Day 1 – a conflation of the beginning and the end. An impossibility of two objects occupying the same space at the same time. Two concepts that for moment combine like oil and water being shaken vigorously in a vessel only to separate and then collect upon itself with its respective specific gravity. To each its own.
An anomaly – at least for me, never having had a Day 1 in my life. Not in the context of quitting, and certainly not how Day 1 is defined within the nebulous text of KTC. This strange, strange communal ether sphere of individuals somehow forming a bond over a collective rewiring. This strangeness meshes into a familiarity while by some slow, tedious miracle our synapses are being realign and meticulously re-ordered and re-organized.
All that starts with Day 1. Biblical in a way – this day. “In the beginning,” one could say. The moment it began was the same moment it all ended. That moment was defined by another quitter while in the chat room. Minutes before that, I was planning my funeral.
No shit. I thought I was gonna die at an intersection. The anxiety was like nothing I had felt before. ‘This is a fucking heart attack!” I thought to myself. I press fingers against my jugular, trying to assess my heart condition, then put my hand to my chest. Cold beads of sweat began to form on my forehead. Probably the longest fucking red light I had ever been halted by. I did a quick calculation, and figured my wife could survive modestly for about five years after having paid off the house after she collected on my life insurance. Lord, I wish I had gotten more! Probably could have if only I would have not dipped for long enough prior to the underwriter’s exam.
The light turned green, and now I was even more panicked, as I made the turn and meandered my way through the thinning, evening commute. Not only was I gonna fucking die within a minute if not now, but I was gonna keel over in a ol’ Chevy going 45 mph, and prolly wipe out the entire small gathering of protesters that frequently stand out in front of the Planned Parenthood with signs that read “Abortion is Murder!” with a picture of fetus on there. Just once I wished someone would hold up a sign that read, “Honk if You’re Horny!” outside of that place! But at the time I just wished I had more insurance.
I do indeed make it home to my surprise and relief. Maybe I kissed the wife and hug the kids – I don’t remember. But I’m soon in my bedroom with the door closed, and I log into the chat. (I prolly would done this at the intersection, but I had to concentrate on keeping my heart from dropping dead, and subsequently myself from doing the same.)
I recounted that very incident with those occupying the chat room, and I’m sure they were all riveted and enthralled with my story while they glanced and responded during commercial breaks or in between downs. Eventually the convo veered to where I describe my quit day, which was maybe three to four weeks prior. One quitter on the chat responded matter-of-factly with, “that was your Omega moment.”
Omega…omega. That was my Omega moment? What the hell did that mean? Omega? It sounds biblical. Alpha / Omega, I thought. Hm. And I pondered on this for days and days and days. “Omega.” It was so familiar, but I couldn’t grasp its meaning. Maybe its meaning was adrift in the fog, and I hadn’t quite stumbled my way into yet. What did that have to do with quitting? My Omega moment…?
October 8th of 2017 was a Saturday morning. A morning much like this one coincidentally. The grass is now being speckled with yellowing leaves, and will soon be a collage of the autumnal hues of magentas, burnt oranges, yellows, and auburn browns. I was up early that morning. Not because I wanted to step out and be first to breathe in a lungful of crisp fall air, like I’m John fucking Denver, but because I had to.
The day before I had acted bravely, as I had countless times the previous twenty or more years. I had mustered up all the phony courage I could possibly muster and tossed a near full tin out the window. THAT WAS FUCKING IT! And I left no doubt – well a little doubt – okay, I left some doubt because I tossed a near full can. That meant I was vested. So, no way! I’m sick of it! I’m done! I’m out!… “Oh Shit!”…
…was my first thought the following morning. It was just before 6 AM on the 8th. My brain was panicked and pissed, asking me why the actual fuck I had tossed that tin the evening before. Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag! That addict brain annoyingly shook me out of bed, and with robotic obedience, I rose and shuffled to the closet, slipped on my clothes, and like a ninja stealthily slipped out of the house while everyone was still asleep. I was too tire to argue with my addict brain and frankly didn’t want to. I drove to the gas station on the corner (not sure why I’d drive there, it’s like 3 blocks away) and bought a tin of Grizzly Straight, and a soda pop.
I hop into my ol’ truck and dig my thumbnail into the paper wrapping and turn the tin with my nail in the crease. I peel the lid off and take a big ol’ pinch and pop in a little extra this time. My lip start to sting as I squeeze my mouth and cheeks around that lipper, and my mouth is immediately filled with tobaccy juice. Way more than I can gut. I ponder just spitting into my Coke Zero, but instead I take a quick look around like I’m about to tell an off-colored joke, open my door and glop out a spitter of dip juice as thick and as brown as syrup, except slick like oil. It splatters right there on the white parking stripe. I’m disgusted but used to it at this point.
