Yup, stupid pretty much says it all, and I still ask myself that question regularly.
My first encounter with dip was when I was about 5 years old. I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. My uncle, a gruff dipping farmer himself, was visiting my dad one day. When he was getting ready to leave, I was standing near his truck as he crawled into it. Little did I know what the tin cup was for, and he dumped it on the ground near me. I almost puked from the smell. The crazy fucker laughed and asked me if I wanted some of his Cope longcut. I said no way.
Fast forward to the summer of 1998. I just finished my freshman year in college and had a summer job in a local warehouse. I was working with lots of rednecks, which really are my kind of people despite working in a white collar world, and I formed some decent friendships while I was there. One of my coworkers was a big time Skoal wintergreen fan and wore me down until I finally tried it. The buzz was instantaneous, and I fucking loved it. Shortly thereafter, I bought a can and tried it again. Not knowing what I was doing, I lippered up with a pretty big pinch that a more experienced dipper would take. Suddenly, it wasn’t as cool when my head was spinning out of control. I spit the shit out and threw the can in the trash. Knowing that I had wisdom teeth removal surgery coming up later that summer and not wanting to be addicted, I didn’t bother trying the shit again. I didn’t touch the shit again for another 11 years.
I graduated from college in 2001 with an accounting degree. A couple years later, I passed the CPA exam, which is still the biggest accomplishment of my life so far. Having worked in public accounting firms since graduating from college, my life revolves around work, particularly during tax season with 70 hour work weeks for three and half months out of the year. In late December 2009, one of my buddies was pestering me to dip with him, and I finally caved to shut him up. Instantly, the buzz hit me, and it was just as I remembered it in the summer of 1998. I loved it! The next day, I bought a can of Skoal wintergreen, and I started my path to addiction. I hated the taste of Skoal wintergreen, but the buzz worked for me. A can lasted a week at first, and then it became two cans a week as tax season 2010 progressed. Eventually, in May 2010, Skoal did nothing for me anymore, and I moved on to Copenhagen longcut. I fell in love with dipping all over again. Just like Skoal, it didn’t take long to build tolerance, and I was back to two cans per week by Fall 2010.
Knowing that I was playing with fire jeopardizing my health all the time, I continued to dip into the winter. Finally, a moment of clarity hit me in March 2011. In Vermont, we had a monstrous snow storm hit that all but shut down the state. I worked from home on the day that was particularly bad, and I ended up dipping at least four or five times that day. The next day my gums were sore as hell. I started researching it online, but deep down I knew I was dipping way too much Cope. Again knowing I was playing with cancer all that time, I started checking out oral cancer online and freaked out. I knew after seeing pictures of guys with their faces cut off, it was time to quit my fourteen month love affair with dip. Given all the other random shit that started happening in my life after turning 30, there was no time like the present to get my shit together and quit. Fortunately, during my online research, I stumbled upon KillTheCan and joined.
My quit started out pretty easy because I was focused on my sore gums, and I really didn’t give a shit about the Cope anymore. I was so freaked out that I thought I had cancer, I went to see my dentist a few days after joining KillTheCan. He didn’t see anything that was indicative of long-term damage, and I thought all was good. I slept like a baby that night, which was the first I slept in about three days. About ten days later, though, I noticed a lump under my tongue and freaked out again. I didn’t sleep for days on end. The stress at work only made matters worse, and I looked like a zombie. I saw my dentist again at the end of March who said the lump was almost certainly not cancerous and was likely a mucocele. During the interim, I prayed to God almost every waking minute to not let me have cancer and that I will do whatever he wants me to do for the rest of my life. I also kept saying to myself, “ I don’t want my parents to bury me.” My dentist told me to do some salt water rinses to see if I could get the lump to go away on its own. As my luck goes, that treatment did not work. When I had my regular dental cleaning in early May, he referred me to a local oral surgeon. I did the oral surgeon consultation, and the lump was excised on June 1, 2011. Here is a clip of what the surgery looks like; however, the lump was under my tongue. The oral surgeon sent the lump to be biopsied. A week later, the results came back negative for cancer. Both my dentist and surgeon said that my dipping history was most likely unrelated to the mucocele formation; however, I can’t help but wonder if my dipping didn’t trigger it anyway. It is freaky shit still, and I know I will have my guard up for the rest of my life watching for abnormalities in my mouth. If nothing else, I am thankful I got my shit together and gave up dipping after a fourteen month run.
June 17, 2011: 100 days. I made it! I know I haven’t been the most active participant in the June 2011 group with the exception of posting roll each day. Know that I do think about you all even though I don’t say it during roll call. Seeing my June brothers hit the 100 day mark has only helped solidify my quit, and I hope I have helped your quit as well. Congrats brothers!
- 1. My KillTheCan brothers and sisters are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. You all rock!
- 2. I asked God to look over me and not let me have cancer, so now it’s my turn to keep my word to him.
- 3. Let go of the past, but don’t forget the lessons learned.
- 4. I’m still an addict. I always will be. Do I have days when I miss a good Cope buzz? You can bet your ass I do! I have learned to revert to my oldest addiction since I was a kid – M&Ms. I will hurt you if you steal my M&Ms! HA HA I have gained 10 to 15 pounds since giving up the Cope, but I would rather die from being fat now as opposed to not having a face.
- Tomorrow is another day – another day to quit.
So, how fucking stupid am I? I am the dumbest fuck on earth for getting hooked on dip when I knew all the dangers and risks from the very beginning. With the reality check I received a few short months ago, I looked in the mirror and asked myself this question:
What is more important – Copenhagen longcut or life?
I am choosing life every day now. What will you choose?