I began dabbling with chew and snuff during my high school baseball days. I guess I was just a young, cocky punk kid that thought it was what I was supposed to do to be considered a “real” ball player. I realize now, but not really then, that the dads and coaches openly dipping around me and my teammates really influenced us into that false belief.
One day during a baseball practice my sophomore year I had a dip of Cope LC in my lip and we were chasing down fly balls in the outfield. At first I had a great buzz, but then dizziness hit me followed by stomach pains and then dry heaving. All that while trying to keep on going after fly balls for fear of my fellow teammates having an opportunity to make fun of my “weak” ass. It didn’t take long for the pointing and laughing to erupt, which enabled me to run off the field to go fall on my knees as my body attempted to reject the nicotine. I remember thinking “never again” and “omg, this crap is evil”. After that, I completely laid off the “strong” stuff like Copenhagen and Grizzly, but I continued to occasionally go for a plug of Levi Garrett or Redman. I stayed completely away from snuff. For whatever reason I lucked out. It never became an outright addiction/crutch for me at that point in my life. I could do it here and there and lay it down and not do it at all without it making a difference one way or another. Maybe luck? To be honest, I really don’t know why.
While I spent 4 years in the Navy I smoked. Not really because I was physically trapped into believing I had to have nicotine. It was really more for just an excuse to get out of the shop with my buddies and hang out in the smoke pit instead of working while everyone else smoked.
When I got out of the Navy, I transferred to the major university I finished college at and I met my wife. After a few weeks of dating, she out of the blue asked me how long I had smoked. I hadn’t smoked a single cigarette around her; so, the only thing I could figure is that she could smell it. My response was “I don’t smoke”. She said really? I looked over at her with a grin and said “nope, I don’t smoke”. After that day, I didn’t pick up another cigarette. Cold turkey quit. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t crave it. She was totally beautiful and totally worth it.
So what happened? My wife and I got pregnant. We had a baby girl. Then we immediately got pregnant again. We had a baby boy. When that baby girl was around 18 months old and her brother was around 6-9 months old, we went on a road trip with the babies to go see my parents. It was a disaster. They both screamed and cried and I honestly lost my mind. I honestly believed in that moment that I couldn’t “cope” and make the trip without something to take the edge off and drinking while driving was off the table with 2 babies in the car. I pulled in for gas, walked into a gas station and bought a can of Copenhagen pouches. I put a pouch in my mouth, got back in the car, and drove off down the highway with 2 screaming babies. Within minutes, I honestly felt great. The buzz was there and my ability to tolerate screaming children without screaming back materialized. I remember thinking about that taste and visualizing that day on the baseball field throwing up. Hoping that wouldn’t happen while I was driving. I got really light headed, but I policed myself and didn’t get sick. From that day forward I had found the secret to successful parenting. Not to mention it also served as my turn to for preventing arguments with my wife too. I was a brand new man!
A few months after using the pouches they weren’t cutting it for me anymore. Even multiple pouches at a time weren’t giving me my much needed fix/escape from life. So I graduated to Cope LC. One day around 6 or so months into it my wife reminded me I had said I was only going to do it that one day in order get through that road trip. She asked me to quit. She said it was gross. She said it was unhealthy and dangerous. She believes to this day I just ignored her. The honest truth is I actually thought about it hard. I remember thinking, “she’s right, I better put this crap down before I get hooked”, “I’m spending diaper money on this stuff”, “Spit bottles/cups stink, it really is kinda gross”. It was during that mind struggle that for the first time I realized I was hooked. The belief welled up within that I was incapable of quitting. This wasn’t like before with the smokes. I really honestly thought there was no way I could quit and besides, even if I could, did I really want to? I made the decision that day not to even try to quit. I was all in.
