My nicotine addiction started almost 16 years ago. I started dipping around the age of 14. I spent a lot of time around my dad and he had many friends that dipped/smoked. Both of my parents even smoked. Some of my friends in high school dipped and I was brought in by peer pressure. I would bum dips from friends during breaks at school until finally one day I convinced my dad to buy me a can of Skoal Wintergreen. I chose Wintergreen because thats what my friends dipped. He was reluctant to but gave in after me nagging and just told me not to tell my mom. That was the moment in my life when the gauntlet was thrown and I was full blown addicted because then I had a source to obtain dip anytime I needed it.
Very early on when I started I would have insane buzzes. I remember spitting a Wintergreen dip out before taking a shower. While I was in the shower I was still buzzing and not feeling good at all. I remember stepping out to dry off and the next thing I remember was waking up laying next to the toilet. I had fainted from the buzz and the feeling the dip gave me. But did that deter me to stop? Hell no! Instead my genious thought it best to switch brands. So once the Wintergreen was gone I told my dad I wanted Skoal Cherry which became “My Brand” for about 8 years. However I did dabble in other flavors of Skoal like Mint, Spearmint, Classic, and Straight but I went with those only because the store was out of Cherry at the time. I even used loose leaf chew such as Taylor’s Pride, JD’s Blend, Red Man and Levi Garrett which became my favorite to chew while driving our tractor tending to our gardens or bush hogging. But for the most part I stayed with Skoal Cherry from about 15 up until I was out of college and started working.
At this point I’m about 23 years old and I guess my tastes have change and I need something stronger to keep my nicotine fix going. Thats when I discovered Copenhagen. I fell in love with Copenhagen Regular LC and instantly made that “My Brand”. Fast forward a few years when Copenhagen Whiskey Blend came out. Oh man, I seriously thought I was in Heaven with the taste of that. Each brand change had me dipping more and more each day.
I loved Whiskey Blend so much that I started putting a dip in as soon as I was awake and I would dip all day except to eat. I was doing everything with a dip in. In fact I have done just about everything with a dip in from shitting to showering to mowing the grass to working to watching tv to sleeping to even having sex! My wife hated it but she did it so I would shut up about it. But I didn’t care I just wanted my dip and was willing to do anything to keep it in my lip even if it made her mad or pissed her off.
Fast forward another year or two to June of this year. By this time I’m back to dipping Copenhagen Regular LC because Whiskey Blend was discontinued. I actually shed a tear when I found out it was stopped. Work had been stressful and hadn’t had a vacation or time off all year. My diet is horrible because of my schedule I just eat a bunch of crap when I can and still going full throttle on the dip. One night I suddenly jerk awake during the middle of the night with burning in my chest and acid/food coming up into my mouth. My first instinct was that I was having a heart attack. My stomach was upset too. As I was in the bathroom I seriously thought I was having a heart attack and that I was going to die. This was the precise moment in time when the substance of my life appeared before me and I realized what I have been doing to myself. Not just with my weight and diet but everything including the dipping. I then decided that I must lose the weight but do I decide to quit the dip? Hell no, that is my baby! So I took some Tums for my stomach and just laid in bed until about 6 because I couldn’t go back to sleep. I ate a banana which helped me feel better. I end up going to Urgent Care that morning when they opened and they ran a bunch of tests and an EKG and everything checked out. No heart problems and the doc believed I had a case of acid reflux and that I should eat a light diet for a few days.
So even though that event scared the shit out of me I still did not stop dipping. I decided that I needed to get a regular doctor and scheduled an appointment on 07/27/10 with one that my wife recommended to have a physical done. So I go have the physical and the doc puts me on Prilosec OTC for the reflux and tells me that I need to stop using tobacco. They draw a bunch of blood as well to run tests on that and would let me know the results in a few days. So the next day on 07/28/10 on my way to work I stop at the store and pick up a couple of cans of Copenhagen to last me that next couple of days. Once I get to work I put a dip in and sit down in front of my laptop browsing the internet and I have the realization that I need to stop dipping in order to help get my life in order. I start doing google searching for ways to stop tobacco use and come across the KTC website. I began reading the info and after a few short minutes I began to feel sick and I immediately spit my dip out. Right then was the moment when dip would be off the table for me for good and make my quit date 07/28/10.
As I continue reading the site I go to the forum link and register and posted my introduction. I knew if I was going to quit that I would need help. I never thought I would ever be able to quit but considering my health situation at the time I knew I must find a way because I cannot let this kill me or make matters worse. My first two weeks of quit were absolute hell. Worse than what I’ve seen others described. My anxiety and depression was through the roof. I would break down crying at the drop of a hat. I was having anxiety attacks daily, sometimes more than once. The one thing that didn’t change was my will power and determination. These two things kept me motivated and focused day in and day out and even to this day to stay quit. I guess that is what has led me to be such a hard charging quitter because I had to come up out of such an enormous struggle with my health that I had to stay hard and focused.
So I hope now that folks will understand why I am hard the way I am when dealing with cavers. I am protecting my quit while trying to motivate those to stay quit with me. I wasn’t able to do this alone. I made some good friends here at KTC and they have helped me tremendously whether they realize it or not. And for that matter I wouldn’t be 100 days quit right now had it not been for everything the KTC website has to offer. So thank you to the founders because I truly owe you for saving my life and thank you to everyone in Nov2010 for posting roll with me while we fight our battles together. I truly love you guys.
To any new quitter that may read this I just want to say that quite a bit of my first 100 days have been pure Hell. For a while each day was a constant battle. However with the help of my quit brothers on KTC, my will power and determination I have stayed quit and I feel much better today. If I can quit you can too! Just don’t give in! Don’t give up!
I also learned an important fact when it comes to quitting:
Hell ain’t a bad place to be…