November 27th, 2009. 6 pm.
At that date and time, my life changed. My entire view on life changed. I realized that, for once, serenity could be achieved through my own volition, and that there are people who have been where I was.
I grew up the son of 2 smokers, and I became a crusader AGAINST tobacco as I grew up through the teen years. All forms of tobacco were vile, their delivery systems were vile and a waste of money. I vowed never, EVER to use tobacco. Things change.
My first college roommate was a great fisherman, a good football player and a huge dipper. He was one of those guys in college who set up dip can pyramids and 2 liter bottles full of dip spit above his desk. He was a great guy, and I didn’t want to be the guy who bitched, so I let it slide. For the first time, dipping really didn’t bother me, because so many guys on my dorm floor were dippers and I was around it all the time. I always had an opportunity to grab a dip of any flavor, but I stood my ground, saying I would never use tobacco.
My major in college was theatre, and I became more and more intensive in working out scenes, monologues and learning about directing. As we had to direct scenes, we needed to recruit student actors to learn lines and do 5-minute scenes for us. A fellow student asked me to be in a scene for her, and I gladly accepted. A play we worked on was a play by Sam Shepard, “Buried Child.”
The central character was me – he is described as a central Illinois farmer who hates his wife and who buried his baby in his front yard. Also, he is always filthy because of the massive amounts of dip he uses every second of every day. I didn’t have experience in anything about what this character was, but I figured that if my character dipped, then I should try it.
Now, I’ve got to say, when I read that back to myself, I can’t believe how incredibly stupid I was.
I went to the local convenience store, and bought my very first can of Skoal cherry. I put it in my back pocket, went home and popped a beer open. I chugged it so I would have a spitter, then pulled out my last beer – a Keystone. I opened the tin and took a tiny dip.
I couldn’t believe how much it burned my lip, and then I couldn’t believe how hard the nicotine hit me. Back then, I thought it was an unbelievable rush. I was hooked from the VERY FIRST dip. I started a tin a week, then 2 a week, and so on until I was chewing a can plus of Kodiak a day within 2 months. My first apartment after college was with a dipper roommate, and we enabled each other by lending dips and cans of dip. Eventually, he quit because a woman at our local bar said that she would go home with him, but he was a dipper. I laughed and continued on with my can a day habit. I met a great girl and was able to hide dipping from her until we were about to move in together. Trust me; I was not a dip ninja. I was the Chris Farley of dip ninjas. She’s a great gal, so she let me dip away without many complaints (the little enabler : ) ). After that, I have incredibly sad and embarrassing tales, like:
• Spilling a 32 oz. cup full with spit after tripping on a carpet in my house.
• My buddy’s 3 year old kid chugging a spitter in my house, mistaking it for a Coke. Of course, dip juice came right back up onto the previously mentioned carpet.
• Pictures taken at a friend’s wedding with flecks of dip all over my teeth
• Sneezing a dip at a White Sox game on a man with a brand new White Sox World Series jersey.
• Spilling a spitter in Las Vegas in the middle of a great run at the craps table, and yes, I threw a 7 afterwards, then was promptly thrown out (no one ever gets thrown out of Las Vegas Club casino…except me). The dip stain was still there as of last summer.
• Many, many more.
Those failures added to over 15 years of dirty teeth, tooth damage, stained clothes and carpets, disgusting breath and dip cups at work. I believe that I cost myself a job or two because of my NEED for nicotine. It was a total NEED. The last time I made a real effort on quitting before KTC came along was April 5th, 2001. After 6 hours of not having dip, I acted like a caged animal, screaming at my wife and telling her it was her fault, saying I NEEDED a dip. I immediately left and visited my buddies at the corner gas station. The NEED was fulfilled.
September 9th, 2002 – I plopped a dip in, grabbed my coffee and started to make the wife some breakfast. She was heading out for some weekend R&R with friends, and I was looking forward to kicking back with The Bear and watching flicks all weekend.
At this time, I weighed 330 pounds, my blood pressure was through the roof (my doctor said that dipping was a culprit as much as my obesity), and my body couldn’t take it anymore. I had a huge brain hemorrhage, and spent 3 days in an induced coma to protect my brain while they tried to lower my BP. Those 3 days were the first I had without my NEED in 8 years, and it took a death-level stroke to break the chains of my NEED.
I spent time in the hospital, in rehab and at home getting ready to go back to work. Time went by slowly, and after being home for 5 months, I became VERY bored. My mind started to wander a bit and I remembered the Bear and my NEED. I had a 5 month quit (150+ days without nicotine), and my NEED was calling me. I was able to get in my car, drive to the corner gas station and buy a can. I hesitated for about 5 seconds before I put that garbage into my system. I almost gave my life for my quit, and five months later, I caved. I didn’t think of this as a cave, because I NEEDED this. MY BP was controlled, so hell, I deserved my dip back. That’s pretty sad stuff, and led to an even stronger addiction to nicotine than before. My sentence in nicotine jail was extended by 6 more years.
Last Thanksgiving weekend, I knew that something had to give. I was looking at half-full cans of my NEED everywhere. I’m not kidding that in the door pocket of my car, there were 6 cans of dip either half full or more. I was looking at about $30 of garbage there, including an $8.75 can of NEED bought in downtown Chicago. I wanted the help to quit, but I didn’t want to put in the effort. There had to be a silver bullet.
Fake dip will do it!
Call my doctor and let’s get some Chantix!
Nicorette could be the key!
I thought about it, but I knew that facing off against my NEED would be the only way to quit. I was scared…SCARED… to go alone, but I was becoming disgusted with myself. Dipping was hurting my self-esteem. Even my 15 minute fresh-dips of garbage weren’t enough.
