It all started in the early 90’s. I was in Junior High when I was offered my first dip of cherry Skoal. Stupid me gave into temptation and put that crap inside my mouth. Made me sick, and I couldn’t stand having it in my mouth. Did this keep me from trying it again? Hell NO! Through the years, I graduated to different brands; Kodiak, mint Skoal, wintergreen Skoal. Cans were only $2-$3 dollars for the longest time.
Fast forward to High School. I wrestled, and I would usually cut 20 pounds each wrestling season. I couldn’t eat or drink much, especially when a meet was coming up. Therefore, I would chew tobacco to help lose water weight by spitting; but it also helped me keep my mind off food. Little did I know that I would be hooked by the age of 18. My mother knew my brother and I chewed, and she of course hated it. She tried to get us to quit by showing us the “half off” face of tobacco, but that only seemed to work for that day. I wished I would have listened to MOM!
After I turned 18 and graduated High School in 1998, I went off to work. I was a butcher for a local meat shop. I was still hooked to dip, and this time I was chewing fine cut wintergreen Skoal. Chewed all day; when I woke up, during shower, after I brushed my teeth, on the way to work, while at work, after each meal,hunting, fishing, anything outdoors, and every moment when I was at home. I was going through about 1/2 to 1 can a day by this time. I was able to STOP for 6 months, but ended up caving. I can’t remember what caused the cave, but when I had that first dip, it was as if I never stopped in the first place. My wife was “PISSED”, and rightfully so, since I had put so much work into that six months.
At age 22, I asked my beautiful wife to marry me. We were married 4/20/2002, and life seemed great. We both continued with our current careers, as well as continued with pursuing our College degrees. She was working towards Dental Hygiene, while I was working towards Business Management. We both graduated with our degrees in May of 2002. During this time, I still chewed tobacco; however, this time I was increasing my usage, and now I was up to 1 and sometimes more than one can a day. My wife didn’t hound me to quit, but there were a few times where she asked me to quit; knowing the dangers, as she had studied Dental Hygiene.
At age 24, I was accepted into the Police academy. During the academy, I chewed as much as I could. I was successful and graduated the academy; and was sworn in as a Police Officer at the end of the academy graduation. I started my Field Training, which lasted 3 1/2 months; then I was on my own. This time, I changed my brand to Copenhagen Snuff. I worked up to 1-2 cans a day, and would buy a roll (5 tins) a week for the next 11 years. I realized that a lot of people with our agency chewed tobacco too. I tried multiple times to quit, but I wouldn’t make it past 1-2 days, then I was back to chewing. At this point, I was spending $30 a week on chew.
We had our first child in November of 2008 (boy), and our second in November of 2012 (girl). And of course I was still chewing during this time period. My wife and other family members had encouraged me to quit; especially since I now had kids to think about. Again, I would attempt to quit several times, but these attempts just turned into STOPS. My kids, now ages 7 and 3, would sometimes ask what I was stuffing in my mouth. This really upset me, but in a good way. I didn’t answer my kids, but it made me feel horrible every time they asked what I was putting in my mouth. I would quite often ask myself, “what are you doing to yourself??”, and “is this addiction worth the possibility of losing my life, or leaving my kids without their real dad?”. Was I going to be one to get Cancer? I was tired of playing this mind game, and I didn’t want to end up as a statistic. Who would have thought that chew could have this much control over our lives?!
May 28th, 2014, I began looking for ways to quit tobacco on the internet. I stumbled across Killthecan.org (KTC), and began reading. I was drawn into the website and decided to attempt my quit again. I learned how to post roll and started posting roll. Honestly, I can’t remember how many days I posted before I caved, but it wasn’t many. I left the site for some time; as my addiction was back in full force. I look back, and I never engaged into the website as I should have; which could have helped save me earlier. I didn’t read everything, and I didn’t get too involved with exchanging phone numbers with others or chatting on the live chat; hence, why my craves ended up turning into caves.
I ended my last hunt with dip in September of 2015. This was my first successful hunt with my bow, and I harvested a 6X6 bull Elk. I chewed during every walking moment of this hunt. It wasn’t until after the hunt when I started to think about quitting again. I got back on killthecan.org, and began reading again. I committed and set my quit date for October 1,2015.
On 10/1/2015, I posted day 1 with January 2016 (DOG House). During this time, I made several friends in the live chats and group me text. During tough times, I leaned on members of the site on the live chat, but I would also lean on my fellow teammates in group me text. The guys/gals were able to help me through rough craves. This time, I took the one day at a time (ODAAT) to heart. I never thought about the next day, I just concentrated on staying quit the current day; needless to say, this actually works. I went through ups and downs throughout the quit, and some days were tougher than others after I had made it past day 3. I learned from each crave and past failures, and utilized what I had learned to fight through future craves. Some of the toughest craves were in my 70’s. I had moments where I really thought that I was going to cave, but I didn’t. Why? Because I continued to lean on the site and fellow members when times got rough! I also had the support of my family and friends, which helped tremendously. I created a bigger support group aside from KTC; therefore, if I ever caved, then I would have to answer to a hell of lot more people. My accountability was big, too big to cave. Plus, I remember what day 1 felt like, and I didn’t want to ever go back to that feeling; and I didn’t want to have to answer to my DOGS on why I was stupid and gave in to the NIC bitch again.
Day 100 feels awesome, and I couldn’t have done it without anyone on KTC as well as my family. Most importantly, I couldn’t have done it without GOD. This of course is just a milestone, and I understand that I’m NOT cured. My next milestone is 200, then 300, and so on. Will I stay on KTC website forever? I don’t know, but I plan on staying as long as I possibly can, because I know it works. I don’t want to get complacent with my quit. I also want to pay it forward to newbies coming on the site, and provide them with the support and help they need to battle off the NIC bitch. It feels great to be able to brag about quitting dip in front of my fellow Police Officers. I will say that I’ve encouraged guys on the force to quit, and some have actually taken the steps to quit. They aren’t necessarily using KTC (as I have already told them about the site), but they are quit and that’s all that matters. Even though they aren’t using KTC, I hold them accountable each day. I have 12 years on the police force, and 8 years left to retire; and I plan to retire dip/nicotine free!!!
Thanks everyone for your support and help in my quit journey. May God bless each and every one of you, as he has blessed me! Quit on!! Oh, and I’ve saved close to $500 already, and plan to save up for a new Carbon Hoyt bow!! P.S. Sorry for being long winded!!