2012 HOF Speeches

My Quit Was Hard – I Promise, I Will Not Use Dip

Hi-My name is Mike Winn and I live in Western Massachusetts. I am struggling for the words to put to paper to describe what my 100 days quit means…

I started dipping when I was around 12. I say started it, but was really a couple of kids acting like retards in the neighborhood we grew up in. Regardless, one of my buddies had an older brother we affectionately called “Larry Lighter.” Larry was his first name and the “lighter” nickname came from Larry’s natural desire to light every non moving thing on fire. Larry was older than us, we looked up to him (go figure) and Larry brought home a can of Kodiak once. His younger brother John and I boosted it off the dresser, sat behind the garage and had our first “chew.” That first chew of Kodiak LEVELED me to the point I layed in the grass for some time hoping to die. John on his first attempt put in Kodiak-tried to ride his bike-crashed his bike into the garage and began throwing up.

Several weeks went by with Larry throttling us daily because he “knew we took his fucking chew” and then we attempted to smoke the Kodiak (please refer to the comment at the top about a couple of retards in the neighborhood.) Turns out Kodiak is moist and will not light….However we were functioning retards and learned to, put some Kodiak on some foil near a camp fire…dry it out…wrap it in grocery bag brown paper and you have yourself one nice Bob Marley ish mint flavored cigarette/cigar of some kind….this time I threw up. I threw up hard.

I didn’t get involved with tobacco again until I was 14 or 15 and while my neighborhood had not changed…(Larry Lighter had moved on to pipe bombs and homemade explosives…evolution told me it was no longer a good idea to hang there on summer afternoon) my 10 speed bike gave me the freedom to get out and see the world. I crossed paths with my class mate Michael John and his older buddy Jeff and in preparing for a fishing expedition to the local brook for which I brought the bait, they brought the dip…this time is was Hawken and this time it was pretty good.

From Hawken hidden from my parents, to Skoal Mint LongCut between classes in high school, to the dreaded Kodiak, I seamlessly transitioned from one dipping product to the next throughout life finally settling on Kodiak when I was around 18 years old. Throughout some incredible life experiences, good and bad, Kodiak was always with me-Kodiak was my partner-Kodiak helped me celebrate and Kodiak helped me cry. I continued to dip.

Move up to college and my first day at this HUGE campus and leaving Spanish class I ask the kid unbuckling his mountain bike from the rack how to get to the campus book store…he see’s my dip and says “I’ll give you a quarter for a dip…” Hello Stevo…my new Kodiak dipping friend at college. And my addiction grew.

I was never more than a half a can a day of Kodiak… I never carried more than one can of Kodiak with me at one time…I would never dip in front of my family intentionally. I would never dip in front of a date. I would never dip in front of my co workers…most of my life was ninja dipping and a lot of it.

I was hired as a career firefighter when I turned 21. One of my first assignments in the firehouse as a new firefighter was “heads, beds, ash trays” Meaning each day I reported to work, I had to clean all of the bathrooms, make the beds, clean the bedrooms, clean the ash trays. Smoking had been pretty much all but eliminated in the firehouse due to the passing of the heart/lung law in Massachusetts that provided a presumption that heart disease or cancer was job related with one stipulation-NO ONE hired after 1987 could “smoke tobacco” products. Chewing however was not addressed. After studying that law front to back, asking more senior firefighters their opinion…throwing the ash trays in the rubbish instead of cleaning them, I discovered that dipping was not prohibited. I dipped.

Green light Mike-you have found a job that is made for dipping….My first crew I worked with I was the most junior member in seniority by a 12 year difference…it was like working with a shift full of my dad’s…and I hid dipping from them. Simply put-I did not chew in front of the first Chief I worked for…the first Captain I worked for or the first firefighters I worked with. I did not chew in front of my team. After one fire…I walked around the side of the engine to throw a dip in and the senior FF Bill D noticed the bulge in my lip and broke my balls HARD in front of the whole team….imitating a swollen lip and talking the same he yelled in front of everyone…”Hey Mike-what’s that shit in your lip?” I kept dipping and walked away.

However -I took A LOT of dumps on the toilet at work…having a chew…reading a book…spitting between my legs. I wonder how many that read this will nod their heads? “Spitting between my legs into the toilet?” Chew spit on my junk?? WHAT A LOSER!!!!! DIP SPIT ON MY JUNK!!!…What a life I thought I had as long as there were no calls/ training or chores…I could dip!!! Days and nights and weekends and holidays and I could dip without anyone to hide it from…I could dip. And I did.

