I started smoking when I was 10 and started chewing when I was 12. Happy Days while sitting on the backyard jungle gym was the first dip and I can still remember the salty taste in my mouth. I chewed Skoal for a couple years before transitioning to Copenhagen in high school. Copenhagen would be my dip of choice, one can per day every day* for the next 30 years (* I quit for 2 years in my late thirties. More on that in a minute).
Copenhagen was the one constant in a childhood that was, with two alcoholic parents, let’s just say inconstant. I leaned on Cope like a crutch. I didn’t have the words to know or describe it that way, but there’s no question Copenhagen was my emotional crutch – a friend through all weather. All I needed was the money to pay for it and it was always there. Yep – I was paying for a friend whose only contribution to my life was a buzz, elevated heart rate and potential mouth and throat cancer. Only high-brow companions for this guy…
I tried to quit a few times in my twenties and my thought process during those times would go something like this: “I’ll have some dip. Oh right, I quit. Oh I know, I’ll have some dip. No wait. I quit. Oh, I know, I’ll have some dip. No, wait. I quit…….” Exhausting and unsustainable. Needless to say, I bought an amplifier with the money I saved over 4 months of not chewing and started chewing immediately thereafter. (Well, that was actually very specific information and not needless to say at all.)
I did manage to quit for 2 years in my late 30s. I was married, 40 was looming and I thought “I gotta end this thing”. So I did. I was happy. My wife was happy. That I quit chewing. Neither one of us was especially happy with anything else having to do with me. I was drinking my face off and was as miserable as I had ever been. So, at 40, my wife and I decided to divorce, and Copenhagen and I decided to reconcile. In 2 weeks I was back to a can a day as if no time had passed.
When I turned 45 the time had come to stop drinking. I was a pleasure to none including myself and was just a sloppy, angry son of a bitch. When I turned 46 the time had come to stop being a dry drunk living a life of white-knuckled anxiety and get into 12-step recovery. While I was still dipping, and still leaning into Copenhagen heavily, I was in the process of learning a new way of living which has given me a life I could not conceive of before getting sober and recovered.
Yet still, after 3 years sober, Copenhagen was sticking around like a friend on the couch who won’t go home. How recovered was I if I was leaning so heavily on a drug weed to get me through the day to day? So, 100 days ago, I put my recovery to the biggest test to date, put the can down, and typed “quitting forum for chewing tobacco” into google. KillTheCan.org came up and I’m damn glad it did.
I am grateful every day for all of you on this site. For all those that paved the way before me and for all those that are quitting along side of me and after. You guys and ladies have inspired me, informed me and upon occasion tweaked my ego in ways that made me want to leave this site, which in turn made me know I had to stay. Although I’m a proud 100%er, I have NOT done this site perfect by any stretch. But, thanks to all of you, I have done it and continue to do it. Imperfect in all regards except for the amount of Copenhagen I’ve had in the last 100 days – that’s been a perfect 0%. For that I am deeply grateful.
A special shout out to Prohunter for the run of daily texts when the days were long and my quit was short! I can’t begin to explain what that meant.
And I’m especially grateful to all the dippers that tried, didn’t make it and came back to try again. Whether you’re here for the first time or your one hundred and first – welcome home! Here’s the deal; it’s hard. Fucking hard. Stop judging yourself, take a deep breath and commit to take your life back. When someone here challenges you in a way that pushes your buttons, choose “ok” instead of “fuck it”. When the outside world is breathing down your neck – choose this site over a can. And PM me so we can exchange digits. I am always open for a call or text. We all do this together.
This is way longer than I intended. The only thing I really wanted to say is, 100 days one day at a time, thanks to all of you.