Family life is rough for a ninja (or closet) dipper. I don’t remember where I got my first dip, I’ve never known anyone else that dips. But I got it, and successfully used it to quit smoking. Then I used patches to quit dip. Then I used dip to quit patches. For almost 20 years, I switched one form of delivery for another, never realizing that it wasn’t the smoking or the dip or the patch: it was nicotine that controlled my life. It was nicotine that stole so much of my life. And I hate it for that.
A month after I met my wife, I told her I would use patches to quit chew. I couldn’t shake the patches, couldn’t get past “Step 2” or whatever it was. She never really asked, so I just quietly went back to dip over the period of a couple months. From that point on, I lied to her and my family every day for six years. Every day was a lie. Not one single person in my life the past six years knew I dipped three cans a week. Every day I would be double checking my teeth for pieces of chew on the way home, finding excuses to run to the store, NOT arguing when she suggested we take separate cars, always worrying about where to hide my dip or the cup, never parking my car behind hers because she might need to get in my car to move it if she needed out, never ever leaving my keys just laying around. I mean seriously, the list goes on and on. I don’t know how much time on a daily basis I spent intentionally away from my family just so I could have a chew, but it was significant. I was like a pathetic little baby, hiding in the corner suckling from the nicotine teat, just trying to get through the day with the bare minimum amount of feedings necessary. That isn’t what life should be, or family vacations, or dinner with the in-laws. None of that.
Fast forward to my quit. Like many of you, I finally Googled “quit chewing tobacco” or something similar and found this site. Three days later, I quit. Of course, my wife didn’t know I was quitting. She didn’t know I was chewing to begin with. Withdrawals were intense. Scary actually. I shouldn’t have driven the first two days, I couldn’t see straight. I didn’t sleep. The SUCK rocked me to its fullest. The SUCK is now the foundation of my quit, but it took me a while to appreciate that. I made it quit for 7 days, then 10 days. Something was wrong though. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of my brothers and sisters here at KTC. I would delete all my PM’s afraid that one day my wife would find them. I told the people I swapped numbers with that they could only call/text me 8-5 PST because I couldn’t have my wife intercept the call or text. I snuck into chat A LOT those first few days and weeks, and on more than one occasion left abruptly because I had to shut down the computer. I lived on the site, all the time with the mouse button sitting over the “X” in the upper right corner of the screen. I couldn’t let my wife find out. This was going to be the lie to end all other lies in my life.
Another member here, kdip, met me in chat one night and encouraged me to come clean with my wife. No way. Kdip doesn’t understand my wife. He doesn’t understand that my wife’s sister and best friend just died a few weeks earlier, and this is the LAST thing she needs to hear. She might snap. The fact was that I knew deep down that if I told her about my addiction and the lies that she would leave me. She’d take my two daughters from me, and I would be all alone. Kdip didn’t believe that and continued to encourage me. Very quickly I fully understood the pickle I was in: If I wanted to stay clean, I had to be involved here at KTC. More than just post roll and disappear involved. If I wanted to be involved here at KTC, she had to know. I had to tear down the “only call between 8-5” wall and didn’t want to be on the site always hovering over the “x”. There is a great story about quitting at any cost floating around here somewhere. It was an easy decision for me: I decided that there was NO price too high to pay to quit. Think about that for a minute: is there ANY price too high to pay for your continued freedom from nicotine? For me, that was NO, and that included telling my wife and risking her leaving me. I showed up at home at 8:30am on my 20th day quit. Surprised that I came home from work and seeing something was wrong, she sat down on our bed. “Babe, I have to tell you something: I’ve been clean from nicotine for 20 days now. That’s the longest I’ve ever been nicotine free since the early 1990’s”. It was a very painful conversation. Very painful.
It is amazing the lies our addictions tell us and even more amazing that we believe them. “Don’t Google it, there’s nothing out there”, “You can’t possibly tell HER”, “She will leave you for sure”. The list goes on. You are probably familiar with it. Let me tell you the beauty that is hidden in here: my wife and I have been married almost 6 years. I wonder how many people out there really give their spouse the CHANCE to show them grace? Megan had never shown me grace, never shown me the forgiving woman she could be, because she hadn’t ever NEEDED to. I never gave her the opportunity to show me. It might sound a little strange, but I stole that opportunity from her by never telling her my struggles. I wonder how many marriages out there live in the “for better” part of the vows, but never have to put the “or worse” to the test? I wonder how many of the “for better” people are living there ONLY because a spouse is hiding something? An addiction? In that difficult conversation, I told my wife that it I firmly believed our marriage could be stronger if she decided to fight this addiction with me. I knew we could be stronger if I allowed our marriage to be what a marriage SHOULD be: an amazing journey between two people with both up’s AND down’s.
This probably isn’t written for the seeker, the person thinking about quitting. It’s probably for the closet dipper that has a couple 5 or 10 days clean and your wife doesn’t know about your addiction. I want to encourage you to give this some serious thought: our addiction thrives in darkness, in secret. If you are serious about quitting, you need to shine the light of truth on your addiction, you need to tell your spouse. I don’t care about the circumstances. PM me sometime, I’ll tell you mine. You will learn some amazing things about yourself AND your wife. Give her the opportunity to show you GRACE, like you’ve never had another person show you before. Give your marriage the opportunity to be cut down a little, just so it can grow back stronger than ever before; stronger than it ever could have been in the first place. You owe it to your wife, your marriage, and your quit to come clean. All three of those, your wife, marriage, and quit will be 1,000 times stronger because of it. It will take time and won’t be tomorrow, my friend, but soon if you’re serious about this. You still have doubts? Look around; there are hundreds of us that have done the same thing. It hurts but must be done. I know it and you know it. You see, not using nicotine is only a small part of quitting dip. Or cigarettes, cigars, patches, lozenges, or nicotine gum. Nicotine invaded your life and held you prisoner; quitting nicotine is learning how to live again in freedom – a freedom that is won, one day at a time, and one difficult task at a time. This is LIFE, after all, nobody said it would be easy. But it is worth it.
Couple quick thanks and I’ll wrap this up: All my fellow September 2011 Pirates, you rock. My same day quitters, JimmyKeeper, Z71, and Mia: you have my number (and my wife’s), use them anytime. Kdip – thank you for encouraging me to take the most difficult AND most meaningful step in my quit. You not only impacted my quit, but my marriage and our family. I will forever be grateful. To Luby – your quit is an inspiration every day. No kidding. Thank you. Lastly to chewie and the rest of the admin team: I can’t imagine how much work you all do behind the scenes, and for such little thanks. You have LITERALLY saved uncountable lives with this site. Please count me as +1 life saved. My boat is burned, that door is closed.