I started just like a lot of people. Found a tin or was offered one. Saw others doing it, wanted to try it. Just started a few times here and there, when a friend had it.
I was in church camp the first time I had one… about half a can of Cope long cut above the rafters of a screened in cabin. We began to set up our sleeping bags/trunks/backpacks when it fell on the floor. One guy picked it up, not shortly after that we saw an adult coming and we quickly tossed it in the trash. He came in, caught a glance of it and pulled it out. “Who’s is this”, he said. Silence. Tossed it back to us and said, “Well, better not let it go to waste.”
The second time, at scout camp. An aggie teaching the merit badge with a fatty in the whole week. Last day put a Skoal Wintergreen can on the table and said, “Well, give it a try, don’t be scared.”
Until I was 18, I had only dipped a few handful of times. Heard of coaches going through 2 cans a day! I was going through a can every 2 to 3 weeks!
I began dipping after school marching band practice (obviously not playing my instrument, like I was supposed to). Even going out on dates with one in.
College. That’s when it really started. It was not unusual, where I went, for guys to be dipping everywhere- class, library, parties, bars, and at home. It became joining in the crowd, and then, it was part of my persona.
We all know how dippers hang together. It was an automatic tie with someone else, a jumping off point, a comfort, and a friend I could take anywhere. I joined a social group at college, got a girlfriend and lived it up. She didn’t like me dipping, but tolerated it. I was at about 2-3 cans a week (Cope LC).
We still were together when I started grad school. I told her I would quit… it was becoming an inconvenience and getting in-between us. With the pressures of Graduate school, I still could not put down the can (about 3 cans a week, Cope LC)
Got married, still had it. First job, still had it. Laid off, still had it. Back to work, still had it. All those times, I said I would quit. I tried, but not hard enough. I lied about it and kept it hidden, but she would find out one way or another. I would disappoint her so many times; she finally said it’s my problem, not hers. Back to 2 cans a week, Cope LC.
Our son was born, on my birthday, this year. Around the same time, my grandfather got seriously ill, but recovered (not tobacco related). There was stress, but I found that no dip would satisfy it like it used to. I would begin to have one almost every time I could get away with it. I knew I was already playing a dangerous game, but now it was getting in the way of family, work, and my happiness. I was going through about 1.5 cans a week, Cope LC.
For my sake, for my son’s, my wife’s, my career, and long term happiness, I had to quit. I was doing this for so many broken promises. For being dishonest. For those things that I did not do, because I wanted a dip. To clean up my act and not make any more excuses. I want to be able to share time with my family for as long as I can. I also don’t want something like Cope to take away my family or my life.
I always had trouble trying to quit because no one knew what is was like to dip or quit dip. Everyone I knew either didn’t do it, or still did. They were all talking about how they quit smoking or would end up not being supportive (even though they were trying to).
I started using Chantix, from a previous quit attempt, to help get this kicked off. Shortly after, I found “Kill the Can”. I could not believe that there were this many people that have openly quit dipping, and support each other! They do not know each other, but share the weight. The stories are all too common. Many of the experiences, from the first pinch to the “funk” to reaching HOF are the same. Here is a group that will hold me accountable to myself and to each other.
The Chantix helped me get through the first few weeks. I stopped the Chantix after that and held strong. I finally told my wife, I was quit, for good. I expected her to be upset, because she thought I had already quit, but she was not. She looked in my eyes and said she supported me all the way. She was proud of my actions now, not of failures in the past.
I have not used any tobacco for 103 days. It feels good. I still think about it occasionally, but nothing much more than a passing glance. I feel like I am not a slave to that stuff. I have peace of mind. I am not dishonest or a liar. I was able to reach the HOF, with the help of my Quit group, the October “COCKS” 2010. Whenever the thought of caving comes though my mind, I think about all those reasons I prayed I could quit and for God to help me.
I must always guard myself from failure… will I bring the fake stuff hunting? I think so, never used it, but just in case I am temped by others that will be there. It will always be a struggle, but it gets easier. I pray that I think clearly, I remember this day, and the 103 days before.
That’s it for now… stay quit.