100 days without chew …why am I here? Twenty-two years ago I began chewing at the ripe age of 16. Technically, I “dabbled” with the shit for a year or two earlier…but it was at 16 that I first caught myself chewing to appease, over-ride, quench, enhance or compliment one emotion or another. Fear, anger, stress, pleasure, happiness, all of them…a chew either made it more bearable, or accented the moment. It was at 16 that the secret spitter was conveniently tucked away in my bedroom….at 16 a little dip wasn’t enough…it had to be a big old fatty! At 16 my braces had been off for a couple of years…by 18, two of my lower teeth had already shifted well out of place: ”hey, no big deal…I’m immortal, I am god!” Ten years later my addiction had fully manifested into 1-2 cans a day….and I finished my Ph.D. studies: “I’m a fucking genius now. I’ll never get cancer, and if I do…science will have worked out a cure by then…yea, I’m a fucking genius!” I critically analyzed the literature about smokeless and cancer…and convinced or justified it to myself: “its ok man, the odds are in your favor…this is weak research.” My career progressed rapidly…and despite major biohazard issues in my laboratory, I openly chewed: “it’s my lab, I’ll do what I want in here, if you don’t like it, get the fuck out!” Life went on, the years added up. I’m married now, with two of the most wonderful daughters a man could ever ask for, lifetime friends, a career that I love (hell, I think of it as playtime when I’m in the lab)….the signs were smacking me in the face, but I did not yield. The years slowly rolled by…yea, I still think I am god…but an imperfect god now that no longer thinks he is a fucking genius.
One day it just struck me that I will ultimately kill myself with chew. I loved chew, it loved me. We lived in simple harmony for over 2 decades…I simply chewed all the time, chew went with everything. I still love chew…and always will, addiction is like that folks. There were no health “scares” that drove me to quitting, there were plenty of “pleas” from the wife and family, but those either fell on deaf ears, or went in one and out the other. The decision to quit is like being on a ferris wheel…if you want to get off, you have to decide for yourself. If you chose to get off, you can only do so at one point, and if you try to get off at any other point, you’re going to get hurt (and some places hurt worse than others). After 22 years of going around and around, I came around to that “stepping off” point, and simply walked away. I was a different man; motivated by different factors…I had enough. I wanted to live.
100 days without chew…who would’ve thunk? My wife, friends, family? Me? Hell yes me! This was my decision to quit, my effort to quit…this was and always will be my fucking quit! So I’m damn sure of the answer to that question. It’s not about anything or anyone else…and any that approach quitting without some similar mindset are doomed to fail and repeat the cycle until they become cognizant of that simple reality. Those that would argue they successfully quit for someone else may indeed have won the short game of 100 or 200 days…however my friends, just as we spent decades chewing…we are now locked in this quitting “game” for the remainder of our lives. It’s been my experience with the human race that very, very few of us are capable of permanently maintaining certain commitments for a lifetime. Sooner or later, due to whatever reasons…we serve ourselves…its simple human nature. So your quit had damn well better serve you first and not someone else. It’s essential to have other reasons to quit….but those others reasons are complimentary to your prime reason for quitting: YOU!
While my quit was all about me…I did not ask a single soul for any quarter. I apologized up front when I acted like an ass (there was probably more apologizing in the past 100 days than my entire life!), and demanded that family and friends call bullshit when they saw it. Just because my quit is my priority, it could never be allowed to compromise other commitments (family, friends, work, etc.). I felt very strong about this because this is my new life…I’ll not start it with freebies and excuses. That’s how we got hooked in the first place, no? This is the new you…you’ve got to earn it…make it real, and make it count.
100 days without chew …how did I get here? Certainly not alone! There was so much support from my family and friends…ironically, in the early days I rejected it. I liked being angry, and irritable…it was in a warped way replacing that which nicotine generated in me. Then reality set in, and I totally accepted the support of my family and friends. Of all the support I have experienced…my 7 year old daughter gave me a priceless drawing/piece of her artwork: “Daddy before and after”…imagine a piece of paper with a line down the middle. On the right side is a drawing of me after I quit chewing….smiling, bright colors, happy 7 year old kid stuff. On the left side, before I quit – a crude impression of my face….with black and brown shit smeared all over my lower lip, frowning…and a smaller picture below that of my daughter crying. Yea, I carry that picture with me everywhere…not exactly one to hang on the wall at work…but infinitely powerful.
And let’s not forget support from my May 06 brethren. I won’t go through names because I know I’ll miss someone. But just let me offer the most sincere and warmest regards for my May 06 brothers. Knowing you were here, going through the same shit…day in and out, meant more and more to me as the days went by. There’s not a person in May 06 that I wouldn’t share time and drinks with…which makes each of you important in my book (I travel a bit, perhaps someday soon we will get together and toast our victories in person). My only regret is not being there more for you guys…and I am deeply sorry for that. Perhaps in our collective futures here, I will open up more, socialize better, play nicer and share the chaos in my mind…this speech is a first step. You see, it was just 100 days folks…there is a whole lifetime of new experiences before us!
100 days without chew…what have I learned? Oh so much. Not enough time or attention here to cover it all. Many of us have learned the same lessons…many have not. It is safe to say that May 06 is proudly waving both our middle fingers at the “establishment” who insisted we cannot succeed amongst all the drama, dysfunction and fighting. To those that have spoken against us, but have become increasingly silent as our success persisted….I offer one last FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON YOU DUMBASSES! Everyone has their own method, technique, etc…so long as people are educated and motivated, it really doesn’t matter how you arrive at the end point. Regardless, it is certainly time to give back…assuming the new site cares for my candid, rambling insights…I’ll always be willing to share my experiences. Maybe they’ll help someone, maybe they won’t…but you never know if you don’t try. If you don’t come here with your game face on and an intense desire to learn not only about your addiction, but also yourself…you’re wasting your time.
100 days without chew…where do I go now? I’m not sure how to answer this. Mostly because I do not like personifying my quit or addiction…I hate the phrase “nic demon”…there are none…only what we make. The more we make of it, the more it infests our lives. I have walked away from nic…not looking back…not making a big deal out of it…done. My future is in front of me…I’m not carrying old baggage with me there. True, that I must always carry the memory of a 22 year addiction…and the education I have gained here…but that is to ensure that I remain nic free for the rest of my life. I’m just saying that it’s not good to make something bigger than it has to be. So, I’m getting on with my life…enjoying all that was sedated before, discovering that which was absent…exploiting my success to the fullest extent, today and for the rest of my life.