This is my story…
I recall the first few years of my addiction; I would tell myself “I’m not addicted because I don’t dip before noon.” Ah, the days of Cherry Skoal. The first time I had a dip in the morning I was so worried as if I had cheated on a girlfriend. Well, it turned out, I did cheat, not on a girlfriend but on myself. I knew the mycelium of nicotine had finally spread its little fingers all throughout my soul and it was owning me. But I was young, had no clue what addiction meant, nor did I care…I had plenty of time to figure that out later.
Life sure as hell speeds up after High School, College, and then into your first job broke as hell. I think most of us have had that time in our lives where Ramon Noodles was the caviar to success. Trying to balance a budget on a small paycheck. I reflect back to these hard times and can’t help but shake my head. There’d be times where I was literally ass-over-heels inverted in my truck looking for a quarter, dime, or nickel just so I could go buy a can of dip. And that quarter was the difference to having an ok meal or having a salty ass noodle meal.
Looking back at the things I planned my life around because of this addiction is borderline bat-shit crazy. I was offered a great paying job and almost turned it down because my office would’ve been right next-door to the Executive VP of a fortune 1000 company. How could I do that job without a dip in my mouth all day? I took the job. My first week was similar to Michael J. Fox in “The Secret to My Success”. Except instead of changing clothes in the elevator, I was sneaking around trying to hide from people seeing me with a chew in and spitting in a cup. One day the VP bolted into my office without warning, I was quick to grab a napkin I had in my pocket which had blood on it from a razor cut earlier. Without even thinking I pressed that thing to my cheek and waited for him to ask me why I had a napkin on my cheek. He never did. Rather, he asked me something that catapulted my addiction into full nuclear:
VP: “Hey, you got a can on you”?
Me: Uh…. uh…uh
VP: Listen, just keep your spitters out of site and keep the pinch small. You’re good.
Me: Uh….Ok. Is long cut Copenhagen, ok?
VP: I prefer snuff, but that’ll do thanks. Keep it on the hush.
Soon after, he was promoted to be the Executive General Manager of Operations for all xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I worked there for another 3-4 years. My time there was pretty good, I had a pretty solid “in” with the boss. Eventually he didn’t even care about his addiction. People were free to just walk into his office for whatever, which was all the time. I’d walk into his office and his whole damn cheek would be swollen. Mind you, I probably had one in too. Some point later on into our relationship, I told him how nervous I was when he bolted in my office as though I was some teenage kid getting caught by his mother “feeding the Geese”. And once he had asked me for a dip, the whole picture changed from a kid getting caught by his mom to a kid getting caught by a naked supermodel. My addiction was now a solid can every day, sometimes two cans.
I took my first dip in September of 1993 after a HS football game. My best friend at the time and I were both linebackers for the XXXX Silverhawks. We both went to a local apartment to soak in a jacuzzi after a game. I saw him put in a chew. In my head, I recalled my girlfriend at the time telling me that she thought it was sexy to see a man dipping. (I would love to ask her about this today…actually scratch that, probably not a good idea). Anywho, I asked my friend for a pinch. About 2 minutes later my world was spinning. I’m sure the jacuzzi didn’t help either. I spit that crap out. I felt like I was about to throw-up. Fast forward 15 minutes later I was at the taco-bell drive thru window, “Welcome to taco-bell, can I take your order” Before I could even say “two double-deckers please” …. I hurled all over that intercom. You’d think at this point why in the hell would I ever want to attempt having another dip? That’s just how powerful nicotine and tobacco are I guess, just takes one time.
For the next 27 years, I was hand-cuffed to big tobacco. Not once had I ever tried to quit. 10,000 days of solid tobacco use. I’ll say that again…. Never had I ever tried to quit.
In June of 2000 I went on a backpack trip to Europe with two college buddies. For three weeks we would visit six countries and drink and party at every stop. Somewhere around the 11th day into the trip I ran out of cans. The next few days I remember were so bad. I decided to break from the pack and reroute my trip through a Swedish town that sold Snus, the real deal snus. The stuff you snort. I told my friends I’d meet up with them in two days in Florence. I ended up finding some that would tie me over for the remainder of the trip, it was dry and shitty, but I stuffed it my lip like I was a hippo hunting a canoe. This story is important because 2-3 days is the longest, I’d ever gone without tobacco.
Again, I reflect back at some of the most ridiculous things that I did just to keep my addiction going and I’m truly at a loss for words. But nothing will ever compare to my stupid choice of putting tobacco on a more important level than my family. It hurts to even type that into words… pause.
