Today i’m at 108 days and I still find myself struggling at times. I struggle to feel normal again but what is normal. I have been dipping since I was 14. How do I actually know what is normal. My Hall of Fame speech is going to walk through my thought process from start to finish. From when I was 14 through today and somewhere along the way how I am finally feeling free. I will also try to explain what freedom means to me.
Let’s start on that chilly day in October when I received my very first dip. It was cold and we were sitting on the ground leaned up next to a falling tree. I had my 30-06 rifle between my hands and left my gloves at home. My father and younger brother where on each side of me. As my hands started to shiver, I remember very vividly when my father (Not the father of the year) handed me his can of Cope. He didn’t say anything just handed me the can as if I already knew what to do with it and of course I did. I gave the can a slight bump on my leg just as I have seen him do a thousand times and twisted that can open to get the whiff only cope can provide. Took a generous 3-finger pinch; as I didn’t want my old man to think I was a pussy. I stuck it on the left side of my mouth sat back and enjoyed the ride. I felt a buzz come over me and I was hooked from that moment on.
I will never fully understand why my dad handed me that can or how he justified it himself. I do know that after that day he looked at me differently as if I was a man. Like it was some sort of rite of passage just like when he handed me my first shot of whiskey the next year. You see in backwoods Oklahoma where I grew up. These kinds of things were looked at as normal and manly. The people around me that actually took care of themselves were ridiculed. Although I had no idea, it would have the kind of hold on me that it did. Anyway back to my old man, he was a though man to please and get any kind of positive feedback from. He was adopted by the only Grandfather I knew and grew up very poor as a military kid. My Grandfather fought in both WWII and the Korean War and demanded a certain level of let’s say obedience. I tell you that so you know where my Dad came from not to down him but just to give you the back-story of where I came from.
Now in High School is when the nicotine habit of mine really started to get out of hand. I was able to dip all day long at school and on the ranch where I worked. Hell I even had a teacher with a spit bucket besides his desk. I even cut my mouthpiece on one side so I could comfortably have a dip in while at football practice. All this just keep going all the way through college and into the start of my career.
“Ninja Dipping”, I learned very quickly after college that having a cat turd in my lip was not very acceptable in the real world outside of backwoods Oklahoma. I moved to Forth Worth after college and started working and it didn’t take long to realize how everyone was looking at me when I had my spit cut on my desk or in my truck. I noticed the habits of a few people around me that were hiding it very successfully. I then met my wife and realized very quickly that she could not stand people that dipped and I quickly assured her I did not dip. Hell, I even told her I used to dip (What an addict).
I was good at hiding my addiction from mostly everyone. I had those few friends I would do it around but for the most part, it was my little glorious secret. That is how I ended up dipping for the next 10-12 years. I would always tell myself I need to quit or cut back. I would act like quitting for 2 or 3 days was an accomplishment and go back to it full time. I would walk out of the dentist office with a clean bill of health and feel like I did something great.
My actual quit started in the hospital. I was not feeling very well and could not describe what I was feeling. Therefore, I told my wife to take my oldest son to football practice and I need to go the hospital and be checked out. At the hospital, they ran a lot of test, diagnosed me with tiredness, and told me it seems like Anxiety. I have never dealt with Anxiety before or so I thought. Turns out I was using dip as my Anxiety medicine for quite some time. Well why I was laid up in that hospital bed thinking I was dying of something like Cancer or some other rare disease (Remember this was Anxiety so my mind was truly messing with me), I made a pact with God. That is right I was praying to the big man upstairs and told him I would quit dipping forever if he would just give me a clean bill of health. That is how my quit started. Little did I know how the road ahead would shape the rest of my life.
KTC….After a few days I was still having crazy Anxiety along with all the other quit symptoms and as anyone should I was on the internet looking for what was wrong with me. You know reading all the scary stuff that my symptoms could be, because that helps the anxiety meter go down! Then I came across this site KillTheCan.org. I must have looked at this site for 3 hours reading all the different things. The one that I kept going back to was symptoms of quitting on the main page. I would read that probably once an hour because somehow it was calming my Anxiety. Then it hit me that knowing this is a process and other people are going through it as well. I posted an introduction to just see what happens and within a few minutes, SAMRS replied pushing me to get posted up.
2017 Decemberist….. I took this group for granted the first few weeks I was on. I missed roll and made excuses, but once I fully committed to the site and started contributing with my quit brother that is when I started to get a lot back in return. We had a great group and that really helped me in my first 100 days. I do not have any plans to stop posting roll anytime soon.
My Wife….I had to sit down and explain things to my wife after about a week of being quit. I was very nervous to tell her that I have been dipping and even more embarrassed that quitting is tearing me up inside. I thought she was going to look at me as week or a disappointment. Turns out that was the Anxiety talking my loving wife and mother to my 4 kids could not have been more proud of me. She supported me through this entire process without ever making me feel like I was being a burden on her. When I know I was. She would listen to my crazy medical theories I thought I had, just laugh, and calm me down.
My Anxiety….I keep referencing anxiety because that was the hardest part for me. I told my wife that God had to make this extra hard on me otherwise I would just go back. My mind was truly trying to take over by attacking my body. I had physical pain, tingling, weird head rushes, hell I would have bet the house I had a blood clot running up my leg one night. I went to the hospital 3 times and my GP at least 15 times within the first 60 days. It was as if I was battling a war inside my head. After day, 75 or so the anxiety has come way down. I will slightly feel a head rush from time to time but it passes very quickly.
Freedom….Through all of this, I have found my family and myself again. I never realized how much it took me away from my family because I wanted to sneak in a dip, or I would stay out of certain actives because I could not dip. I am still learning what normal feels like. I am starting to understand that I went through my entire adult life learning how to be a man while using Nicotine. Everything I thought I knew about myself before has changed.
This fight is not over but I now have the tools I need to stay quit every day!
Big Thanks to 4TheWin and Gutty12.