On May 25, 2011, I was a 28 year plus ninja dipper finger bangin’ cans and packing lippers while no one was watching. I tried to “quit” a few times before that, most notably in 1998 with the help of Nicorette, which never worked because the moment I quit using it, I would just say heck with it and go buy a can. I also tried cold turkey several times. Four or five days into it I would pull into a convenience store and without even thinking about it, buy a tin and immediately be back to my old ways. Yes, for 28 years I dipped. Not proud of it. Started doing it when I was 12. Dipping with my friends, thinking I was cool. Same story as many of you.
Fast forward to last February. I am about to have my second child. My wife and I go to the hospital for the scheduled delivery. That night, a massive snow storm hits. We’re snowed in. No one is going anywhere, even in a 4×4 SUV. Our baby, praise the Lord, is born healthy. I’m sneaking off every two hours or so to have a dip, which can be challenging in a hospital that enforces its no tobacco policy. The next day in the recovery room I am packing a fatty. Oh crap. I only have 1 or 2 left. Panic. A blizzard is still going on. I’m not going anywhere. What am I going to do? Why the heck did I not load up before we left for the hospital? I had advance warning!! It was a planned delivery for chrissakes! Several hours later when my wife and baby are sleeping, I leave the recovery room and literally hike 3 miles in 3 feet of snow to the store. It took me about 3 hours to get that tin and come back. My wife had no idea where I was because she was asleep. I did not want to wake her and watch her roll her eyes at me when I told her where I was going. She has heard it many times before. I always feel like I’m a loser when this happens and that I let her down somehow. So why mess with it?
When I get back, my wife is pissed anyway. Where the bleep were you bleephole. I needed your help and you were gone and the nurse had these questions and I did not know the answer and you do and you suck and by the way, if I knew you were going to the store I would have had you get this and that, etc., yada, yada.
At that moment, clarity came to me. Dude, you are almost 40. You have a great job, are in good health, have a comfortable, Christian home, status in the community, awesome friends, a great church and a wonderful family. You are truly blessed. Why are you risking all of this over a can of weed? If you get sick and cannot support your family, who will? Why do you walk 3 hours in a snow storm for a lip? You are educated. You know deep down inside that dip causes cancer and a whole host of other problems. Why do you lie about your “habit” to those who don’t know your dirty little secret? Why do you put up with the stink in your breath, the grains in your keyboard and car and the hidden spitters that the wife finds no matter how good you think you are at hiding them? Why do you not cower in shame when you are on the porch having a dip and your kid comes up and starts spitting like you are because she wants to be just like you? Why, when your wife says that she is scared you are going to get cancer, the best you can muster is dipping is not as bad as smoking and I don’t smoke? Seriously. How can you criticize your mom for smoking when you are sneaking dips on the side when visiting her home? WHY WHY WHY!!!
I get on Google that cold blustery night in the hospital room and type “quit dipping” on my I-Pad. KTC comes up immediately. I read awhile. I am intrigued. I sign up but don’t post a day one. Instead, I decide to set a quit date (May 26, 2011) and use the next 3 months to think about how I will succeed. Now look. I know this notion of planning a quit (instead of flushing your can right then and there) is almost blasphemy in some parts of KTC. But different strokes for different folks and to each their own. In my case, I had many prior “spontaneous” quits fail because I did not spend the time preparing myself for the mental game. For the triggers. For the suck. The headaches. The insomnia. The intense craves. The physical withdrawal, etc. This time, I would have a detailed plan. For me, the plan was to draw strength from the Lord, to exercise strenuously, to deal with triggers in set ways, to read on the site and to rely upon my sense of determination. I am competitive and like to win. I did a lot of lurking and reading in the KTC forums and in the main site to draw some inspiration before the big day. I told my family what I was doing, and they bought in completely.
On May 26, 2011, at 9:16 PM CST, I spit out my last dip and declared myself quit, made it to the HOF 100 days later, and the rest is history as they say.
To all new quitters, my advice to you is simple. Admit you are an addict. Dipping is not a habit, it is an addiction to nicotine, the most addictive substance known to man. “Because I am an addict” is the answer to all of the WHYs I asked above. Once you declare yourself quit, you can never have another dip again. Nic will tell you lies after you quit. When you are in a withdrawal induced haze and having a horrible day, she will whisper in your ear and say, “you could sure use a pinch right now. Just one. You deserve it. No one will know, and I won’t tell.” Lies. You must resist and do whatever it takes to stay quit. Cold Turkey is the only way to quit. Don’t be afraid to get on KTC chat and start raging. They can take it. Trust me. Just don’t take it out on your family. They are innocent. And avoid the marketing and lies propagated by the NRT industry. Why quit a drug with a different form of the same drug? This makes no sense, and it does not work. It just prolongs the agony. Remember, at the end of the day nothing worthwhile comes easy. The same is true when quitting nicotine. You will go through hell but it is well, well worth it. Being quit is truly priceless. You succeed at this, you beat down Nic, you can do just about anything.
So what was the difference this time? Why, on day 127 of my quit, am I confident that I am quit for good and that I can declare victory? Simple. KTC. The notion of posting roll every day and giving your word to strangers going through the same hell as you. Promising to them that you will not use that day no matter what, period. Taking it one day at a time.
There is a magic to KTC. We, as addicts, are good at lying about our addiction to our wives, children, co-workers, etc. But lie to your fellow quit brothers after you gave your word? Are you kidding? For me, I would rather die than cave and let my quit sisters down. When you are in the gutter naked, curled up, crying and getting pissed on by a dog because you are having the DTs, I know where you are and what you are going through. You gave me your word though and that is why you are shivering. I gave you mine, and that is why I will support you as best I can no matter what condition you are in.
As to thanks, I will start with my fellow September 2011 brothers and sisters. You all added something to my quit. Throughout the process, I knew you had my back. I knew you would walk the 3 miles in the snow that I did for a can 7 months ago to help me stay quit. I hope you know that I would have done the same for you and will always be there if you need me. Just a PM or text away. And that is what makes KTC special. Brotherhood. Accountability. We all went through hell together and most of us made it back. You cannot find this type of support anywhere.
I will also extend a shout out to Aglawyer in November 2011, who is 65 days or so away from the promised land. I’ve got your back, you have mine. The same for gmann. Almost every day, without me asking for it, you would post support saying you were quit with me. We are all quit together.
For the founders and current administrators/moderators of KTC, I reserve my best for you. You know who you are. You are volunteers doing the Lord’s work. If not for KTC, I would not be quit. Instead, I would merely be “quitting.” You know, thinking about trying to quit, giving it a shot, caving, rinse and repeat. In other words, my quit back on May 26, 2011, at 9:16 PM CST would have eventually ended in failure with little fanfare just like countless times before. I would still be packing lips right now and telling lies. I would be dying a slow death spiritually because addiction is slavery and slavery kills the soul. I would be dying physically because this little weed in a can the size of a hockey puck will kill you. Make no mistake. If not for KTC I would be a slave. I would be living in fear, which is really what Nic’s gift to you is. The fear that you can’t live without me, the fear that the only reason you are where you are in your job, work, etc., is because of me, etc. We know this lie, don’t we? But thanks to KTC, this is what could have been. What is reality for the first time in my life is that I am quit. I am quit. I am quit. I am free and no longer a slave. I have hope. I am still an addict, and will be so until my dying breath. But for now and forever more, I am quit.
Thank you, and God Bless You.