Spousal Support

Spousal SupportSteps To Helping Your Spouse Stay Quit

  1. Don’t nag. It won’t help and will only cause underlying feelings of anger and resentment, all of which are likely to drive your spouse back to the can out of spite. DO NOT throw away your spouses stash. That is their decision to make and if you do it, we are back to the spite thing. WE will make sure they flush it BEFORE they are allowed to post a Day 1 here.
  2. Realize that your spouse has to quit because he/she wants to. Your spouse can’t quit for you or for your children. Without the “want” of doing it, as opposed to the “being told to”, “the promise to”, “the deadline has arrived”, “the guilt” of doing it, chances are the quit will fail.
  3. Support is crucial! Be involved, in a positive way, in your spouse’s quit! Ask what day it is. (There is a quit tracker on the homepage of this site that will keep track of days quit and dollars saved) Tell him/her that you know it is hard and you are proud of him/her for what he/she is doing. Don’t be condescending. Don’t smother. Find the line and toe it.
  4. Gear up; it’s going to be a rough ride! It is important that you know that you will be the target of anger or sudden outbursts. You must know that this is all part of quitting the addiction and ridding the body and mind of the nasty chemicals and dependency that so many of us were foolish enough to subject ourselves to. When the anger gets directed towards you or other family members realize what is going on. Remove the kids from the battle zone, remove yourself. This will pass. We encourage all quitters to come to our site to vent and rage. Get mad at the vets on the site. Vent to other quitters who are going through the same thing or have been where your spouse is now. We have come to love the rage. It signifies healing and recovery. Directed towards the right people (us) it is healthy.
  5. Encourage, allow, desire that your spouse become active on our web site. An overwhelming majority of successful quitters will testify that they could not have succeeded without the support of the people and information on the site. Know that if your spouse is active on the site, he/she will make friends with complete strangers. Internet friends. Your spouse will hopefully give out a phone number and take phone numbers in. There is nothing hinky in this. It is all part of the support system. Spouses have been told, “Honey, I have friends that I have never met, all over the country. They feel like brothers to me and I owe them my life.” Many of us have met in person too. As we travel, we make plans to get together. Organized weekend get-togethers have been done. There is a camaraderie that is generated, that is hard to explain, but wonderful to experience.
  6. Understand that this is going to be the most difficult thing your spouse has ever done. It will also be the most rewarding (just short of marrying you, I’m sure). Internal battles will rage. This board is their outlet. If the rage, short temper, etc. are manifesting itself in ways that affect your relationship, encourage them to see a doctor. Some of us had no choice but to resort to medication to save the world from ourselves. There is no shame in it. It won’t be a permanent thing, just for a couple months. Depression can also be symptom of nicotine cessation. It’s completely normal. If you notice withdrawal from family or friends, again, get them to a doctor. Be encouraging, remember, he’s a big burly man that thinks the last thing he needs is medication to cope. Send a vet a PM and we’ll explain it to them for you; you can stay completely out of it.
  7. Quitting is a wonderful time of self discovery and reflection. Like most of us your spouse probably can’t remember much about life without a can. He can’t remember how he acted, handled situations, etc. This is the fun part of quitting because he gets to, in some ways; condition his mind to hopefully be a better person.
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140 Comments

  1. My husband has now been chew free for 100 days as of yesterday, our 25th wedding anniversary. He has chewed since he was 15 so 33 years. I am very proud of him but he is a different person than the one I married. He always has been very good at gifts and remembering important dates. Gave me great things for our 10, 15 and 20th anniversaries. We yesterday there was not gift for our 25th. It didn’t even enter his mind. He feel terrible and I don’t want him to go back to chewing but I miss the guy that always was thoughtful. I suspect he is just caught up in the overwhelming issue of quitting. Does it get better? He still focusing on it a lot.

    • Nicotine aids memory and concentration, so when you’re used to living on nicotine for decades, and then it’s abruptly taken away, one’s memory is going to suffer; concentration as well.

