My love affair with chewing started when I was as young as 10 years old. My dad chewed. My older sister and I would sneak my dad’s can out of the pocket of his coat and scramble downstairs and huddle behind the couch. My sister and I would take tiny pinches and put the crap on our tongues and watch each other’s reaction. How was I to know I was conditioning myself at such an early age?
The experiments continued until the highschool trip I took to the Seminary in Minnesota with a busload of other young men and a few priests. (yep Im a catholic boy and all things aside, it was a wonderful, inspiring trip) One of the guys had just turned 18 and was ready to exercise his right by buying a few cans of dip in different flavors. I remember my eyes lighting up, and being eager to try some different flavors other than the “Classic” taste. I begged him to sell me the whole can. It worked.
I chewed through high school learning all sorts of neat ways to chew, spit in classes, hide the can and get away with it. There were a few other friends that chewed with me and even some of the teachers and coaches that turned a blind eye to it.
College was much of the same. I became much more bold, always the guy ready to let someone taste it or try it or bum it. I can think of 3 people whom I am responsible for pushing into the realm of chewing. I remember my mom catching me with a dip in my mouth while I was cooking with her at the café my family owns. Another time my can fell out of my sock when I was at my folks’ house and rolled across the floor. What a fitting introduction to the ”New Me” That same weekend while fishing with my brother I saw that he was chewing too at the age of 17.
I believe it was about that time that my dad quit chewing. (wonder why?? Pretty sure he knew now that both his boys were hooked) I was such an expert at hiding the habit. I had learned all of the foolproof ways to conceal my addiction by now. When it was time to meet girls, I could hide it expertly. The woman who became my wife had little clue. Meanwhile by my senior year in college, my teeth were getting bad. I was running up big dental bills. The price of chew sky-rocketed. It was time to take responsibility and quit. Tough to do in college, when people you introduced it to are still chewing.
It never happened. I continued to hone my skills as a “sweep it under the rug” addict. I knew my mouth was in danger. I did not quit for the wedding. I did not quit for my 30th birthday. I did not quit for my son’s birth, as a matter of fact, my use increased right then and there in the hospital. The stress of hiding the chew was really getting to me. Like many others, I would long for a quiet time – anywhere- to just have a chew without hiding it. Late nights, projects in the garage, scrounging for change, excuses to run to the c-store, hunting, fishing , foregoing meals throughout the day so I didn’t have to take the monster out. The prospect of having a beer and a chew together made my mouth water. I loved it. Successfully hiding the can on a date with my wife and being able to sneak off and get away with it became sort of an addiction unto itself. My wife was a dental assistant, she would schedule all of my cleanings and check ups, everytime I made it out of one of those without being “made” it was an achievement to be rewarded with more chew. If I caught a fish, or shot a double on pheasants I would earn myself an additional reward (dip). I remember thinking, “How is it that people don’t want to dip? It enhances everything?” -Such an immature, nicotine spell bound statement. All of these things are clear to me now and I have waited for over 100 days to spew it out right here. I don’t like to think backwards and recount the deepening psychosis of my addiction. I always thought I was addicted to the flavor. I was wrong. My first week on this site revealed that. It was a great physical and mental struggle anyone looking back reading my posts can see it. I never want to feel that again.
I am 33 years old today, I quit on my 33rd birthday over a 100 days ago thanks to the support of everyone on this site. Like many of you, I was searching for the “big red easy button”, “the Silver Bullet of Quit”. This website and its members gave me a target to aim for, a focal point. I discovered a group of supportive strangers that once had the same psychosis that I had. I saw stories on here that were worse than mine, and stories that were so similar to mine that I was compelled to take the challenge. This site showed me that it was possible.
Beyond God, my wife, my child and family- I must be able to enjoy and participate in nature, its how I was built. For fear that I may cease to live if I was unable to traverse the lonely hills with those that I love, I had to quit, to ensure that I do not miss a day of it unnecessarily. My passion for the outdoors requires that I sustain my health. That is my selfish reason for quitting, so that I can be found quietly fly fishing or hunting the rest of my life–with my son beside me and my wife lingering behind in the sunshine.
I understand now that the Silver Bullet of Quit is not found on this site, but the gun to shoot it was. I found fellow quitters who were going thru the same mental and physical processes,who doled out pats on the back. Perhaps most important to me was the opportunity to give support back when others needed it. To all of those that kept me going…. ANIMAL!!!(nice dingo balls).. TheoBigWood.. KD “ bar the door” JET.. SOLONG”Farewell I need to say good bye” Skoal…Insane(Virginiapornstar)graphx… Qferret, Poorboy.. November Quit bros.. Thanks for listenin, textin and laughin.
To all of you stinky old website junkies that beat me down or brought me up.. Brent “I once was a fisherman” and Closer “like close the door but not close enough” Bowhunted the Cali-nebraskan, Jason Williams, Hazard “not the dukes” –KRavens, buckfever —–aw shit I gotta stop somewhere sorry guys— of course Mule21, 11X4, BBJ.. You guys are so used to helping its second nature. And I gotta call out Builder Chad- who kept things lively, controversial, kept our minds off of the nicotine – hope to see you back sometime.