It’s been a long road!
Like a lot of others on this site, my introduction to nicotine was at a very young age. In fact, I started smoking in middle school. Got caught quickly by my parents and through their financial restriction (they took my allowance away) was forced to quit due to a lack of funds. I then had a pretty big break from the nic bitch. In fact, I was 25 the next time we met. I’ll never forget it either. I was in Barstow, California for training with the Army at the National Training Center and one of my soldiers handed me a bag of Levi Garrett chaw to “try out.” I blew chunks the first time I tried it. That should have been a sign, but nope, I came back for more (still not sure why). But that is where it started, right there in that god-forsaken piece of desert. I quickly moved on to cigars, cigarettes, copenhagen, and pretty much anything I could stuff in my face that wasn’t food. I’ve always struggled with my weight, and nic was a great way to fend of the food cravings. I found benefit in dipping too. Being in a combat zone, dip will keep you awake when you’ve already been on patrol for 40+hours straight.
It wasn’t until my return home from my second deployment that dipping became a problem. I had a spitter in every family photo. I had a big chew in my lip constantly. A few years ago it even became a problem in Vegas. I mean, Vegas, really? You’ve got people chain smoking the shittiest cigarettes at almost every table in every casino, but apparently the use of copenhagen at a blackjack table presents a “Biohazard.” Yes, you heard that correctly, I was a Copenhagen chewing biohazard. (If you want the details on that, I’m happy to share at a later time). Needless to say, my non-using wife was constantly on my case to quit, and I did, several times over the last few years, if for no other reason than to get her to shut up about it. (I’m discovering that dip also made me quite an ass to my family.) However, as I was getting ready for a trip to Vegas for a convention this year (I’d already bought a log of Copenhagen for the trip) it dawned on me that this little addiction had so much control over my life that it had led me to lying/deceiving my family, being angry with my family, and was, at a minimum, a crutch for life that I was using, but for what seemed like less and less benefit each day.
So, on August 2, 2016, two days before I was to leave for Vegas for a week, I made the decision to throw out everything, all my Copenhagen, all the fake chew I’d purchased, just chucked it in the garbage. That was painful to do what with each can costing about $4, and I chucked 5 cans of cope and like 6 cans of fake stuff. Vegas was hard. I’m used to dipping when I’m there. But it had its advantages. I spent my nic withdrawal days in a hotel away from my family. I discovered my first night there that exercise does in fact help (walked the 6 miles from the strip back to my hotel). But more than anything, I discovered in those first few days that I was in fact addicted. I feel like a bad AA commercial, “Hi, my name is Rob, and I’m an addict.” “Hi, Rob.”
As of today, I am 104 days clean. I cannot say that I’ve had dip dreams as some of my brothers have, nor have I had the kind of cravings that might lead to a cave, but there are triggers that put that oh so gentle twinge in the back of my brain and I hear someone saying, “Let’s go get a dip, dude.” It is in these moments that I come back to KTC. Maybe not in that second (cause I can hear all of my quit brothers screaming obscenities in my ear), but as soon as I’m able, I come back to this site and rant, rave, bitch, moan, complain, and most of the time, just read. Read that others are enduring the same struggle, that others are coming to the realization that this is a life long commitment. I’m not a 100%er, I slacked off in the beginning, thinking, “I’ve got this, this is too easy. I don’t need to post everyday.” Since that day, I’ve had multiple occasions when cravings have hit hard enough that I can’t help but admit that I am in fact an addict, and yes, I do need to post everyday.
My current struggle is reading how well some of my brothers are doing. While I have excised that cancerous bitch nicotine out of my life, I’m now replacing it with eating (and not usually he healthiest foods). When I hear about some of my brothers making the life change of quitting and using that anger with nic and frustration to motivate them to change their diet, to spend more time in the gym, and to get their lives together, I get motivated. My quit brothers and sisters have been and continue to be a source of inspiration, and I pray that I’m able to hold on to this family for a very long time to come.
So, if you’re a current dipper and you’re lurking around this site, thinking about quitting, here is my $0.02:
If you are going to decide to quit, do it for you and no one else. This really has to be, as my brother QuietStorm says, “the most selfish thing you’ll ever do.” If you do make the decision to quit, commit to it, commit to yourself, own your quit, be addicted to quitting. The addiction, not only to the nic but the oral fixation as well, is incredibly strong, and you will need something stronger to get past it. Finally, don’t get cocky. Never for one second think, I’ve got this, I don’t need this site, cause in that moment of weakness is exactly when that nic-bitch will come back and bite you one more time. So, my future quit brothers and sisters, come on in, sit down a spell, read the writing on the walls (posts), drink the Kool-Aid, and kick that nic habit to the curb.
To my current quit brothers and sisters, the Swarm especially, but to the vets who helped me pull my head from my fifth point of contact as well, thank you. Truly and sincerely, thank you for being the right family to join, but also for being the kind of family that will give me the much needed kick in the ass when needed. I will continue to Quit Like a Mother Fucker (QLAMF) Every Damn Day (EDD) One Day At A Time (ODAAT) with each and every one of you. New target acquired, 96 days to second floor.