Negative Support From Others

I actually wrote the below post to a member of Freedom at whyquit.com a number of months ago because of someone making the comment to him that because he was such a basket case from not chewing, he should just give up. Sometimes such comments come from people near and dear to you and can become quite emotionally shattering. I’m attaching the original letter below in hopes of preparing all who read it, in the event something like this ever is said by others to you. No comment, look or stare from another person can undercut your quit. Only you can do that. The way is by simply disregarding the fact that you can NEVER TAKE ANOTHER DIP!

The comment you received is very common, at times, almost universal, where a dear family member or friend blurts out, “If this is what you are like not chewing, then for God’s sake, go back.” Most of the time the person making the comment is not really considering the implications of the statement. It is comparable to you telling someone on chemotherapy and who is in a really bad mood due to hair loss, nausea, and some other possible negative side effects, and hence, in a less than happy mood, that he or she should get off that stuff because he or she is so irritable that he or she is ruining your day. Of course, if analyzed by any real thinking person, the comment won’t be made, because most people recognize that chemotherapy is a possible last-ditch effort to save the other person’s life. The decision to stop the treatment is a decision to die. So we put up with the bad times to help support the patient’s effort to save his or her life.

What family members and friends often overlook is that quitting chewing, too, is an effort to save the quitter’s life. While others may not immediately appreciate that fact, the person quitting has to know it for him or herself. Others may never really appreciate the concept, but the person quitting has to.

One thing I did notice over the years was that, while the comment is made often, it is usually from a spouse, a child of the chewer, a friend, a co-worker or just an acquaintance. It is much more uncommon that the person expressing it is a parent or even a grandparent. I think that says something. Parents are often used to their kids’ outbursts and moods, having experienced them since they were infants. The natural parental instinct is not to hurt them when they are in distress and lash out, but to try to protect them. I think it often carries over into adulthood and is a very positive statement about parenthood.

A tragic situation is often experienced when a person does actually encourage a family member or friend to chew and then, months, years or decades later, the person dies from a chewing induced illness. Sometimes the family member then feels great guilt and remorse for thinking that he caused his loved one to relapse to chewing way back when he or she remembers making the remark. But you know what, they didn’t do it. The chewer did it to him or herself. Because in reality, no matter what any person said, the chewer had to quit for him or herself and stay off for him or herself. How many times did a family member ask you to quit while you were still chewing and you didn’t listen? Well if you don’t quit for them, you don’t relapse for them either. You quit for yourself and you stay off for yourself.

© Joel Spitzer 1988
The original article has been modified to be more relevant for dippers and chewers.

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