2016 HOF Speeches

On the Other Side of Addiction

Hall of Fame KTC 5My first introduction to snuff was when I started working in the produce department at the age of 17. At the time, I never even found it a little bit tempting. It wasn’t until much later that my addiction and habit would go full-blown.

I chewed for the first time in college. The first tobacco I seriously used was Levi Garrett in the pouch. I only used it at finals time. From there, I would play with a can here-and-there. Mostly in the spring when going to one of the nearby canyons. In the early spring, I’d always end up with a can of Cherry Skoal. Spring still reminds me of Cherry Skoal.

One time when grading papers, I had put in a dip of Skoal mint. I didn’t take it out when the buzz was strong. Got really sick. Couldn’t look at mint for years. I should have been smart enough to take that as a warning to stay away.

Fast forward to me be 25 and having just started a new job. It was there that I started dipping full time. I chewed a combination of Skoal and Copenhagen. I remember, more than once, finding a pocket in my lip where I had been putting my dip. That would scare me into quitting for a little bit, or at least moving the dip to a new spot in my mouth.

I had a number of quit attempts, which ranged from 1 week to 6 months. I can’t remember all of the dumb ass excuses for why I quit quitting.

For the last 10 years or so of my dipping career, I was importing snus from Sweden. I used to order in quantity to amortize the shipping. 30-60 cans was the norm. It was much less harsh on my lip and I convinced my self that it was “safer”. It’s a safer known carcinogen.

I was growing increasingly tired of the dependence on the tobacco, but felt crippled without it. I now know that was the nicotine mind-f*ing me.

I tried the nicotine replacement therapy many times. I found the patches itched and gave me bad dreams. I didn’t like the gum. I used the nicotine lozenges several times. Unfortunately, they became supplemental nicotine rather than replacement nicotine. A friend pointed out that I used more nicotine with the lozenges than with tobacco. He was right. Damn good thing NRT wasn’t available in suppository form because I’d have used it too.

A smoker friend of mine had a throat cancer scare. This made me really think about the crap I was putting in my lip.

After a year of nagging, I let my doctor talk me into Chantix. She sold it to me saying that I’d be able to chew for a month, while the Chantix went to work. Sounded a bit too good to be true. It was.

I started the Chantix on March 22, 2016 and I found that it cut off all of my nicotine within two days. It forced my withdrawal. I was miserable for the first week. I stayed with it, because I was tired of being a slave. I had my last chew at 9:00 AM on March 27, 2016. I threw out 34 cans that were in the freezer at the same time. I never did finish the starter prescription.

Kill The Can was valuable to me because I had a sounding board. I was dealing with people who understood my addiction. They knew the depression, fog, and irritability that came with the quit. Funny how the same people in your life who wanted you to quit were the same who wanted you to start again when you were bitchy.

It was sometimes nice to post about my cravings or the anxiety. Through the Groupme, we also discussed life in general and generally just flipped each other shit.

I believe the commitment to others really helped keep me honest. I have a lot of people invested in my quit: KTC folks, colleagues, and numerous friends. I can’t bare the shame of having to go to them and tell them I caved.

I sometimes miss the nicotine, but feel much better off of it. My mouth isn’t sore, my blood pressure is lower, I’m sleeping better, and am much less moody.

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

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