      100 days is not very long. I’m only at one month and I’m still an anxious, depressed mess. I’m a real debbie downer and not much fun to be around. I used to be full of energy and emotion, and now I’m a real dullard. Your husband might feel the same.

      It’s not fun becoming lethargic, and also knowing your loved ones around you are suffering from it as well.

      ON THE OTHER HAND, they’d would suffer a lot more from an early death.

      You’re just going to have to give him a few mulligans for awhile. He’s not himself, and it’s probably going to take quite awhile for him to feel normal again.

      Hopefully not long, because I want to feel normal again as well. NOT being on dip is terrible. Dip is a friend and an emotional support group and three months isn’t long enough to get over the end of a decades-long friendship.

      Stay tough and stay patient. Be understanding.

  2. My husband and I have been married for almost 3 1/2 years, he chewed when we were dating and got married. It didn’t really bother me, I knew that was something he did and that I would have to deal with it going into the marriage. I promised myself I would never ask him to quit for me because that would only cause problems for both of us and I didn’t want to become a nagging wife. Well a few months after we get married he decides he wants to quit, so I told him I would do what I could to help and support him. He made it two weeks and then started again, not a fun two weeks for me in our new marriage. A little over a year later he wants to quit again, “for me and our future family,” man I wish he never said that!!! He did successfully quit for a few months this time, then got stressed out and started bumming chews off his friends and I eventually caught him with some stuck in his beard. In front of all our friends I had been bragging on him to for quitting. Embarrassing. We talked about it and luckily he hadn’t had enough to turn into a huge problem, he didn’t really have to “quit” this time. We have a baby boy who just turned 4 months old, now dad decides to take a break from drinking, all his own idea, he recognized it was turning into a problem himself. So he hasn’t had a drink at home for a little over a month, gets stressed out about something again and drives 30 miles to town to buy a can. Now he has a stash, idk if he bought a roll or what. It was so much easier to forgive and look past before he said he wanted to quit to be around for me and our family. Now every time he struggles it makes me feel completely worthless, he’d rather have his chew than me and/or his family, etc and like I just need to start building my own life so I’m not completely screwed when he dies from cancer or so I have something to fall back on when his cancer costs us everything we have and part of his face. It makes me not want to have more children with him even though I would love to have more children. Being a new mom and having a little boy who makes me feel needed and who won’t disappoint me, I just don’t want to emotionally invest myself in my marriage. I’m constantly debating whether I want to still work on our marriage or just detach and not care. I’m physically tired from not sleeping well with a new baby and emotionally exhausted from being frustrated with my husband and trying not to bring it up. I don’t know what to do and feel in one hand that I’m blowing everything out of proportion and wonder why it is such a big deal to me, and on the other it feels valid. I’ve tried to talk myself into not caring for a few weeks and love him for all the good he does but it’s just not going away. It keeps me up between feedings at night while my baby is sleeping and I just don’t want to go through him quitting again. It makes me apprehensive to want to act proud of him for quitting anything because I can’t believe that it’s going to stick, causes me problems with trusting or believing in him and I just hate it. I don’t know what to do! Glad I found this page and know I’m not the only one. Feels good to vent to someone who won’t hold it against him.

    • What your husband is going through is the same thing that all of us who have joined this site have gone through. Unfortunately for him, it looks like he is going through his quit alone. You are probably telling yourself that you are going through this with him, but you are not for one simple reason–you are not an addict. It is almost impossible to describe the power of this addiction to a non-addict. It consumes your thoughts, it whispers to you in the night or in the morning when you wake up, it gives you the best, most convincing arguments you’ve ever heard about why you need to have some tobacco, or why you should give up your quit. At its height, my addiction was telling me that my wife was 100% at fault for all of our marriage problems, and that I was fully justified in having a dip at night when I got home, because I deserved to have a little joy in my life. It is only now that I have quit that I recognize how incredibly stupid and misguided that thought was (I had literally substituted my wife for a dead weed), but it was incredibly convincing while I was in the grips of my addiction.

