I grew up in a Texas subdivision in the woods near Conroe. Geography matters. I spent nearly as much time in trees or rivers than on solid ground. I took my first dip when I was 5 years old. It was meant as a joke to the older kids in the neighborhood. I was supposed to get dizzy and sick so they could get a laugh. “Put it between your cheek and gum. Don’t swallow it, just spit the juice”. Yep, did that and I came out OK. Dizzy but not sick. I used to wonder if I had gotten sick if I would never have started this poisonous habit. I know I would have. Within a mile of my house, I can count 12 kids who ended up hooked like me. I know this because I did not become an addict until I was 10 years old, far removed from the 5 year old dizzy kid. Skoal was 71 cents a can when I started using. By the time I was in the 7th grade I was dipping in school after lunch break. By the time I was in high school I was dipping in class and finding clever ways not to have to swallow the juice. As I started my 11th grade school year I was dipping in class and swallowing the juice. I spent at least 50% of the last 2 years of school in alternative school because I could not stop myself from using in school. I graduated high school on June 03, 1990 and left for Ft. Jackson, SC on June 08, 1990 (Mom’s birthday lol). To let you know how hooked I was during the time I was in basic training, I routinely paid up to $3 for a single dip. And to let you know how hooked the guy I was getting it from was, sometimes he turned me down. I stayed addicted for the next 20 some odd years. I started working in a cleanroom environment about 12 years ago. I sometimes spend 6-8 straight hours in there and even though it is against policy I dipped in the cleanroom and just swallowed the juice. I was so used to this that I found myself working out in the yard swallowing my copenhagen juice, just out of habit. Can’t be good for the old food hole right? I can also tell you that I have several family members, friends and in-laws that have been the recipient of some very unfortunate “spit can” tough luck episodes at my hands (sorry everyone).
I never ever thought I was going to quit. It felt as if it was a part of my soul, like if I quit dipping, I was quitting being a part of myself. Now that’s some twisted shit. But this is what I had working against me. How is it possible to have such a strong connection with your poison and be able to become quit? Well for me, becoming aware was my key. over the last year, I started to realize that I was asking myself if I really was craving or if I really wanted that dip. That was my queue to start making it part of the habit, the beginning of my quit. If I was doubting that dip at all, I just did one last thing before taking it. Instead of taking the dip I’d drink a beer or take out the garbage or just have a glass of water. If I still wanted it then I would take it. Usually I could do without it for a bit though.
So I leave you with this bit of learning that may assist you in your own quit. Make being aware a part of your plan to quit. Be aware of your patterns and triggers. When you COMMIT to your quit, start breaking the patterns and offsetting triggers ahead of your quit date. If you can disrupt the physical parts of your habit then it will help you to focus on beating the chemical dependency of your habit. And even more importantly is to realize that your decision to quit is not over at 100 days, it’s never over. It’s a choice we all will make daily for the rest of our lives, but it’s a victory each and every time.
Good luck and thank you all for your 100 days of support.