I knew I wanted help to quit, but I really wanted someone to understand this NEED. This isn’t smoking; this is its own demon. Naturally, jumping on the Net involved dipping, so to start my search, I went to my car, grabbed one of the NEED cans, a bottle of suds and started my search.
The first site I came across was KTC. I started to read the articles. I read the HOF speeches. I liked the shiny coins and knives. I liked that there was a place for people like me – people dangerously addicted to my NEED and who needed help. Then, I entered the live chat. Many of the guys were there that I will thank later – but I was there for about 30 seconds before Snowboredm said hello. I said that I was checking out things before starting my quit. Of course, I was asked if I had a can of dip open next to me. After I said yes, I was directed to take my can of dip and dump it in the toilet. For some reason, I looked to check the time/date – November 27th, 6 PM.
I left my desk, went to the porcelain throne and dumped the can. I went back and let everyone know that I dumped the can. I was congratulated, then a received a flood of PMed contact info from multiple folks in the chat room. I was told to promise that I would not dip for that day. I promised that, and then I was realizing that there was a LOT of the Bear lurking in my living space.
First was the car. I opened the door, grabbed my dip and threw it in the trash. Next, I grabbed my 3 cans in the TV room and tossed those. Then, I washed my hands, brushed my teeth for a half-hour and sat down. I started to wonder about the Fog, and when it was coming. I had to go 72 hours without my need before it was out of my system. I looked at it not as promising not to cave day by day, but minute by minute. After waking up the next Monday to go to work, I had to face going to work without my dip. To be honest, I didn’t realize it, but I was in the Fog. I don’t have much memory of those days, but I remembered living to post, go into live chat and look at contact information for all of my brotherhood in KTC. I knew that they would talk me down from a cave, and just having that option to call was enough for me.
Day 16, I was posting in a lot of areas on the site. I realized that I could win the war against Big Nicotine, but I needed something on the site that was MINE and would tell me everyday how the first battle against nicotine was won by me. It also needed to say that nicotine would never go away – and that even when I am an old man, I would need to remember my addiction and remember my brothers. In my signature, I placed these words:
“How could I insult those who led me through the fog by ever thinking of chewing now, tomorrow or ever? I can’t, and I won’t.”
BOC333 – Day 16 – December 13th, 2009
I read these words every day along with my posting roll and jumping into chat every so often, and I was starting to see my management of my quit coming into play. I was able to struggle a tiny bit less and starting to realize that KTC was working for me. I was starting to realize that I was managing one of mankind’s most addictive substances – from then on, I started to look at my life as a whole. My quit empowered me.
I was still way overweight, but then I said to myself, “If I can manage my quit, maybe I can manage my weight?” It was a long time before I started my weight loss, but I set a goal – just like my brotherhood set for me – stay quit for today, but take on a double responsibility for myself – if you can manage your nicotine addiction, why not substitute nutrition and exercise as your new “addiction”? I wanted to challenge myself, because if you can have small victories against nicotine, you really can make changes. After a post-stroke weight high of 279 lbs., I have dropped to 267 lbs. in a month. A healthy, solid weight drop, even though food becomes a substitute for nicotine for many. It was a big fear of mine that quitting would lead to a huge weight jump, but I am promising to eat healthy for today, and to exercise every other day. I won’t gain if I can do this just for today, and a goal weight of losing 79 lbs. in 13 months is reasonable. My nicotine quit and my weight loss goes hand in hand, and I use KTC for my weight control as well.
Nicotine is shifty and diabolical. If nicotine can’t get you one way, it will try to get you another way, and another, and another. For today, at this triple-digit signpost, I’m proud of myself. Damn proud. I made the effort to change, to select a guide like KTC and apply the simple steps in word and bond. I look at it like being told to “climb a hill,” then being flown to Everest or K2 and being told to start climbing. I wanted to climb, and I am at the “top.” Tomorrow, there will be “another hill,” and I will climb for my brothers, my wife and especially for me.
For newbie quitters:
1. If you need someone to talk about your quit, I am here. Stop and say hi by email/live chat here. You need my number? You got it. You need to call? Call. I’ll listen.
2. Ignore naysayers who are fellow nicotine addicts. They will be in the mold of your friends, family or coworkers. Turn away for a while if you have to, and focus on your quit. Some people, no matter how close they are to you, will step on your quit if they can’t quit themselves. It will surprise you, but nicotine’s tentacles are far reaching, and very strong. Eventually, you will become a role-model rather than the black sheep.
3. Never, ever, EVER cave. Don’t insult me by caving. Don’t insult the brotherhood who does care about your quit. Don’t insult those that love you by making them feel gullible for believing in you.
4. All I ask of you, proactively, is to read the info on the site. Talk in the chat room. Think about giving money to faceless corporations that don’t care if you live or die. Go for a walk. Ultimately, quit for today. You want to quit. You deserve it.
I have to give props to the administrators of this site. The cause is great, but the website is designed even better than great. The damn thing saves morale, character, even lives.
To my wife, even when I was in a bad way, you were there for me. You’re a helluva cheerleader, and you are my patient, strong rock.
To the Brotherhood, a lot of times I would just listen to you complain, break each others’ knuckles and go after cavers’ throats. Many times, that was enough to keep me in line. Chewie. Redtrain. Hal. Plasma. Colton. Kdip. JPF. Samcat!!!. Phalanx. Greg5280. Rawaldem. You folks, plus many, many others, are the Brotherhood. Our determination is what makes us Brothers. Well done, and I will be stopping by to say hello often. I know visits will be the mortar to tuckpoint my quit.
Snowboredm, thanks for telling me dump that crap in the toilet. It could have been anyone, but it was you. Thank you.
Thanks for reading this. If you need a Chicago tour-guide, let me know.
I’ll see you down the road.