I started chewing when I was a 16 year old sophomore in high school. It began innocent enough, one of the cool kids snagged a can of cope from his dad and offered us a pinch after the Friday football game. Little did I know at the time, that even at such a young age, I had addictive tendencies….an addictive personality. I still do to this day. Hence my obsession with golf, or anything I do really. That first dip would’ve sent any normal person running for their life, never to touch the stuff again, because shortly after taking that first dip of cope, I threw up 5 times that night. I even remember thinking, “my god, this is terrible”. Yet, after it was over, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the buzz I got from it. The very next time there was chew in the vicinity, I quickly asked for a serving. You see, chewing wasn’t smoking…that was for white trash. Chewing was cool, it was for professional baseball players. Plus, after I learned to conceal it, nobody knew that I was doing it. Needless to say, I became hooked.
Over the course of my high school career I evolved into a full blown addict. I started with one dip a day as a sophomore, to finally having a dip in my lip 5 hours out of the day as a senior. By the time I finished college in 2009, I was filling up milk gallons full of spit. At this point, the only time I didn’t have a dip in was when I was eating or sleeping. And that’s how it’s stayed for the last 8 years.
Shortly after college in 2009, I got a job with a bank in Las Vegas. At this point in my chewing career, I still thought that one day I would kick the habit…just not now. I started as a teller, where 3 times a day I would duck out to reload my grizz straight. It was a small office so everybody saw me leave at these times. They started to wonder if I was a smoker. Nah fuck that, that’s for white trash.
During the year of 2010 working as a teller in Vegas, living with my 4 best friends and my now wife, I developed a large bump on my right cheek…..right where the chew goes. When I found it, I was obviously mortified. Thinking, I’m dead for sure. I thought long and hard about it. What can I do? Should I go to the doctor? Should I tell someone? I decided to quit….that was the only way to fix it. I sure as hell wasn’t going to the doctor. They cost money.
So I sit down with my now wife, tell her what I’ve found (she’s been asking me to quit since 2005, yes we’ve been together since high school) and I vow to quit chewing. I tell my roommates/friends that I’m quitting. They support me. My wife even calls my parents and tells them that I’m quitting and to “make sure you watch out for his irritability”. So the first day begins, it sucks. I take my first break from work, call my wife. I remember saying how hard it was, and that I feel like I’ve lost my best friend. Yada yada. I trudge through the rest of the day.
Most everyone I read or hear about has tried quitting with minor success throughout their dipping career. I’ve heard about 30 days, 1 year, etc etc. Well my friends, I lasted 10 fucking hours. I don’t know what caused it, but immediately following work, I went right over to the nearest gas station and bought some grizz straight.
I hate losing, and my lack of success demoralized me. I found it so difficult to quit that I had given up on the idea of ever being able to do it again.
Over the next 2 years I made peace with myself. I was going to die from it. Simply because I could not fathom ever having the strength to overcome such an addiction. I got a few more bumps that came and went.
In 2012 my wife and I got married and bought a house together. By this time, she was begging, pleading for me to quit. However, I had already given up. I knew for a fact that I was going to die of cancer. I never once fooled myself about future medical advancements, or that it won’t happen to me. No, fuck that, I was dying.
Here is perhaps the most fucked up part about my chewing. I have never said this to anybody, but here it goes. My job requires me to constantly talk, discuss and analyze financial situations. I am familiar with most all things financial. From 2012 to 2016 I was preparing our family finances specifically so that my wife would be able to take care of herself when I die. (she did not(does not) know this) Among many other things, we bought life insurance policies, but they wouldn’t pay if I died of cancer. Although I would not go to the doctor, if it was somehow found out that I had cancer, I planned a specific place for me to crash my truck so that my cause of death wouldn’t be “cancer”, but rather, “accidental death” and thus, my wife secure. This was my way of taking care of her, the only way I knew how.
We had our first baby in 2014. My wife figured I would quit then. I knew I wouldn’t, I had already made peace…given up. Our daughter Harper (Hawps), grew ever bigger, and I became ever more attached. As the days went on, I began to realize that it became increasingly difficult to sleep at night. I would wake up with the horrible realization that my little bubs would grow up without a dad, and my wife would struggle with being a single parent. This went on for 1 ½ years. I wake up. Insomnia. Dreams of my teeth falling out.
On May 18, 2016 at 1 AM, I woke up after all my teeth had fallen out and my daughter didn’t have a dad…grabbed the ipad….and humbly googled “how to stop chewing tobacco”. The first page I came to talked about “tapering” off. “Hmmm, that’s a good idea, but it’ll never work” I thought. A few more say the same thing. Then I click on KTC, and the first thing I read is “quit chewing right fucking now, what are you waiting for?” That’s when it hit me, these bad asses weren’t here to coddle you into a nice cozy quit. KTC was calling us addicts out. They were talking to all of us. They were saying, “quit being a bitch, and quit.” No fancy tricks, no psychology, no voodoo. Although I’d never sought help, I bought in from day one. That night at 1 AM, I spent 3 hours reading everything on the site.
So here I am, 100 days quit. 100 days ago, on that fateful night, I read the HOF speeches by the guys from May, and remember thinking how crazy impossible that would be for an addict like me. Then, once my quit started, I thought that once I hit 100 days, I’d be free of this addiction. I couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re reading this and thinking about quitting, just know that it gets easier as time goes on. The fog is gone. The anger is gone (thank you wifey for putting up with me). But the craves are still here, they will always be here. I went through some seriously dark depression in the first 40-50 days, simply because my reward mechanism wasn’t there. But now that I am free of my main associations(checking out the “surfing the crave” video), I have this amazing view on life that I haven’t had since I was 15. We bought a new house last month, I don’t have to worry about my wife paying the mortgage. I can now look into my daughter’s eyes, and no longer wonder if I’ll get the chance to hold her in my arms after her first bicycle crash.
I genuinely had given up on my future life before May 18, 2016. I had neither the strength nor the knowledge to overcome such an addiction. KTC has freed me of this. My brothers from August, you have become family. I thank each and every one of you for helping me get through this. The support you offer is incredible. The vets who show up day in and day out are incredible. Our HOF conductors, while going through a quit of their own, are incredible. Finally, Ashlee and Hawps, daddy will be here for as long as you’ll have me.