      That is why this place is so important. I would advise you to tell your husband about this site, and encourage (don’t tell) him to try it out. There are things that we, as fellow quitters, can do for him that you cannot. I have been on this site since February, and have caved twice. Both times, I had to face my shame and come back here to confess. Both times, my quit brothers on this site gave me the strength to start again (after quite a bit of butt-chewing about being a liar!) As long as your husband tries to quit on his own, his chances of being successful are minimal. If you can convince him to come here (or if not, to get a friend of his to quit with him), then he has a much greater chance.

      As for your own experience, all I can tell you is that you are not alone–there are millions of spouses just like you. As an addict of 34 years, and married for 23 of those years, I have put my wife through a lot of the same things you are going through. Like you, she withdrew into her own life and our marriage suffered, and I substituted her with a dead weed. Now that I have made that decision to quit, I have been amazed at how quickly our marriage has recovered. Have faith in your husband. Your married him for a reason–remember those reasons! It may take him a long time to beat this addiction–the best thing you can do for him is to love him and to remind him from time to time that he needs to quit, especially before your child gets old enough to figure out what he is doing. God bless you!

    • I am in a very similar situation. I have a one year old and three year old. My husbands repeated concealing and deceit about chew make me so angry and I have to try to act like a happy mom while I am just seething. Unlike you, I had no idea he had this 30 year addiction when I married him at age 45. He is dopey and sleepy and depressed a lot and and then stays up all night. His first wife died in 2013. I fear he will neglect me and not notice any of my needs and I will die too. I keep debating whether to take steps toward divorce.

  3. My husband has been chewing since they took our smoking lounge away in high school (that was in 1986). He did quit awhile back after our son was born (that was in 1996) but started back up. I used to nag him about his chewing and drinking which caused him to stray at one time, said I was acting like his mother (that was in 2013). I came to the realization that his chewing really had no impact on me – decided to pick my battles and that was no one of them. After reading some of these posts, I find myself actually fortunate that he does not have that “angry addict” attitude toward me or our family. So, here we are, in 2018, and HE DECIDED it was time to quit! He is only on Day 3. Although i find myself incredibly proud, I also feel very useless – I don’t know what to do to help him. He is tired, bad headaches, restless, terrible sore throat anxious, all of the above.

    • This is great news Renee. I’m glad to hear he’s decided it’s time. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do, other than support him. This is, in my opinion, a very individual choice. Selfish if you will. But because “he” has came to this decision, I think he will be successful at quitting. It was the same for me, “I” was tired of the nearly 30 year habit and wanted to get away. My wife/kids played no factor (see the selfishness?).But it was because of this individual choice, I was able to quit and stay clean and have almost 4 years now. When it comes down to it and I’m alone, it will be me, not my family, that keeps me on the straight and narrow.
      It was hell, I won’t lie. I was in “bitchy” mode all the time. But it lifted after about 60 days.
      I’d say just be there for him and try to understand if he gets moody, it’s not a thing yourself has done, it’s this horrible habit leaving his body and rearing it’s ugly head at you. Go a head and flip it a “mental” bird!
      Hopefully you’ve pointed him here to this site, it was a big help in my decision to quit. And it’s a big reason I still come here (almost 4 years later) to offer commentary to others thinking about and going through, the quit.
      I wish you (family?) and your husband the best on this journey, stay strong!!
      -JP

    • I am so happy for you Renee! I admire your attitude. Hang in there, sending good vibes your way. Someday I hope to be where you are .

  4. I wrote this last year. And am still living the cycle. I am sure many of you can relate.

    My husband is an addict. And his addiction is more insidious than alcohol or heroin. His addiction is legal, like alcohol, but more addictive than heroin. How could something more addictive than heroin be legal you ask? Well, because a lot of very powerful people make a lot of money off of getting people hooked on this addiction.

    My husband is an addict. He lies, his behavior is erratic, he is angry, hostile, short-tempered. He picks fights with me so that he can go and use his drug. He is short-tempered with our family. He has no patience with our daughter.

