“I want to quit for my health. I have no pulse in my legs and my doctor says I’m going to need surgery. But he won’t even consider operating until I quit chewing. Besides this, I have had throat polyps removed and all of my doctors say I have to stop chewing.”
When I asked this person how long he had all of these chewing related problems he replied, “For many years.” Then I asked why he decided to quit now? He answered, “Because now it really hurts.”
As opposed to fear, pain is a marvelous motivator for initiating a life-style change such as quitting chewing. Fear of something that might happen may make a person think about quitting. But fear can be bargained around. Thoughts like, “Maybe it won’t happen to me,” are often used as defense mechanisms protecting the chewer’s addiction to chews. But pain is not so easily dismissed. It is here, it is now, and it hurts.
While pain can be a powerful motivator in making positive change, it can also be responsible for preventing necessary changes from being successfully attempted. The participant in the above story is a good example of this. For years he knew that his chew was slowly crippling and killing him. But any attempt to quit resulted in nicotine withdrawal symptoms. This discomfort results in taking a dip to help alleviate withdrawal. This inevitably results in relapse. So while the chewer may have solved the problem of withdrawal, the method used prolonged a much more serious problem – continuation of a powerful and deadly addiction.
While some discomfort may be involved in giving up dip, it is insignificant compared to the pain and suffering which can be caused by continuing chewing. Physical withdrawal from quitting will normally peak within three days, and totally subside within two weeks. Diseases such as heart disease, other circulatory conditions and cancers involve months or even years of long term suffering. These pains are much more severe than anything encountered while quitting. The biggest difference, though, is that these diseases have the full potential of permanently crippling or killing their victims.
Chewers are not only prone to have these major catastrophic illnesses. Due to the weakening of the body’s defense mechanisms, chewers are more frequently plagued by infectious diseases, such as colds, flu, and pneumonias. While most of these infections rarely result in permanent crippling or death, they do result in great inconveniences and discomfort. Not only does the dipper have a greater risk of these diseases, but when he does get one of them, it is more severe, and painful than it would have been if he didn’t chew. But no matter how intense the pain, the chewer will else he suffers withdrawal besides the cold.
So any chewer who is afraid of experiencing the pain of withdrawal must consider the alternative. Continuing to chew has the full potential of causing long-term suffering from causing and aggravating common infectious diseases. More significantly, chewing may eventually cause life-long, chronic suffering from diseases like cancer, and circulatory diseases. And if the chewer waits too long, a chewing induced death may be the only relief. Don’t let fear of withdrawal stop you from quitting. Withdrawal is short, and mild in comparison to the suffering caused from continuing to chew. Once you quit, you will never experience it again as long as you – NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW!
© Joel Spitzer 1985
The original article has been modified to be more relevant for dippers and chewers.