A little over 100 days ago, I decided to quit dipping once and for all. For the past 25 years, I have had a love/hate relationship with tobacco and I felt it was finally time to cut the cord and get out from under its hypnotic control. Although it has been a rough few months, I feel the early pain was well worth the gain. My head is finally clearing and I am feeling better than I have in years. I am finally taking back my life.
I started chewing Skoal my freshman year of college and dipped pretty much non-stop ever since. Why did I dip for so long? Because dip became an inseparable part of my personality. In a sick, perverse way, tobacco had become my best friend. Over the years, dip made me cool; dip was my drinking buddy; dip helped me do my homework; dip calmed me down when I was stressed; dip helped me focus; dip made boring activities seem fun; dip kept me company on the road. In a nutshell, dip was my universal crutch for dealing with life. I dipped for 25 years because I thought it made my life better or at least more bearable. So what if there were a few risks associated with it. I was “happier” because I dipped… Or so I thought.
We all have our reasons for wanting to quit – wife, kids, family, health, etc. But my firm belief is that you can’t really quit until you realize 1 simple fact: Any perceived benefit from using tobacco is a complete and utter lie. Your life will be 110% better and 110% more fulfilling if you take it back from the death grip of tobacco.
So how does your life become better without tobacco? Well let’s take a look at how quitting has helped me:
Tobacco is bad for your health. Duh. It causes cancer, tooth loss, heart disease, etc. It robs you of sleep and energy. Quitting will without a doubt lead to a longer and healthier life.
For the past 5 years, I have had a perennial sore throat. I kidded myself into thinking it was allergies. I was taking allergy medication and sleeping with cough drops just to mask the scratchiness. I have gone to the hospital, thinking I was having a heart attack. It was really a tobacco & nic gum induced panic attack.
Since I have quit dipping, I am sleeping better. I sometimes get 9 hours of sleep in a night! My sore throat is completely gone. I used to have panic attacks and high blood pressure. That is all gone now too. I have more energy during the day and I have been able to maintain a steady workout routine.
Tobacco is the most anti-social activity in the world. I would hide from my family, leave gatherings / parties / bars early or sneak around at work just so that I could dip. I would rather dip than read my sons a nighttime story. Pathetic!
Do you want more reasons why dipping is anti-social? It makes your breath smell like ass. You never smile because you aren’t sure if you have dip stuck between your teeth. You have no patience for face-to-face conversations because you are either dipping and probably need to spit or you are thinking about when you can put the next dip in your mouth. Does any of that sound like life enhancing behavior?
Since quitting I believe that I have become a better person to be around. I am more patient and more attentive. I am working on being a better husband and a better father, but aren’t we all.
Tobacco is expensive. Not only has the cost of a can shot up to over $5.00 (it was $0.98 when I started in 1984), I have spent $1,000’s over the years buying beers or drinks at bars just so that I would have a bottle / can / cup to spit in, or something to wash down the spit. How dumb is that? What about the money that I should be putting away for my face replacement surgery? Yikes!
In the past 100 days I have saved big bucks by not dipping. How is that for a financial bailout!
Have you ever avoided doing something because you were afraid you wouldn’t be able to dip? Have you ever dreaded an important all day business meeting because you will have major craves half way through and won’t be able to function? What about spending the holidays at the in-laws? Or going on a European vacation? Do you require that your car or truck have 2 cup holders near the driver’s seat – one for your coffee and one for your spit can? Add up all the things that you are not able to do, and it starts to sound like a self-imposed prison.
For the first time in years, I feel free. I can go on long car trips with my family, sit through a movie, attend work seminars, etc. and not feel the need to sneak away and dip and not feel impaired by a crippling tobacco-craving fog.
Although it feels like these realizations are obvious reasons to quit immediately, quitting is still a hard road to travel. The seductress named nicotine has powerful spells and trances that she will use to lure you back into her grasp. Be strong. Get help (join a quit group). Buy lots of sugar-free gum. Do whatever it takes, but get away from her now and keep running. With time you will increase your distance from her, but stay vigilant because she will never stop tracking you down.
This website, and another one like it, has been my saving grace. The support group concept is amazingly powerful. I posted roll call every day and read just about every post in my group. I am more a “suffer in silence” type of guy, so regrettably I did not do much posting myself. To my quitter brethren, I apologize. I wish I had been more helpful in your efforts to quit because you certainly made all the difference in the world for my quit.
If you are still dipping and reading this, you should know that there is a better life out there waiting for you. I promise. It takes some work and commitment, but you don’t have to go it alone. Join this site and take your life back today.
To my wife and family, thank you for your support and patience. I hope the new me was worth the wait!