When my first child was born, I said I would quit. All smoke and mirrors. I was holding my daughter at 2 days old in the hospital while I had long-cut Copenhagen tobacco chew stuffed in my lip, spitter can probably sitting next to the breast milk, SMH. I can’t even image the ugly monster she saw looking at her. We all know what we look like when trying to smile with a lip in. I recall searching and reading several websites about quitting and book marked them, KTC was one of them but never committed to creating a profile. I was there just to check a box. Just shows how bad this disease controls billions of synaptic impulses our brain produces every second and conspicuously diverts our thinking to be more in line to continuing using Nicotine.
Over the next 5 years and another child, I would be dipping at every moment I could, no care. What could possibly break this addiction if having a child couldn’t stop it, cancer? My God, what a stupid crossing point I was on at this point in my life. To think that cancer was going to be the only thing to stop it….and to be honest maybe not even that.
I’ve had a bad back for a long time. It just steadily started getting worse over the last 10 years. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but the past years my backpain pushed me into a heavy man’s body. My health was starting to deteriorate, it was hard for me to even walk. After several radiology scans, a neurosurgeon told me I would need a 2-level spinal fusion from L4-S1. Up until this point in my life I’ve never had surgery, so I was a little scared as one would assume. But truth be told, the scariest thing on my mind wasn’t the possibility of me becoming paraplegic or dying but it was how can get through this surgery and continue to dip? WTF? I can’t explain it, but something turned the light on in my head and said “STOP”. All the literature I had googled on fusions mentioned in bold that any form of nicotine was bad and would force a successful fusion down to 50% success. Nicotine can greatly decrease the rate of successful fusions called a non-union or pseudoarthroses.
With my surgery date fast approaching, my mind was going nuts. I was thinking maybe sneak some cans into my overnight bag, then another voice would slap me to say, “wake up”. Inside my head must have looked like a gigantic wasp nest that was being extracted. I knew in my head I had to quit or at least quit for a few months.
The night before my surgery, I made a choice not to go to the store and buy dip. 4am came around real quick. Before I knew it, I was naked with a hospital gown on and warm blankets on my legs. Some of the drugs were starting its effects. Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room, certainly in pain. Because COVID was at peak, I didn’t get a hospital room until the next morning. Once I got into a room it had been nearly two days since my last dip…Morphine and pain meds propelled me another 3 days in the hospital. I was cleared to go home on a Friday, my surgery was on a Monday. FIVE days without any nicotine or tobacco, when I got into the car with my wife, I still had this urge to want to hit the gas station but for some reason the importance of it was gone, sort of like the feeling where you say “nah… I’ll do it later.”
I’m now at home, recovering from a major back surgery. I can’t drive, hell I could barely walk. By this time, per all the dip stories and literature I’d read, said the nicotine withdrawals last about 2-3 days. WOW…did I somehow cheat this addiction by walking out the door at 2am from this abusive relationship without being caught nor saying goodbye?
Somewhere around my 10th day of quit, I was so proud of what I had done that I wanted to tell people and scream about it! But to who? Who even cares? That’s when I remembered the tobacco quit site I kept visiting, “maybe I can be a part of their group or something.”
Today’s date is November 29, 2021. I’m sitting at my desk writing a story about the historical impact of how nicotine and tobacco altered the course of my life, of which I will never fully understand. And to be honest, I don’t care anymore. I’m no longer going to allow that crap to rent space in my head like a little navigation voice, power off. Spit cans in the house, spills in the carpet, the couch, spit cans in the truck, spills in the truck, spit cans on my desk, spills on the desk. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Today my mind is clear, my desk is clean, I shave more often just so I can kiss my little girls on the face…. pause. I’m still recovering from back surgery, but I feel fucking amazing. I can walk around without being in pain. I’m not trying to alter everything I do around a $5 hockey puck of shit any longer. I’m truly humbled by all the voices on this site that have shared their experiences and journaled their trials and tribulations to quit tobacco. It has helped me tremendously in my own journey. I will continue to give back to this site what I can as I continue this never-ending addiction with everyone here at KTC while remaining free of Tobacco & Nicotine…I am quit with you!! 118
Thank you to the following gentlemen for continuing to invest their time into this site and give back so people like me can still cross that bridge. Some of you quit a long time ago and yet still manage to find time in your busy lives to give back to this cause. I am sure there are more names that came before you but since your names are on my HOF letter, Thank you! @SAMRS, @FISHFLORIDA, @KDIP, @WALTERWHITE, @MNxENGINEER314, @CHEWIE, @PALPATINE
Thank you @chris2alaska ! The first and only quitter to always send me a Quit Text. Maybe winter came early? We’ll see how many I get in the summer.
To my November Nutt n Butt crew of 7… It’s been an honor and a pleasure to slay this beast with you boys. Thank you for holding me accountable throughout this quit journey. We’re in this together until then end… Quit.
@grizzlyquittergreen, @EdT3329, @Haas22, @Peloncito, @FDStrong, @davehuebner
Looking forward to giving back to this site in any way I can, Thank you to all! –