For 16 years, Chew, smokes, sniff snuff, pipe, cigars, anything I could get my hands on. I’ve tried smoking chew when my lip was to soar to take anymore. I’ve taken cigarette butts out of the ash tray, emptied the left over rancid stale tobacco and rolled it up in Zig Zags. Taken dips out of my lip and put them back in my can for later use. I’ve stuffed pipe tobacco in my lip. I would take it any way I can get it. I dipped during the day and smoked at night. If I was going to go hiking or hunting I would stop smoking and switch to a strictly dip diet.
August, 2009, I had 3 weeks till bow hunting started so I put myself on my “dip diet” of 1 can of Skoal Straight a day. I like to hike back in the mountains to get away from people so going light weight is huge. I pre packed my stuff and weighed it all out. For a 8 day trip my pack was weighing in at 65-75 pounds and I had no room for a few important items. Not cool. I started pulling things out by least importance even though everything in there had value. Then I looked at my 8 cans of chew. The fact that it was still in my pack meant that it was “important”. The weight and space they were talking up was disgusting but “fuck it, I’ll leave the chew and cut the handle off my tooth brush, down size my first aid kit and pack less food and clothes”. Dumb. I took out the cans and put back a few things that I had earlier taken out.
I started thinking about my addiction more than I ever have. I’ve been putting nicotine first for half my life. All the stupid things I’ve done to keep it. All the time I’ve spent hanging out with my self just so I could use. I thought about my dad who was right in the middle of his cancer treatments. My dad had been diagnosed with throat cancer from smoking in may of 2009. Him having cancer didn’t even phase my addiction. What if I had cancer right now. I’ve been checking my mouth for white spots more and more often. What would my wife do if I got cancer. Would she support herself. How in the fuck could I do that to do her. I was ashamed. I realized I was selfish. It was then I decided I was going to quit. The soars in my mouth, the hacking up shit every morning… The nicotine first mentality had to come to an end.
I ordered the patch via the Colorado Quit Line. I got pretty pissed when the person on the phone told me it would take two weeks for my patches to show up. I would just have to wait to quit.
I got home from work the day my patches were supposed to arrive. I aked my wife if they were here, she told me no. I was pissed. I decided that night, fuck it. I need to do this now. I got on the computer and searched for things that might help me quit. That’s when I found KTC. I signed up that night. I tossed all my tobacco, tossed my spitters and braced my self for the hardest thing I would do in life.
KTC AND MY EARLY DAYS OF QUIT-
Holy shit, the first days were tough. My patches arrived on day 3 but by that time I was almost over the physical withdrawal hump so I gave them away. I was pissed at the way I felt. I took my anger and rallied. 3 fucking days, the longest I ever went by quitting cold turkey. I was going to do this. By day 5 I had a manic energy I’ve never felt before, it was weird but it felt damn good. I was on KTC reading all that I could just to pass the time. The immediate support I got from my intro page was huge. After 60 days quit things were going “smoothly” I thought. Even though Samcat and the others in the Nov 09 group and the vets here tried to ram home the importance of posting roll I wouldn’t understand it till around 70 days in my quit.
THE CAVE –
I was in the mountains on a hunting trip, no internet, no cell service and I hadn’t posted roll in a few days. A weekend with the boys, the camaraderie, the outdoors, the booze, the nicotine. All things for a “the perfect cave”. My friends all new I was quit and would never supply me with nicotine so if I was going to cave I would have to do it with out there help. In the middle of the night I woke up to take a piss and noticed a full unsmoked cigarette laying on the ground. With out even thinking I grabbed it, found a lighter that was partially wet from the melted snow in the tent and stepped out side. The wind was howling. I tried and tried to light that damn cigarette, I just couldn’t get a flame. I threw it the ground with a guilty disgust. What the hell did I just do. I laid awake that night wondering if that was a cave. I understood this weight of addiction would never be gone, or at least it was still heavy on my mind and would be for a while.
STARTING OVER –
I got back on KTC and told everyone what had happened. I got tons of responses that were all over the spectrum of “you caved” and “you didn’t cave”. I got an incredible amount of support. I knew that if I signed back up with my group I would sweep what had happened under the rug. I had to remember that every day is like day one. I had to start over. So I signed up in the Feb 2010 group. Once again I took my anger and guilt and rallied against the nic bitch. I made my daily promise. I formed bonds with people that carry around the weight of addiction, people just like me.
Thank you Nov 09 for letting me start my quit journey with you! Thanks to the Febuary fuc nuts for letting me restart and rethink my quit! Thanks to the mods of KTC for giving me the staging ground to take my life back! Thanks to all the people on KTC who type in their stories and words of support! And a special thanks to folks in my group and in others that have personally helped me, you know who you are. Thanks for helping me put the important things back into my pack.
NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member Aug