As more firefighters my age were hired…I noticed more and more had cans of dip in their back pocket. It seemed the fire service was in the midst of a change…from cigars and cigarettes to chew. Specifically dip. And I came out of the ninja dipping closet and became a full fledge dipper at work…The kind that bums dips when needed but also shares dips when a buddy is out or needs a “flavor saver” I was dipping at work. I reached work dipping nirvana after I was promoted to Captain. We were working a Christmas Day shift and had just finished a prime rib lunch…the shift and I were cleaning the kitchen and the proby turned to me and said “Hey Capt….Merry Christmas” and threw me a new can of Kodiak for that after dinner, take a shit, read a Field and Stream dip. Nirvana!!! I continued to dip with a vengeance.

I should disclose that during the first 16 years of my dipping, I thought I was successful at taking breaks from dipping. For a variety of reasons at different times in my life, I would take breaks. A week here, a month there…once for over 18 months! But I would ultimately find a trigger or stressor or some reason to start dipping again. One time during a dipping break, I was on a emergency call and the police officer who also responded and was a good friend, asked me if I wanted a dip and I replied no. He looked straight at me and said “god hates a quitter.” GOD HATES A QUITTER…what a statement to make. I continued to dip.

My son was born 12 years ago…11 years ago his mom and I split…I have dipped heavily since. I would not dip in front of my son with the exception to that statement being in the car during the long rides back and forth to his moms. Funny-I thought he didn’t notice. How smart am I?? My 3-11 year old son won’t notice the nasty dip spit bottle, coffee cup covered with chew or the can of Kodiak in the door pocket. He noticed and he commented and I continued to dip.

For a short period of time when my son was 3 I attempted to quit and substitute chew with Nicotine Gum. Jack and I called it “medicine gum” because he could not chew it. That did not work either. I found I was REALLY ANGRY all the time. I continued to dip.

Three years ago my son and I were lucky enough to meet a fantastic lady. After me being a bachelor for almost 8 years and my son used to it being the two of us-things changed to the three of us. I continued to dip.
This past July, my now wife and I eloped to Key West and yes-after swearing to never to get married again-I married again and continued to dip. In fact when going over the wedding photos of our awesome day in Key West-many of the photos include me dipping. I hate myself for that but I continued to dip.

This past August, my wife and I decided to obtain life insurance. I had lots of life insurance through the Job in the event I was killed while on duty-but never private life insurance and so I started doing research because I knew that part of the life insurance process was a physical and blood draw. “what are they looking for? “ nicotine. Ah hah….I am going to have to figure out a way to get around this because I was not going to stop dipping for a life insurance physical. I just wasn’t. Somewhere on the internet I read a post that said nicotine would be out of ones system after 48 hours of not using nicotine. In my brain I said “shit-I can do that for 48 hours.” NOT BECAUSE I WANTED TO STOP DIPPING BUT BECAUSE I WANTED THE LOWER PREMIUM COSTS FOR MY LIFE INSURANCE-Is this making sense to anyone reading this?? What a RETARD I am!!!! Almost like saying-“I am going to die from dipping someday but at least my life insurance didn’t cost that much…..” WTF???

Heres the best part you DFD’s-after 48 hours of wanting to slay everyone and everything-I tested POSITIVE for nicotine!!! Hahahahahahahaaha-that’s some funny shit!!

And here is 100 days. Since August 29th at 1800hrs I have not chewed/dipped/snuffed used Kodiak. I have not used Hawken, Skoal Mint LongCut or Copenhagen. I have not chewed. I decided after the 48 hours of no dip to see how far I could go and then I found this site looking for ways to cope with the cravings, irritability, mood swings and general desire/rage to kill everyone. I started to read this site…bookmarked it in my iphone on my work computer and talked with my wife about KTC and found myself coming back over and over and over until I found all of the raging dip free douche bags (DFD’s) of the December quit group.

I am quit and will remain quit. I will promise to sign up for the next 200 and I will post every day. Its strange but the empathy I have found through this site has been so comforting. As Copingw/oCopen stated to me-the best part of the site is “Everyone understands”

Since finding KTC-I have become more aware of how bad dipping really is. As you travel through life its fairly common to hear of folks dying from emphysema or lung cancer. There is an unsaid “nod of the head” that goes with “he smoked for years”.

Growing up I never really heard of some one dying from dip…my father would warn my two brothers and I “your grandfather died of throat cancer” “he smoked two to three packs a day” uh huh….head nod.

As much as I wanted the cheaper life insurance…I do not want to die from dipping. Without being dramatic or a bitch…I don’t want my face to change….teeth to fall out….beautiful wife to feed me with a tube…or son be embarrassed because his father was a dumbass and despite the warnings and clues that dip was bad…his dad chose to continue to dip. I just don’t want to have others suffer from my stupidity. I have talked to my family about my quit.

My older brother Jpwinn, former partner P56, coworker Marlo, buddy Buck Jarvis and buddy Davine have all since quit. I am so proud of them all.

I am going to promise to all of you that read this…I will not use dip. QLF you DFD’s!!!

NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member Wnnr78

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