I started dipping at 15 with a group of buddies who were experimenting with Bandits. This eventually led to Hawken and then onto Kodiak…which had me by the balls for the next 24 years. Kodiak was my thing. It was part of my secret identity that only I knew about. It diverted my attention away from anger, pain, frustration and boredom. I let kodiak “help” me through so many situations that I thought it was my friend. I never realized that it was quietly plotting to own me a little bit more with each dip I took, and that one day, I’d be thinking about it all the time and turning to it for every possible situation that life threw at me. I knew I was very dependent on the stuff. As most of you can attest, you know it’s an addiction when it’s midnight and you’re in bed watching TV in your boxers and you realize you don’t have enough dip for the shower in the morning…so you get dressed, get in your car and drive several miles to a gas station to get yourself a fresh can. It’s not just about running to re-stock at odd times that nicotine owns you. It’s when your hot wife reminds you that you haven’t kissed her in weeks because she can’t remember the last time you didn’t have a turd in your lip. It’s when you invent errands to run so you can disappear for an hour or two just to get a nicotine dump into your bloodstream. Nicotine ends up stealing time from you and those who love you. It actually OWNS you and takes you away from the life you should be living.
However, you don’t come to FULLY understand the addiction until you start your quit. My wife gave birth to our son in May and I applied for an increase in life insurance. This required a physical exam, along with a pee and blood test to prove you aren’t using drugs or nicotine. I googled to see how long nicotine would stay in your blood after quitting. It said 48 hours. With that, I scheduled my appointment and quit about 52 hours before I was to appear at the doctor’s office. Those first 2 days were absolutely brutal and I felt like I was dying a thousand deaths. To add insult to injury, we got a giant blizzard (in Atlanta) the night before my appointment. The whole city shut down for 4 days. My appointment was moved back by 3 days as I sat at home, snowed-in and having the worst nic-fit of my entire life. By the time I had survived 4 days without nicotine and had seen firsthand how much harm this drug had done to my mind and my body and how physically addicted I really was, I knew going back to the can was never going to be okay. I went to the exam and passed with flying colors. I tried my quit alone for several days until I thought “there must be something online with tips on how to quit chewing.” Once again, I googled and up came KTC. I was stunned and wondered why I had never seen this before. I quickly signed-up and posted roll (incorrectly the first few times). During the worst of my quit when I was in 2 week’s worth of fog and couldn’t tie my own shoes without help, when I was having anxiety attacks at work, when I was fighting with my wife like cats and dogs, when I was gaining weight, or just plain mad at the entire f*cking world, I’d jump into KTC and read posts for hours, going back years and years, just gaining insight from quitters who had gone through this same experience before me. It was a great comfort to know these things were normal parts of a quit and I really wasn’t losing my mind or going stark raving mad.
So here I am, at 100 days. I am a nicotine addict and will be fighting this good fight with the rest of you for the rest of my life, I’m sure of it. There will always be triggers that cause a crave to sneak-up on me, but I know that nicotine is no longer in my tool kit of coping mechanisms. It does not OWN me any longer…and this site will help me to make sure that it never will again. I wish all of you quitters success, no matter where you are at in your quit. You may feel like caving at several points in your journey…but always remember you have other options to help you embrace the suck: grab some gum/seeds, take your vitamins, drink lots of water or hit the gym. The urge will always pass in time.