make it 1. Knowing that there was a group of people who were grinding alongside me, knowing that there was a group of people rendering their support, knowing that I only had to last 1 day is how I’ve made it to 100 days.
There were some times I got mad, mad at quitting, mad at life, mad at KTC, mad at other people in the group, mad at everything and I thought for sure that I would cave. Then I remembered my own word, my own commitment, just one day. Then I remembered the other people in my group who also had committed, just one day. Then I remembered the people who had offered their support, just one day. Each time I wanted to cave I made it, just one day. As those days went on, they’ve gotten easier and after 14 years I’m happier and healthier now than I’ve been for a long time. I’ve built some fun and interesting relationships and I’m staying quit for the rest of my life just one day at a time.
Thanks Roy for reaching out via text I was shocked how much it meant to believe someone else cared if I quit, thanks PAB for rattling my cage and accelerating my quit and most of all thanks November quitters for making it through this slough with me. Without any of you I’d likely still be “trying” to quit.