    His relationship with his family is secondary to his relationship with his addiction. His marriage is secondary to his addiction. In fact, his addiction is all powerful. His addiction is number one. Given an ultimatum—your marriage or your addiction—he chooses the addiction. His addiction in “the other woman” in our marriage. And she is sexy and makes him feel so much better than anything else. Her pull is stronger than anything. Her pull is stronger than this marriage. Her pull is stronger than the parent/child bond. She is, and always will be, number one to him.

    I love my husband. I want my marriage to work. But the marriage is not working because he is an addict. It is a vicious cycle. He quits—I am happy and believe him—he starts again—I suspect him and confront him—he lies and lies and lies— I catch him— I get angry— I say I am doing this anymore—he gets angry—I give up. And it starts all over again. All over again, and again and again, and again.

    He did stop his addiction for 3 weeks. They were the best 3 weeks in the past 10 years. He was calmer, happier, more connected, –normal, for want of a better term. We did not fight. He was not lying and sneaking around to go use. He was present with me and our children.
    But, his addiction was more powerful than us. More powerful than his desire to have a relationship with his wife and children. His addiction lured him back in, as always. It is always there, always lurking, always pulling him away. Now that he is back using he is gone again. And the lies. The constant, constant, lying. I hate lying. I mean, who likes their spouse to lie to them?
    How can something that causes so much damage be legal? And how can a substance that is so vile not have support groups to help people quit. There is AA and NA and Gambler’s Anonymous. There are groups for every type of addiction out there. This one is completely overlooked as a serious addiction that damages families… that breaks apart marriages. This insidious addiction just lurks and is tolerated. It is considered a public health risk…. But not treated as a serious addiction like alcohol or hard drugs.

    What is it? Nicotine. Nicotine in very high doses. Maybe you are thinking that it can’t be as bad as I describe. But it is. It is worse than I describe. My marriage is about to end because my husband will not give up the can of dip he holds so precious. I am sick and tired of being married to another addict. Of spending my days wondering who is going to show up… the angry irritable guy in withdrawal? Or the man who is in a moment of calm before the next wave hits him where he needs to pick a fight with me so he has an excuse to go and dip.

    I am mad, I am sad, I am tired… so tired of the cycle and the game. And he… where is he? He is in denial that is it really a problem. He is not giving up his addiction. Instead, he would rather give up me and our family. I am tired of the other woman always winning out. I know it is time to go. I am devastated that I know he will let me. Her hold is just too strong. I can not win. It is time to break the cycle.

    • This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry Lorain. Please let me know how we can help.

      • Thank you. I have finally had it. This last cycle he went to hypnosis in November, swore to quit. I saw all the same aggressive typical addictive behaviors in January and he denied using again. I trusted him. I asked him no less than 5 times over the past couple months if he was dipping again. He denied it. I believed him. I found out this past Monday he was indeed using again.—and that was it. I am done. I am so enraged I can not even speak to him. I unleashed today and told him this is it. He has a choice and it is an ultimatum. He can have his can, or his wife and family.
        It is more than the act of dipping. It is the behaviors of the addict. It is the lying and the deceit. The sneaking around (bc he hides it all the time)… What kind of marriage is it if there is no trust and honesty. 10 years of marriage. 10 years of addiction in that marriage. I’m done and he knows it.
        He is at a nicotine anonymous meeting as I write this. We shall see.
        I also told him we will never discuss this again. The second he lies to me again, we are done. I will not raise my children in an addictive household.

        • I just came to find my husband was lying about his snuff use. I told him that is what hurts our marriage more than anything is his lying. If he feels he can lie about it (I can tell when he lies) what will stop him from lying about other things.

          Hope all has worked out.

