25 years. That’s how long I was a chemical slave. And while I was a slave, like all of you, I was convinced that I loved my master. I loved nicotine. I just needed to quit for health reasons, otherwise I loved that toxic insecticide reeking havoc on my organs and body. Yeah.
I started when I was 15. Cigarettes. Eventually, because of athletics, I discovered oral tobacco. Chew and dip. Five years after using and finding the addiction to be somewhat embarrassing, I decided it was time to quit. And so over the next 20 years, I tried. And I tried. And I failed, again and again. I tried replacing cigs and dip with less novel forms of tobacco in an effort to “cut back.” Pipe tobacco, cigars, snus, eventually e-cigs. Basic models to high end contraptions. I tried all of the NRTs. So much money wasted on patches. So many patches. I went on three-month wellbutrin cycles four different times. I started to truly believe that I was cursed to be hooked for life. There was no getting off this shit. Not me. I was destined to die by nicotine.
So 20 years later, my girlfriend of the last five years smoked. But she wasn’t quite as addicted as I was. Sure she was addicted. But I was sun up to passed out at bed time with dip still in the mouth addicted. For the past year, I begged her to quit with me, otherwise I was surely doomed. I couldn’t do this on my own as I had tried on my own for the last 20 years. And the last two years, I got to praying for a miracle to be quit, and I mean really quit, before i turned 40. So we made a pact, that our 2018 new year’s resolution was to be quit for good. And come day one of the new year, she was quit. Not me. I still had one can to finish up. Come day two, I started ninja dipping behind her back. Every time I could sneak a dip I would. Not only that, I would straight up dip right in front of her and tell her it was herbal dip. I was hopelessly a drug addict… still. January came and went. February. And she was quit. Now, not to offend any of our lady friends, but I am a very competitive person. And I am not one to let a woman show me up. And my woman was showing me up. So in the first week of March, I decided I had to quit. For real. I started googling How to Quit Dip. I eventually came upon KTC. I started exploring the page. And this site promised real success. Follow the rules. Sign in everyday. And you too can be quit. Sounded too good to be true. But I was out of options. And I have never quit like this before. So I bit down hard and made the commitment to myself.
Wednesday morning, March 7, 2018, as soon as I woke up, I started my cold turkey quit and I posted a Day 1 on KTC. Right away, almost immediately, I had members reaching out to my inbox and giving me their phone numbers! I was encouraged to reach out during the struggles. Not to give in. Stay the course.
And stay the course I managed to do. 100 days later. Tobacco free. The chains of bondage lifted for the first time in 25 years. But it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was very, very difficult to stay the course during the first two weeks. But it was my brothers and sisters in quit that carried me through those dark days. There were a great many of you who were there for me and with whom I owe my success to. But a few of you deserve a special shout out.
Big Red would send me texts every night, letting me know I was not alone in my struggles. He would tell me about all the things he did that day, without even mentioning it but I felt the implication, that he was doing all these things without dip.”Quit on!” he would end every text. He was living life without dip.
Athan would send me really encouraging words and motivation. He made me feel I was doing right by sticking to the quit, posting on KTC and helping my brothers, regardless how drug withdrawal was making me feel. He kept my head up and kept me involved. And if I ever posted late, he was quick to send me a text to check on me. I could feel his longing to see me succeed. Failure was not in my future as long as he was on watch.
BrianG would reach out from time to time, making sure I was staying the course and motivate me to keep going. He brought me veteran words of wisdom, like a spirit from the ether.
Just when you start to veer off the road, there would be someone there to grab the wheel and center you.
And one member had done just that, right when I started this marathon…
One member in particular talked me right off the ledge and kept my head on a swivel.
Day 3 of nicotine withdrawal, I straight up had a panic attack. I was at the office. My heart was racing and I couldn’t breath properly. I couldn’t sit down or stand up, as I was doing both, unsure of how to contain my body. Directly across the street was the gas station where I purchased my dip for two years. Just a 100 feet away. I just needed to get over there, buy a can, and normalize myself. I couldn’t breath for God’s sake! I left my office, started my way down the hall, sweaty hand clenching my phone… I grabbed my phone before I left. There was a part of me that told me to reach out to a brother who told me, make contact before a cave. So I sent a text to BluManChew. I told him I was losing it. I was losing the fight. He quickly stepped into gear and began talking me off the edge. Started ordering me back in line. Telling me to do some pushups. And he stayed in contact with me until I returned to normal. The panic attack past. And I never left my office. Never went across the street. I was ok. I was OK! I returned to my desk. My first real battle won. Thanks to my brother who jumped in the trench with me. I owe BluManChew a great deal of gratitude for that. A great deal. It is so depressing to say this, but I might have washed out early if not for him being there for me right then and there. And he texted me every morning, from day 1 to day 100, with his daily promise, waiting for me to send back my daily promise. And here I am, 5 months before my 40th birthday, and QLF. For the first time in 25 years, I am cleaner than I have ever been.
KTC works. It really works. Follow the rules. Post roll. Read the forums. Give back to your group. But most importantly, keep your promise. Here you will be grouped up with other people struggling through the same fight as you. Lean on one another. Hold each other accountable. Be a man of your word when you make your promise every day. Keep up the fight, and you too can defeat your addiction. Your addiction won’t be cured, but you will have it arrested and under your control for once. Save yourself. With the help of your brothers and sisters of KTC. And help save their lives as well. Nicotine addiction can be overcome, no matter how impossible you think it is.
Remember. Millions of nicotine addicts have quit before you. Millions more will quit after you. You can quit too. Because I did.
One day at a time.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.