Would you do it again? How do you answer that question? For me, if “it” was something that was fun, enjoyable, exhilarating, or otherwise positive, I say “yes.” Like my senior year of high school or my honeymoon. If “it” was something that most definitely sucked, I usually say “no.” Junior high comes to mind.
But sometimes, “it” can be an experience that you have absolutely no desire or intention to repeat but to say “no” somehow lessens the value of said experience. Everyone has at least a few of those. And when someone asks me that question about one of those experiences, I usually answer: “don’t have to.” What’s done is done. I don’t care to repeat it but I’ll kick you in the teeth if you try to take it away from me.
I haven’t had any nicotine for 100 days. I feel great! Do I still crave it? You bet. But it’s way different now. The balance of power has shifted so far away from that habit and towards me, it’s not even fair anymore. I remember the days when I would try to grab a pair, stand up to the can, and say that I would cut back or stop dipping in front of my wife and kids. Heck, sometimes I’d get real cocky and say that I would quit for a day or so just to prove that I could. Then I would end up rummaging through desk drawers finding enough old cans to scrounge together a dip. In those days, I felt powerless and that ticked me off to no end.
It’s different now. I know the addiction is still dangerous and it still takes shots at me. I know there will be days when it might get lucky and land a really good sucker punch on me and I need to be prepared for that. But I won’t go back there.
The specifics of my story are no different that anyone else on this site. Skoal Long Cut Wintergreen, can a day, for just over 10 years. I’ve done every silly thing you’ve read to get a fix, have made all of the stupid rationalizations, have made and broken promises about when I would quit, have tried to quit (never more than a week or so and not without NRT), and have otherwise been a slave to the habit. And like most others, it was time to stop for too many reasons to count.
This site has been a tremendous help for me because it gave me three lessons that frankly got me to 100 days and will get me to a 1000 days.
1) Accountability is key. Post roll and keep your word. It’s a weird thing but it works. Over the course of 10 years, I lied to myself all of the time about this habit. But during the first few weeks, when it was the most difficult, I posted roll each morning and never got to the point where I was willing to lie to everyone else.
2) You can’t go back. Can’t remember who on the board wrote it up first, but one day (around week 1 or so) while rummaging through the boards, I ran across that concept and it made my quit stick. In my words (with some borrowed I’m sure), it went something like this: Whenever you consider going back, the only thing going through your mind are the memories of the best, most satisfying dip you ever had and how you are just minutes away from re-living that glorious lipper. You get giddy and then you cave. At least that’s how it always worked for me in the past. In reality, you are just minutes away from turning right back into that addict you grew to hate. You have to realize that horse is forever-hitched to a wagon that is full of crap you’re tired of smelling. And it will also one day kill you. It’s a package deal. Sorry. If it weren’t that way, we could all kick back once a year and share a tin on Columbus Day. Sucks, but that’s just the way it is. Now get on with your life.
3) It’s still not easy but it gets a lot easier. I played college football and while I knew my career would end at that level, I got to play some pretty good teams and lined up against some guys who would go on to play on Sundays. Competing against guys that are bigger, stronger, and significantly more talented than you is never easy. In fact, it generally sucks and can be quite painful. But it sucks a whole lot less if you happen to be winning by a couple of touchdowns. And that’s how quitting works. Once I started winning (call it day 28 or so for me), life got much better. Don’t look for it to get easy, but take pride in the fact that you’re winning because that makes it a little easier. Then you start to enjoy the game a little more even though your opponent sometimes kicks you in the nuts. Then all you want to do is run up the score.
Guess that’s it for me. Thanks to everyone who’s been on the boards and KTC! I expect someone will ask me if I would do it over again. Would I take that first dip again? Would I pour money down the drain for 10 years? Would I harm my body like that again? Would I piss off my family like that again? Would I quit again? Would I re-live the first three days/weeks of quitting again?
Don’t have to.