Hi. I’ve read this board a lot over the last year and a half or so, but don’t know that I’ve ever posted…so, here goes.
I dipped for about 22 or 23 years. Started in high school. Took me 10 years to decide I wanted to quit….and then about another 5 years of failed attempts to actually do it. Around January of 2009, I started planning out my final attempt. Started trying to wean my usage a bit (which was tough, because I was around 2 to 2.5 cans a day at that point), and did some research for some alternatives to help with the cravings. By mid February or so, I’d gotten down to about a can a day…but that was as far as I could go. But I took that as a success and just focused on delaying. In other words, I didn’t try to quit really, I’d just tell myself “just wait 10 minutes”…then 5 more minutes…and just put it off as long as possible.
Quitting previously had always been overwhelming. I’d dip my last can, and I’d make it about a day before it would drive me crazy. After 2 or 3 days I couldn’t stand it anymore and I’d go to the store to buy another can. Then I’d take one dip, and it was all over. But this time I succeeded, because I wasn’t trying to quit completely. I was just trying to delay. I woke up on April 1 2009, I think it was a Wednesday. I’d bought a brand new can of Skoal Mint the night before but didn’t open it before I went to sleep. So when I woke up on April 1, I just told myself to wait a bit again. Took a shower, went to work. Lunch rolled around and I still had that same unopened can in my pocket, but I again told myself to just wait. Back to work. 5PM rolled around and I was walking to my car and I again told myself to just wait. 7PM, dinner. Same thing, …. just wait.
I continued that until April 3. I still had the same unopened can in my pocket, and by that point it was really hard to keep putting it off. So I got in my car and drove to Walmart, and bought a can of Smokey Mountain. Boy, did it taste bad (they only have Wintergreen, and I’ve always hated anything but mint) but it did the job of fooling my subconscious and buying me more time. The next day I ordered some Hooch (which, incidentally, is a really good alternative. Good texture, flavor, etc…really helped), and bought a bunch of beef jerky. But I still kept that same can, and every time I had a craving I’d look at it and make the decision to wait.
After a month or so, I was pretty much back to normal. I think my wife wanted to kill me for the first month, but she was really supportive. ‘Supportive’, for me, was she understood she needed to leave me alone. She didn’t get offended when I’d…leave the house, go outside, or go to the guest house by myself because I didn’t want to ‘snap’ and gripe at her or argue over something silly.
And that’s how I quit. In three weeks, I’ll have made it a year. I’d often heard in movies people saying ‘take it one day at a time’ but I never really understood it. Now I get it. When I tried to quit before it was just overwhelming. ‘OH MY GOD I CANT EVER DIP EVER AGAIN!!!!’ and I just could not handle it. But I could handle individual moments of self control. I could handle saying ‘just wait’ 100 times a day and focus only on that moment. I think everyone has to find what works for them to quit. Nicotine patches, tobacco-free alternatives…whatever works for you. Just don’t give up on it, keep trying. If I had any advise to give it would be to simply not overwhelm yourself. Truly quit one dip at a time.
Oh, and by the way. I still have that unopened can of skoal. I don’t carry it around anymore, but I keep it on my desk as a trophy. I still have cravings from time to time, and I still decide to not open that can. That’s what works for me.