I don’t quite remember my very first dip. I know I was 14 years old and just started working on a farm. I was the new, young guy and there were several other guys in HS and college that worked there. Most of those guys became very close friends of mine. Unfortunately, (I don’t blame them) they also introduced me to something that would control my life for the next 28 years. I remember those early years well. Skoal Original Fine Cut. Red Man and Beech-Nut chew. How about the Red Man Totems and Golden Blend? I was slowly introduced to each, the older guys always sharing a chew or dip while we were mowing fields, baling hay, or painting a fence. I felt older when I was chewing, accepted, one of the guys. I was also becoming addicted. I didn’t know at the time that I have a very addictive personality. Runs in the family. Those early, borrowed dips quickly became my own tin or pouch.
I of course hid my tobacco from my parents. I remember getting up early before school to go for a run. I’d get back home, grab a pinch, and enjoy it in the shower, where I could spit and not get caught. As I got a few years older, my parents would catch me. But they both smoked at the time, and couldn’t say much except to take it easy. When I began driving, I dipped all the way to school. At least 10 half-filled bottles of spit behind the seat in my pick-up. Eventually, I started to dip whenever I could- on the bus coming home from a football game, on school trips, in class if we were watching a movie. At 16, I knew the stores that would sell to me, so it was easy to feed my growing addiction.
I graduated from HS and moved onto the United States Naval Academy. I had to take a break, and I honestly didn’t think I’d use tobacco again. At 4 weeks into my Plebe summer (boot camp), one of my upperclassmen came by my room at night and threw me a tin. Once again, the older guy looking out for the young guy. I hid that tin and enjoyed a dip each night. Once the academic year started and I got a Saturday afternoon off, I’d walk to town and buy my tobacco for the week. The addiction continued.
Fast forward 4 years. I graduated and was heading off for more training. My girlfriend and future wife smoked at the time, and we decided to “quit”. Even made a bet, which I won. I stopped using cold turkey, which lasted about 5 months. I was getting ready to drive across the country for my first duty assignment. I walked into a 7-11 and thought to myself, “That’s a long drive with some long days. Gonna need something to keep me awake. Yeah, I’ll buy a few tins.” That’s how this addiction works- I was 5 months free and decided it was a good idea to go back to using to keep me awake on a long drive?
There were never any breaks after that. For the next 20 years, I dipped 1-2 cans of Skoal Original Fine Cut every day. Wife quit smoking in her 20s, but I kept going. Kid #1 and #2 arrived, but I kept going. Both of my parents quit smoking, but I kept going. After leaving the Navy, I joined a company that made me a partner and President. Even as an executive running a $50M company, I kept going. Never really thought about quitting, but was scared to death what I was doing to myself.
It was an afternoon between Xmas and New Years, and I was getting ready to leave for the day. I stopped by my partner’s office to chat. Talking about New Years, he pointed to his lip and said, “You’re still doing that stuff, huh? You really need to stop, Matt.” I told him I know, which I had said countless times before. I changed the subject and left. That evening, one of my best friends came by my house for a drink. As we sat at my bar, I put in my regular drink dip. He said, “Dude, you really need to quit that shit.” Fuck, that was two people, both of whom mean a lot to me, telling me I need to quit. I really need to do something, soon.
New Years day was spent on the couch, nursing an awful hangover. Had a few dips, not because they tasted good, but because I needed my nicotine. That next morning, I had a dip at 6 am as I was getting ready for work. As I spit it out, I suddenly realized it was now or never. I didn’t want to face my partner and friend any more. I didn’t want my family to deal with my cancer, death, or a father/husband without a jaw. And I didn’t want to be controlled by something like nicotine. Those days you run out of dip and immediately need to jump in your car to buy more. When you drive down the road and turn around because you left your tin at home. I was done.
Three days later I found this site. I was counting hours at that time. I couldn’t concentrate and needed something. I spent the next week on KTC, reading everything I could. The hours became days. Days became weeks. I posted roll every day, the very first thing I did. Weeks became months. The fog slowly lifted. I continued to read everything I could. I got excited about my quit and celebrated the milestones. Before I even knew it, 100 days came and went. At 114 days, I haven’t had many good nights of sleep since I quit. I’ve gained about 10 pounds and struggling to get rid of it. But I’m quit and have no intention of ever using again. One day at a time. With the help of this website, I’ll be quit tomorrow, and I’ll do it again.
I spent most of this telling you where I came from, and very little about my actual quit. I did this for anyone reading this that is thinking of quitting, to show you I was just like you. I was a hard core dipper for 28 years. I never thought I would quit. But it happened. I got the right push, the right motivation and I just did it. That’s all it takes. And this website, as crazy as it can be sometimes, got me to 100 days and beyond. Now is the time for you to quit. Just do it. Start with hours, just keep adding them. Those hours will become days, I promise you. Use this site and read everything you can. Make connections. Post roll as early as you can, every day. Celebrate milestones, every single one of them. Share your quit with friends and family, and lean on them. My best friend would randomly text me at work and simply ask, “How many days?” I loved answering that question. You can quit today, it really is a simple decision. And as soon as you do, you will have this entire community supporting you. Please join us. Do it for yourself, your family, and your friends. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you around.