When I was very young I can remember my parents smoking. It never seemed like a big deal. My grandma smoked (it eventually took her life). Her husband smoked but, it wasn’t cigs that killed him. My grandfather on my dad’s side smoked for roughly 60 years and quit a few years before he passed away unrelated to smoking.
My parents quit smoking when I in kindergarten or first grade. I don’t remember them making a big deal out of it. It just didn’t happen anymore. I’ve been around nicotine most of my life.
Fast forward about 10 years… it’s a little cliché, I know but, I wanted to try it because everyone else was doing it. I tried smoking. I liked it. In fact I loved it but, I felt the effects of smoking very quickly. The shortness of breath, the coughing in the morning, the horrific smell your body has as a smoker. When I was 17 I decided to buy a can of Rooster Wintergreen (with the help of someone that was 18 of course). I don’t even know if this stuff is around anymore. I got a world class buzz from this stuff and the best part was, I could do it in school and rarely get caught. From that point on I was a dipper.
A lot of things happen from when you are 17 until you are 36, my age. You go to college…You meet a gal…Get married…Build a house…Get a big boy job…move…have kids…and every thing that goes along with kids. Sports activities, school activities, family vacations, etc. That’s a lot of change. Just about the only thing that stayed consistent was addiction to nicotine. It was always there for me. When I was pissed I had a dip. When I was happy I had a dip. When I needed to celebrate, the occasion always called for a dip!
Like many nicotine users, I quit many times. Usually very quietly so I didn’t look like a failure when I started up again. I failed every time. Probably due to the lack of accountability.
I have worked in sales for many years. A dip in my lip almost became a trademark. I had one in when I’d visit many of my customers. I’d always have one in when I was entertaining them. I drive about 40,000 miles per year so of course I’m going to dip when I’m driving!
As your children grow older, they start to realize that you are putting something in your lip that they are not putting in theirs. So they ask questions. It is not easy to explain what it is to a child. It is even more difficult to answer the question “Why?”….. I don’t really have an answer, but when you go in to the gas station with your child and they jokingly say to the clerk “can I get a grizzly wintergreen too please?” It seems like something needs to change or they are headed right down the same road I have been on.
Along came September 11, 2017. I woke up early that morning. My routine was to put in a dip and make some coffee. I don’t know why I felt compelled to quit, but I did. I told myself I was done. I just felt fed up with it. Sick of letting it dictate where I drive, when I wake up, events I would attend. How early I left events so I could get a dip in. I dumped it all down the toilet before I made my coffee. A couple hours in to my quit I decided to search the web for helpful ways to quit. I came across KTC and decided to write a post. I had no idea how it worked. Moments after joining and writing a post I had private messages from Samrs and JustinJ congratulating me and helping me navigate the site.
Ohhhhhh the fog of nicotine withdrawal. Sucks! Over the next couple days I had many people giving me their digits. “Weird shit here” I thought. I posted roll and sat back and watched for a while. I even contemplated ghosting out of this place after a few days, but something kept me here. It seemed like there were people here that really did care if I quit. I decided to give my digits to a few people. They started texting me daily to check in. This made the thought of ghosting out a little more difficult. They might hunt me down!
Two weeks into my quit, my life was turned upside down. On September 25th, 2017 at about 9:00 pm, we got a call from the doctor stating that my son’s blood test results were in and we needed to get my him to the emergency room at the University of Iowa immediately. My 8 year old son was diagnosed with cancer that day. A child who has never intentionally put anything into his body that would cause him harm. Meanwhile I spent the past 18 years or so filling my mouth with something we KNOW causes cancer, but he is the one in a PICU bed. It just didn’t add up. He watched me dip nearly every day since he was born. He saw the warning labels on the cans about cancer. He knew what it could do. This one hit me hard. Even though it was 2 weeks after day 1, I knew I could never touch that crap again.
I made mention of my son’s illness on KTC. Over the next couple months there was an avalanche of support, well wishes, cards, letters, gifts, care packages, etc. I knew from this day forward that I am a member of a brotherhood that truly cares about me and my family. It was not just some website full of strangers with weird nicknames. It was a whole bunch of guys just like me trying to do what is right for themselves and their families. After all they have done for my family and me, how could I ever break my promise to stay quit? I won’t!
So here I sit in front of my computer on day 117, again pledging to stay quit with all of you. The way I see it, the guy that has been quit for 1 day is right where I am right now. We didn’t use nicotine today. Congratulations day 1 guy! We take it one damn day at a time. I promise all of you, there will be times when you need to take it one MINUTE at a time. Ask yourself, can you make it to the next minute? If the answer is yes, only focus on that minute. Worry about the next minute later.
What’s my point with all these words? Nothing in life should ever affect your resolve to stay quit. Pledge your word to those around you to stay quit and keep your word.