    • This is really a sad situation…I truly feel for you and your daughter.
      Fortunately (only for me), my spouse never felt this negative towards my 25-30 year habit. And I am not calling you negative, I’m just saying she really left me alone with the habit. This doesn’t mean she agreed with it. It was disgusting and she was crystal clear about that. But again, my quit of this, came from within. No one externally was the reason behind my quit. And I will stand 100% behind this statement. No one will help you more with a quit, than yourself. It is essential that YOU want to quit. Who else is around when you’re by yourself and want a pinch? No one. You and only you
      decides if you will continue being a slave to nicotine, in all forms. Thankfully to this site and all the posters, I am still free almost 4 years now. I ain’t ever going back. But it’s because of “me” and what “I” want. I realize I am “just one pinch” away from tossing it all away…and I don’t want to restart the quit. Notice all the “me, I, myself”? It’s the most selfish and rewarding thing an individual can do, to quit nicotine.
      It truly breaks my heart to see the bitch nicotine destroying a home like this. My heart goes out to you and I promise to drop a word in to the man upstairs for your husband. I hope he comes to realization there are more important things in life than nicotine. I will say, it’s a hard, HARD nut to crack, especially at the beginning. But there is a happy and just as normal life, without nicotine.
      Best wishes!
      -JP

      • JP, thank you. As you can see from my response to Chewie it is enough for me. And.. the reasons. The last time he quit he did it. He made all these proclamations of how he was choosing his family and wife over the can. I got my hopes up that finally, after 10 years, he saw the light. Or, as he said, he was ready to quite and make us 1st. Until…. he didn’t… and he lied… and it is at my core that I can not stand lying. So, here w are. I am grateful for finding this site and I thank you for the prayers!!!!

    • I cant believe I have never found this site in the rollercoaster of my life. The stories and testimonies so familiar. I must say somewhat discouraging rather than helpful. My husband of 29 years has been sober for 11 years, but the nicotine addiction is like no other! I can relate, the constant lies, deception, betrayal, anger, sneaking around. Belittling me, putting me down making me feel like trash just to avoid any discussion about it. He is actually dip free but nicotine gum addicted 30 weeks now. I feel no security or resolve as he uses the gum. In fact, he still deceives, covers up, sneaks around to use it even though it was an agreed upon temporary solution. I am always fearful he will go back when the gum doesn’t fill his need, or worse if he stops the gum he will go back to the dip. It has cost so much distrust and insecurity in our marriage and with our children I don’t even know how to start healing, especially since he is still just getting his fix. He calls it a bad habit not an addiction, I feel like he is still in such denial. I’m tired of always feeling so emotionally lonely.

  5. When my husband tries to quit….I have to walk on egg shells. He is so angry. He scares me. I feel embarrassed that I am staying with him….I feel like a bad example for my children.

    • He quit smoking several years ago….became VERY addicted to nicorette gum …had cancer and quit for several years and started chewing a few years ago. I can’t kiss him because it changes his mouth…hard to explain, but it makes his lips really thin…and I notice a cavity. He won’t go to the dentist. He always drives separately now to family things….we don’t get along anymore. I have accidentally found spit in our potted plants and had glasses full of spilt spill on me. I am sooo grossed out…I don’t think I can do this anymore. He goes straight to the basement when he comes home from work….to chew, drink beer, and play videogames.
      I thought he was tobacco free when I filled out the insurance info….and he keeps telling me he needs to make a plan to quit….but I feel like it will never happen.

    • I feel the same way. I am being a bad example.

  6. Ive been chewing for only 6 months,and now the wife has found it twice,i’m on day day 3 of no chew I can do this.But I get no support,in fact my wife is talking about divorce,she says if I loved her I wouldn’t have started,I realize I screwed up and hurt her deeply and my wife not talk to me,without criticizing me, she will not answer any messages from me will not let me touch her,I can do nothing right in her eyes.I could really use some her support feeling very frustrated .

    • I have been in the place your wife is now, more than once. In my situation, I was hurt so deeply, all I wanted was for my husband to hurt as much as I did. I knew deep down that was not right, you can’t imagine the things that go through a wife’s mind when someone she has put her heart and soul into has betrayed her. We have been married 28 years now, I love my husband and I know he loves me, but in my mind tobacco is always first. As we speak, my husband sneaks his tin into the shower. Tobacco has taken so much from our relationship, I wouldn’t wish this addiction on anyone.
      One post said it well, I will NEVER know what its like to be a nicotine addict and you will NEVER know what it’s like to be the spouse of a nicotine addict.
      It will take time to earn back the trust of your wife and rebuild your marriage. You are on the right track as long as it’s for the right reason and not just to suffice your wife. I hope you stick with your quit, this site seems like an amazing tool. I wish you all the best.

