“My husband can’t stand it when I chew – that is why I quit.” “My wife is trying to quit, so I will stop just to support her.” “My kids want me to quit so I quit for them.” “My doctor told me not to chew as long as I am his patient, so I quit to get him off my back.” “I quit for my dog.”
All these people may have given up chewing, but they have done it for the wrong reason. While they may have gotten through the initial withdrawal process, if they don’t change their primary motivation for abstaining from chewing, they will inevitably relapse. Contrary to popular belief, the important measure of success in chewing cessation is not getting off of chewing tobacco, but rather the ability to stay off.
A dipper may quit temporarily for the sake of a significant other, but he will feel as if he is depriving himself of something he truly wants. This feeling of deprivation will ultimately cause him to return to chewing. All that has to happen is for the person who he quit for to do something wrong, or just disappoint him. His response will be, “I deprived myself of my chewing tobacco for you and look how you pay me back! I’ll show you, I will take a dip!” He will show them nothing. He is the one who will return to chewing and suffer the consequences. He will either chew until it kills him or have to quit again. Neither alternative will be pleasant.
It is imperative for him to come to the realization that the primary benefactor in his giving up dipping is himself. True, his family and friends will benefit, but he will feel happier, healthier, calmer and in control of his life. This results in pride and a greatly improved self-esteem. Instead of feeling deprived of chewing tobacco, he will feel good about himself and appreciative to have been able to break free from such a dirty, deadly, powerful addiction.
So, always keep in mind that you quit chewing for you. Even if no one else offers praise or encouragement, pat yourself on the back for taking such good care of yourself. Realize how good you are to yourself for having broken free from such a destructive addiction.
© Joel Spitzer 1984
The original article has been modified to be more relevant for dippers and chewers.