And so yeah, she is really right. I did ignore her. I spent the next 9 or so years dipping a can every 2 days. Sometimes a can a day on the weekends when I was outdoors hunting or fishing. I didn’t care if it was gross to my wife and kids. I didn’t care if I was on a road to failure and destruction. I didn’t even care that I could potentially die in front of my family! Or that my son may one day likely end up hooked on this stuff! I lived with the idea that I had to have it in order to be a good dad and coach. I had to have it to be a decent husband. I had to have it to control my rage and anger and to deal with the stresses of life. My can was my best friend. No seriously. It really was…
In spring 2015 I signed a form to coach LL baseball that stated I promised not to use tobacco products on the premises. Well I lied and it bothered me. I had this idea in my head that I had always been a man of my word before this. Then fall rolled around and I signed the same form and I lied again. This time it really bothered me. I actually for the first time ever made several comments to my wife during 2015 about how nice it would be to quit snuff. I was “thinkin about it” and she knew it. She probably doesn’t know or understand that inside my head there was perpetual scream saying “there’s no fking way you can quit”. I spent 2015 scared to even try. I hate failing. I don’t like doing something if I’m convinced beforehand I am going to fail.
On December 29th my wife showed me a testimonial story about a guy getting mouth and throat cancer from dipping and the impact it had on his kids and wife as they watched him die. Then she reminded me that she and her siblings had watched her dad die from a rare stomach cancer when she was a teenager.
Hint taken. New year. New LL baseball season on the horizon. New beginning. New life. Fresh start. My can was empty on the late night of the 30th. I began the 31st nic free. I didn’t tell my wife or kids that day. It wasn’t until my wife came into the game room I had been hanging out in all day that evening. When she asked if we were going to go get some alcohol to celebrate News Years and I responded “nope”, she says she knew immediately without me saying so that I was “gonna go for it”. She said let me know what you need. I said I need pizza, hot wings, an unlimited supply of various types of chips and lots and lots of sweet tea. She made it happen.
I spent the next 4-5 days in that room alone. I wandered into KTC LIVE chat. I believe it was Dweirick that found me there and told me to “go get your ass on roll”. It may not have been him, but I think it was. Like many of you, I didn’t know what the heck that meant. I floundered around in the fog on the site as I laid on my couch in a fetal position trembling with my phone in hand. I don’t even remember how I found April Asstros, but I did. I thought it was a sign from heaven because I’m a huge Astros fan. I figured out roll around day 6 and have posted 100% ever since. 50 days of hell. 75 days of I actually may be doing this. 100 days of holy smoke, I can’t believe I made it.
I’m 118 days in today. It’s gotten much easier, but I still have craves. Sometimes they’re short and not bad. Sometimes they put me back in the fog and it’s so bad that my outlet is to come onto KTC and float in and out of groups reading what’s going on. I find that seeing the new quitters talk about how miserable they are is very helpful during a big crave. I never want to go through that crap ever again.
I had my moments of rage in my group. I know I’ve offended some folks because when I speak my mind I sometimes come across as uncaring, stubborn, overly emotional about things and even rude. I suppose I am all those things. I also know I’ve helped a few others on KTC and my quit is definitely helping some guys I know in my life out at the ball park.
I could not have made it this far without KTC. There’s no way in hell. Thank you Asstros for providing a safe haven to escape to in my times of quitting rage. Thanks to Frazz and Waste for keeping me onboard with things. Especially early on. Pab and Rocky Mountain, on more than one occasion your words of wisdom to our group helped me keep my boots laced up and onboard. Thank you.
If you’re new in your quit, especially within the first 50 days, hang in there. You can do this. Just remember that no one else knows better what you’re going through right now than your brothers here at KTC. Post up your promise and be a man of your word. Reach out to your brothers when you need to. I promise you someone will be there and if not then you PM me. I’ll be there.
In the grand scheme of things 100 days of quit isn’t really much, but in the world of a nicotine addict that is whole heartedly attempting to successfully quit, it’s an eternity. My wife and kids surprised me with a 100 day KTC pocket knife. They’re proud of me and it feels really good. I’m in control now. I’m no longer a slave to a can. I’m pretty damn proud to make the HOF. Thanks KTC. I owe you my life.
NOTE: This piece written by KillTheCan.org forum member Doug_C