  7. Has anyone ever been lied to about what is in the toilet bowl during the quitting stage? He claimed it was #2 in the toilet. I happened to see it when I went in the bathroom. I guess sometimes it doesn’t flush all the way??

    • Can’t say I ever told THAT lie, but the reality is this… addicts lie. He’s an addict. He’s most likely ashamed of his addiction and will justify it in his mind and will justify lying to you to hide it.

    • My husband does the packet dip stuff…I didnt know he did at the time…anyway my daughter came home from daycare and went to the bathroom she didnt flush I walk into go the bathroom and start freaking out thinking my daughter ate something she shouldnt have. I called daycare I showed my husband and not once did he say oh its just a dip he kept it a secret…I freaked out for days over it until I went downstairs to put in a load of laundry and seen a soda bottle out of place in the laundry room I look at it and its got a bunch of the packet like thing I had seen in the toilet the other night…I confronted my husband and he explained to me what it was…very frustrated with the whole web of lies….But I need to learn how to be not so bitter about his horrible habbit.

  8. I have visited this site occasionally for the last 7 years, for hope. If guys that have been addicted for decades can quit, then there is hope for my husband. I am so glad to see a spousal support comments, I have read them all.
    I can relate to the roller coaster of emotions felt by all. I have been through all the addictive behaviors. My spouse has been addicted more on than off for 30+ years, I have never seen him with a dip in his mouth, closet dipper, at least at home.
    I didn’t find out until after we were married and 3000 miles away in the military. He thought he could quit. He has quit 3 times, about 10 years once, as far as I know. He quit before we had kids and started again when our oldest was 8. He won’t talk about it, he gets defensive and shuts down.
    I made a mistake two days ago, I asked him to quit. He won’t even be in the same room with me. After visiting this site, I was reminded how important it is to be their decision, otherwise they will resent you. I have never nagged him to quit. I don’t expect his quit will last long. I apologized, now its damage control. I hate the demon but I love my husband, he is a good man.
    If you are in a relationship and are contemplating marriage with someone who struggles with this awful addiction, it’s likely you will in for an uphill battle.
    I do enjoy reading all the success stories and pray that some day my husband will be one of them.

  9. I just want to know what is normal….Today he actually fell out of the shower and spit out his dip on to my foot…He is using an old dip that he takes in and out in the morning…It’s his last…and now that he spit it on the floor it really is the last of it…But his balance is off…his behavior is crazy mean and erratic…I want the man I loved back…I witnessed him quit alcohol 2x and he is now almost 2 year sober…I never saw him act this way!! He seems dizzy and like he can’t even hold on to things?? Is this normal?? He literally dropped his phone 5 times yesterday in a half an hour..and then bawled on the way home??? I am at such a loss! I love him so much ….I was so relieved to see him acting like himself this morning until I realized it was because he put that recycled dip in his mouth…. Please tell me this is somewhat normal…I am calling the doctor now to see if we can get an appointment…

    • No, this doesn’t seem like something myself, or others experience when quitting. Best go get some advice from a medical professional, not the opinions of a message board.
      And when we say “it’s not about you”, what we mean is it HAS to come from within the addict to want to quit, not YOU. If the addict doesn’t have it in themselves to really, I mean REALLY, want to quit…they won’t…no matter how bad YOU want them to. I hope that clears it up.
      But I’d go get some medical advice on the other stuff, that isn’t normal for what I’ve experienced or have read from others.

  10. I love my partner so much….but I can’t tell you how much it angers me when people say this is not about us…it’s only about the addict….How is it not about me when he spends $200 a month on it but I am the one paying the bills otherwise???

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