I make my way home as slowly as I could, taking extra time at the one stop sign that separates my house from the gas station. I don’t feel so shitty when I dip all by my lonesome; and it was early, and I didn’t want to feel shitty. But I was going to anyways because I always do, I realize – and lonely, and empty. I continue past my house and drive on a bit. It’s still dark and everyone’s asleep. I mosey around the neighborhood for a short while, prolly just thinking of stuff – more likely thinking about how much I hated dipping and how loathsome I felt.
I make my way home just at first light, and park beneath this big ol’ maple tree. I get out and look up like I always do, and I’m standing under a canopy of leaves. It looks like a cauldron stirring with bats against the dark purple sky. Some of them are falling silently, spinning clumsily during their decent to the lawn. A breeze blows, and the leaves crinkle and scuff as they shift against each other, and the trees let out a loud hush as the wind passed through and boughs the higher branches. I make a mental count on how many lawns bags I need to go buy to stuff all their dead in.
The back door opens, and I level my gaze to see my wife standing there. Where did you go this morning? Out, I reply. What should I say? Yeah, hey, baby, I just went bought me a can of chew. So, um, you wanna make out later? She closed the door without a word and disappeared into the house.
At that moment, I begin to feel this crumbling inside. Something in there was breaking. My heart had become too hard, too cold and was beginning to crack. I tried quitting for her earlier that year, but only stopped for 160 days. She was not a good enough reason to quit, not even if she was 8-1/2 months pregnant at the time I did.
It was still and soundless that Saturday morning. But my soul was a cacophony of guilt, shame, and sorrow – a stream of broken glass poured onto a metal slide.
I was sick. I was tired. I could no longer do this anymore. I had weathered the storm for 30 years since I was a wee lad. I could bear the weight of it no more. The constant feeling of failure was too exhausting. With that, I walked behind my detached garage and ripped off the lid as I walked past the garbage can. I thought the act of dumping my final can would be more emphatic and symbolically binding if I dumped it into the ditch. Just before I turned my wrist over I paused. Just one more, she whispered, one last time. She was convincing. So I pinched out a fatty and stuffed it into my face, and unceremoniously dumped the fresh dip into the ditch. Some of the shreds of tobacco clumped on some of the wild plants and weeds, and I kicked at so I could scatter it to mitigate the temptation of running back there after an hour to find enough nuggets of chew to make a satisfying lipper.
I walked back around the garage and stood under that big ol’ maple. That cacophony began to rattle again – louder this time. The breaking and shattering resumed, and when it all stopped after having stood there for about 10 minutes I felt something that I don’t know that I had felt before – sorrow. Distilled, raw, exposed. I discovered my reason to quit. And that was it.
I knew what I had to do. I scooped out that fat turd and flung it amongst the fallen leaves on the grass and schlepped inside. I went to the computer, and reset my KTC password. After logging on and fumbling through the forums a bit, I found where I thought was the place to post, the January 2018 group. And I posted, “Rob W. – Day 1.”
Day 1 – the day where the end rams head first in to the beginning. At those two moments, seamless links on a circle, begin to separate, for they cannot exist at the same time in the space. Omega. At that moment it had ended for me. One year ago, on a crisp autumn morning coincidentally like today.
With nicotine addiction, it is not a fast break away or a clean cut. But rather a slow tear that leaves raw, tender edges that give way to anxiety, melancholy, infinite guilt, lethargy, seething anger, and on and on and etcetera. It’s blindly navigating the labyrinth of that special kinda hell we all must pass through to be quit. It’s constant mind-fuckery by the ever present nic bitch. At times it’s like clinging to the rungs of the Jacob’s ladder that pulses and buzzes throughout our bodies and minds. It’s present and the change is gradual and almost imperceptible.
One thing that won’t change, is that I will always be an addict. I will never be cured. And I’m ok with that because I am quit for today. I am quit today like I was on Day 1. My only hope is that i am quit when that final breath wheezes out my lungs never to return, my heart stops and, and my conscience blackens. The living cannot occupy the same space and time as the dead and the soul and body separate. Maybe then and only then will my addiction end. Maybe that will by my Omega Moment.
(Thx to all you BAQ’s. IQWYT. ODAAT. BMC -365)