If anyone told me 101 days ago that today I would be nicotine free for 100 days today I would have said they were crazy. When I was a dipper I wanted to quit every day for as long as I can remember, but could rarely push through the first few hours of suck. One time I stopped for 4 days, but went out drinking with some buddies and that was the end of that.
My first encounter with nicotine was sometime around high school graduation and my first year of college. One of my friends smoked and he offered me a cigarette one night, so I started smoking. As an asthmatic child my lungs were not very appreciative of this new habit, but I kept it up nonetheless. That is, until my 21st birthday party when I smoked up a storm with my buddies all night and the next morning I could hardly breath I was wheezing so bad. Did it occur to me that I should stop smoking? Yes…did I stop? No…I needed more. On the next draw my lungs lit on fire and I started coughing up blood.
So now I was done smoking, but I was not done with nicotine. This same friend who introduced me to smoking had also introduced me to some berry blend skoal pouches on a previous occasion. It was ok but I was a smoker so didn’t really take to it. Now I needed a new nicotine fix though, so I started dipping. Oddly enough the chew did not hook me the same as the cigarettes, so I just did it occasionally and then stopped for a while…
I don’t remember exactly how long I had stopped. But I recall one day walking out of my apartment door thinking “a dip sounds good right about now.” I wish I could go back in time to this one moment and slam myself against the wall and scream “NONONONONONONO”…but I can’t. So I stopped at the store and got some berry blend skoal and this time I was hooked. By now I had started dating my wife, she knew I had previously smoked and chewed but said it was disgusting so there was no way I could tell her I started chewing again…so I became a ninja…and started my 11 year clock of continuous nicotine abuse.
Time went on, my poison of choice became Kodiak wintergreen, and I also found winterchill camel snus pouches which enabled me to feed my addiction around the clock with no one noticing. Literally the only times I did not have a dip or pouch in my mouth was when I was eating or sleeping. My wife and I got married 10 years ago, my dad died of colon cancer 16 months ago, my wife and I had a daughter (a week after my dad died). All of these I events I thought would be good ones on which I should quit…along with every new years, birthday, first day of the month, days ending in y…but I never did.
So what made 100 days ago different than all the previous days? I had found the KTC website a few weeks prior and though it sounded like a good place to get support quitting tobacco I wasn’t ready to make the leap. I ended up using my fear and anxiety, probably what got me addicted, to finally end it. Cancer risk, when in my mind at all, was in the back of my mind…as it has to be for us nicotine addicts to get through each day sanely. So I brought those thoughts to the front of my mind and got myself worked up about cancer. I looked at cancer picks, read about oral cancer, read stories on KTC, and got myself worked up to nearly panic attack levels. I forced myself to make a choice between nicotine slavery and cancer, or freedom from nicotine and cancer. I chose the latter. This is what finally got me to rip the chew out of my mouth and throw away the rest of my cancer cans on 5/25/16 at 6 PM. KTC did the rest.
About a week later I joined KTC, and my STD brothers and sisters are without a doubt the reason I made it from 7 to 100 days quit. The accountability to one another and support given is amazing. I’m an introverted person so I took a while to get involved and I haven’t reached out as much as some people. But seeing all those names on the roll call every day, all those folks to whom I give my word every day that I will not use nicotine, keeps me honor bound to make it one more day without nicotine. Thank you to everyone who has posted roll to help keep me clean. I will keep posting roll to keep you clean.
Reflecting on my quit I have some mixed emotions. I’m proud of myself for achieving what I am sure the vast majority of tobacco users never achieve, 100 days of quit. Quitting nicotine has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I’m also disappointed that I got myself into a situation where this is something I had to achieve. I am not a former nicotine addict now, nor will I ever be…I am an addict for the rest of my life. For the rest of my life I will need to be vigilant against nicotine’s voice whispering in my ear that I can have just one more. But I will conquer that voice one day at a time…EDD…with my STD brethren and the rest of the KTC community. Quit on!