I guess I should start with where I’m from. Huntington WV is where Appalachia meets the Rust Belt. Youngest of 6 kids. My dad chewed leaf tobacco. Red Man, Levi Garrett & Red Horse were his brands. I really can’t tell you when I took my first chew but I’m guessing I was about 6 or 7. It wasn’t just my Dad who chewed, it was nearly every male I knew. Uncles, cousins, even my sisters boyfriends chewed or dipped. I remember taking my first dip of Copenhagen on a boy scout trip when I was 11. I loved it from the beginning. I wish it would have made me sick like some people but I loved it. So now you understand I don’t really have an answer as to how I started using snuff because it’s just always been around.
I became a paid firefighter 25 years ago and if there was ever a job that was perfect to be a snuff/nicotine addict, it’s the fire service. 24 hour shifts with lots of down time. Learning to eat hours and pass the time is a skill and snuff helps. I quit once in about 2010, I had read a few articles on Kill the Can about what to expect when quitting, it did help me but I really had no clue what KTC was all about. That quit lasted almost 2 years. I had no idea how fragile my quit was. I started smoking cigars with some buddies and I knew I was getting some nicotine but I didn’t think it would make me want a dip of snuff. I was so wrong. Those cigars lit the fire of addiction that was smoldering in my brain. I eventually caved and I remember being so disappointed when I broke over and took a dip. I was sure it would buzz my head or I would feel a huge rush but nothing out of the ordinary. It was like I had never quit. I was just as addicted as I had been 2 years before when I quit. That was 2012.
1.5 to 2 cans a day of Copenhagen Fine Cut ever since and I was honestly not thinking about quitting again but a friend who chews Red Man asked me if I’d quit with him. I told him absolutely not, that I had way too much going on to take on a quit. I told him I didn’t think he understood how hard it was going to be. His quit lasted 2 days. But I stewed on quitting for a few days and then i bought a roll and it cost me $30. $6 a can! I remember back in the day saying I’d quit if it ever hits $2 a can. I was on duty the day I quit and threw what was left of that roll in the trash and looked up Kill the Can. I’ve been here everyday since. I didn’t understand this was more than a place to get help quitting but this was a brotherhood of accountability. “I give you my word I will not use nicotine today”. I thought it was kinda corny at first but then I had made it through a week and it was helping. I didn’t want to face the wrath of this group if I didn’t keep my word.
Days 15-25 I was not fit to be around other humans. My wife love her heart deserves a medal for not killing me in my sleep. I was so mean to everyone, loved ones and strangers equally, I was a pure ass hole. So much rage in me that I can’t really explain but it was uncontrollable. I’m shocked I didn’t get my ass whipped or at least someone try. I feel fortunate to have made it through without serious incident. I took some advice from KTC and started taking magnesium& ashwagandha supplements and I think it took the edge off. After 30 days I feel like I’ve been on cruise control for the most part. I post my number and my promise everyday and I have been making an effort to help some others if they need it. KTC is the key to my quit so far and I know I would have caved without it. Thank You to everyone who has reached out when I was struggling and Thank You to all my September Iron Cactus Prick Brothers. Maybe I’m biased but I think it’s a special group. I expect to be held accountable if I fail to keep my word and I assure you Pricks I’m going to hold you to yours.
The recipe to a successful quit is understanding that it’s a process not an event. I don’t know that the process ever ends. I will be an nicotine addict until the day I die. As I learned the hard way with those cigars, I don’t have the luxury of a small amount of nicotine. Nicotine must be dead to me. You have to get your mind right and keep your mind right. Be humble because quitting is hard and if you don’t treat it with respect it will crush you. Make your promise and ask for help if you need it. 100 days down and I’ll be here with my KTC Brothers for 101 and many many more.