Nine years. One hundred and eight months. Three thousand, two hundred and eighty five days. Nine years. Right now, I’m twenty three years old. Nine years ago, at the ripe age of 14, I had my first experience with nicotine. I remember it vividly…
I was a freshman in high school, riding home from an ice hockey game that we had just dominated. Some of the older dudes on the team were all throwing in what they called “lippers”. In all honesty, I had no idea what it was, but as anyone who’s ever gone to high school will agree, I didn’t want to look like an idiot, so when they offered me a “pinch”, i took it and did what they told me. Skoal Wintergreen Longcut. Here’s the part in the Anti-Tobacco commercial where a booming James Earl Jones type voice would come on and talk about the dangers of “the drug”, and then they show pictures of what people who dip for a long time look like without lower jaws. But that didn’t happen…only after a few minutes of half spitting/half drooling like a mongoloid, the weirdest thing happened. I couldn’t feel my legs…but in the good way. My head started spinning, i could barely sit up straight…it felt like i was drunk….it felt awesome.
Nine years later, i’m dipping 1-2 cans a day. I start my mornings with a shower and a lipper. I throw another lip in on the drive to work…driving without nicotine? Be serious. I work a desk job, 8 hours a day behind a computer. That’s at least 4 lippers. The ride home? One more lipper. Making dinner – time for a dip. Oh good, the (insert Philly sports team name depending on season) play tonight…better run out to get another tin. And of course, no matter how tired i am…no matter what time i’m about to go to bed….i gotta have my ‘last dip of the night’.
Now, i never got to the point where i was hiding my habit from my loved ones. Dipping didn’t force me to make a choice between my relationships and my habit. Dipping didn’t burn a hole the size of a tin in my wallet. None of these things were ever a problem for me. The reason i quit has nothing to do with any of that. I quit because i was scared.
I was scared because I had tried to quit before, and couldn’t. I was scared because when i tried to quit, i’d use anything negative in my life as an excuse to stop quitting. I was scared because i didn’t just want dip anymore, i NEEDED dip. I was scared because dipping wasn’t just something i did anymore, it wasn’t just a bad habit for me….dip became a part of who i was…and that was fucking scary.
100 days later, and here i am. For the first time in 3,285 days, I’ve gone 100 consecutive days without the tiniest trace of nicotine. I look back on the past 100 days in search of a day that i could honestly nail down as ‘the day’ that it got easier. The bad news is that i can’t do that. Yes, the first week of physical withdrawal was pure hell. Yes, it was a little bit easier after that first week. But for me to say that after X number of days, the weight was lifted, would be a lie. Every single one of these 100 days, I have had to make a conscious decision to not have nicotine. Some days it’s a hell of a lot easier to make that decision. Other days….not so much.
The good news is that I was never alone. As cliche as it sounds, knowing that if i really needed to talk to someone about what i was feeling I had a few dozen people going through the exact same thing as me made a world of difference. I have never met any of the people on this site. I’ve only spoken to a handful over the phone. But just knowing that at the drop of a hat, I could call anyone from our group and have them talk me down from the dipping ledge, was a huge relief. For that, I am eternally grateful. I’d like to take a second and acknowledge some of the people that helped me along the way.
First of all, Chewie – your persistent messaging from the second i logged on to this site was the spark that started the fire….thank you so much for the first supportive kick in the ass.
WildWildBill – for being the first of many from my group to make me feel a part of it and for being the rock in our group…..Mount Holly represent.
CrazyAces, Loot, PintoBean, SkoalDaddy, and everyone else in the Jan. 2007 Pre-Hall group – Thanks for listening to me bitch from day 1 to 99, for the friendly shit talking, for the motivating comments, and for going through this with me. I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you. I love you all…no homo….ok, maybe a little homo for some of you…
Seriously, there’s no way i could have gone through this without the knowledge that i would have to come in here and try to explain myself if i caved…and then be completely and totally destroyed by each one of you for being such a bitch….we gave each other all sorts of shit, but we knew why we were all here, and nothing came between that. I hope that i can return the favor of being there for someone during their quit, because having someone there for me is the most reassuring thing during mine.
100 days down, and only the rest of my life to go. As the ol’ saying goes, one day at a time.