The Law of Addiction

Definition Of Addiction“Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance.”

Dippers are often furious with me because they believe I caused them to go back to chewing. Why do they think this? Well, I have this nasty habit of making a really big deal any time a clinic participant takes one dip or maybe just a few cans. The dipper feels I am so persuasive in my arguments that he has no choice but to have a full-fledged relapse. In his opinion, I forced him back to the lifetime dependency which will impair his health and may eventually cost him his life. He is convinced that if I had not made such a major issue out of the incident, he would just have dipped that one time and would never have done it again. How can I sleep each night knowing what I have done?

I sleep quite well, thank you. For, you see, I am not responsible for these people’s relapses to chew. They can take full credit for becoming dippers again. They relapsed because they broke the one major law of nicotine addiction – they took a chew. This is not my law. I am not setting myself up to be judge, jury, and executioner. The law of physiological addiction states that administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of the dependence on that substance. I didn’t write that law. I don’t execute that law. My job is much simpler than that. All I do is interpret the law. This means, by taking a chew, the dipper either goes back to full-fledged dipping or goes through the withdrawal process associated with quitting. Most don’t opt for the withdrawal.

Every clinic has a number of participants who have quit in the past for one year or longer. In fact, I had one clinic participant who had stopped for a period of 24 years before he relapsed. He never heard that such a law existed, that even after 24 years, the ex-dipper is not totally freed from his imprisonment of addiction. He didn’t understand that the day he tossed his “last” can, he was placed “on probation” for the rest of his life. But ignorance of the law is not excusable – not the way the laws of a physiological nature are written. By the American standards of justice, this seems to be cruel and unusual punishment. But this is the way things are.

Maybe instead of going to a nicotine clinic, a recently relapsed person should contact his attorney to plead his case of why he should be able to have an occasional dip when he desires. Maybe he can cheat just once, get a sympathetic jury, be judged innocent, and walk out of the courtroom a free and independent person. Surely, in pleading his case before twelve impartial people, he will probably have no problem convincing them that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. And, as he happily walks out of court a free and independent person, he will probably have an uncontrollable urge and then open a can.


Detoxification is a big word, and is a really difficult path for any drug addict. Every day is a struggle of seemingly endless confusion and physical suffering. In a drug rehab facility, detoxification involves the process of getting rid of drugs in the body. Its main purpose is to safely and effectively manage withdrawal symptoms.

Detox removes all alcohol traces and drugs from the body, in which the brain adjusts to the sudden drop of drug levels. It ensures that an individual is physically stable to start therapy.

Here are the good-to-know facts about detoxification:

  • Detoxification treatment programs assist patients during the withdrawal process and the time it takes varies from one person to another. Most detox programs take three to seven days long.
  • Detoxification should not be considered a rehab substitute or therapy. It’s only the first stage geared towards full recovery.
  • Some of the withdrawal symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. In a rehab facility, rapid dehydration is prevented with the help of healthcare professionals who monitor patients 24/7 (medically-supervised detox).

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Relapse

Avoid Triggering Situations: Avoid passing your favorite bar or hang-out places to avoid cravings to drink or join a pot session. Set effective plans on how you can handle triggering factors to prevent the cravings and avoid relapse.

Join a Support Group: One good example is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery. These social support groups help rehabilitated individuals stay in touch with all the principles they have learned during rehabilitation. These groups serve as a source of information and accountability for previous abusers to stay sober.

Participate in Aftercare: Some examples of aftercare programs include Contingency Management, Motivational Interviewing, and alumni support. These programs offer continued resources, peer support, and motivational methods for the individual to remain abstinent.

Get Active: Regular exercise and engaging in meaningful activities will help decrease cravings, boost self-confidence, and increase optimism and overall happiness.


Don’t look for loopholes in the law of addiction. You will be convicting yourself back to chewing. While it may seem harsh and unfair, to many, dipping is a crime punishable by death. Don’t try to cheat the system – NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW!

© Joel Spitzer 1983
The original article has been modified to be more relevant for dippers and chewers.


  1. This was written back in 2013, one year before I started my quit of 99 days. I caved in and 4 years later I started my quit once again, this time with 491 days under my belt, I can honestly say that it only took one Dip.

    It is weird because when I caved, I would find ways to justify the behavior, then I would run out of justification and just put it aside, no reasoning just reflex, one after one dip until it became a can and a half a day, just like before.

    To be honest, when I tried quitting before, I was not ready. I mean I was very proud of my accomplishments, but in the back of my head I was still thinking, well, i can go as far as I can to cleanse my body and then i can dip again, after all, if I can stop once I can stop again. I think maybe this is the way of thinking that these guys have.

    When I finally completed my 100 days, I still needed another 100 days to start healing the way of thinking towards tobacco, then another 100 to solidify it. After 300 days now my job is to keep it steady. I am not resetting my clock and starting all over again, not for one dip, not for another 4 years of dipping.

    To be able to escape form the claws of the nicotine, you have to make a serious commitment to yourself.

  2. I lapsed after quitting for three days. I have no excuses for doing so, but after texting one of the members of this site, I was pointed to this very guide. The information makes sense. I got cocky. I thought if I just bought one more can I would be done, but it was foolish for me to even think that.

  3. okay, I guess I didn’t see the 1983 copyright before. Yea, was gonna say this thinking is BS and has been disproven for over a decade now. Luckily, we have a bit more control over things than this. If this was true, everytime I had a beer, I should go through some sort of withdrawal since I used to drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol. BTW, I have a ‘beer’ about every 2-6 months. And I do mean just one, which I never end up finishing, for some reason. Stuff just tastes metallic after 20 years. Go figure.

    1. Hey Nathan – I’m not sure I’d say it’s been disproven… at least for nicotine abuse. I can’t speak for the science from an alcohol perspective, but I CAN say from personal experience and from the experiences of thousands of quitters at that this is very true for nicotine addicts. Once cigarette, cigar, dip, etc. does in fact re-introduce nicotine into the bloodstream and 99/100 that leads people back to their full blown addiction or at the very least back into withdrawal.

      That said, by definition, we have addictive personalities and addictive behaviors. I’m sure there are some folks out there that CAN have a dip (or cigarette or beer) once “every now than then” and not become addicted. However, as nicotine addicts, we’re not those people.

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