Lets begin this with a trip back in time, about nine and a half years ago. A year or so out of high school, somewhere near the time shortly before or after turning 20, I had still never used any form of tobacco, not even one puff or dip. Smoking was always out of the question, as I had some close to me who suffered because of it. My grandma on moms side passed away of severe emphysema from smoking all her life, and my neighbor who smoked had a long hard battle with lung cancer, eventually succumbing to the nasty disease. I also had asthma in my childhood, and even though I grew out of it, I had no desire to do anything that could make it return. Chewing, on the other hand, always sparked a little interest in me. My grandpa chewed, my uncle chewed, didn’t know anybody who died from chew, and so on.
It all started when two friends and I went to the eastern sports and outdoors show. They always had an exhibit set up for either skoal or cope. I had never checked it out before, but this time was different. My one friend was not quite old enough to enter, even though he had tried dip a number of times already. My other friend was already a smoker, and wasn’t too into dip, but was going to go through the exhibit to get a free can anyway. I opted to go along in, I was at that time excited (I know, stupid, right?) that I’m finally gonna try dip. So there we were, with our free sample cans of skoal. We went to the arena, empty cups in hand, sat down, and dove into those cans like kids in a candy store. I’ll never forget that moment, I felt like I was gonna fall outta my seat from that first ever nic buzz. I decided that dipping is the perfect fit for me. Still living with my parents presented me with the challenge of ninja dipping. I became a master at it, like it was a game or something. I’d dip in the shower, dip when I took a crap, dip in my truck whenever I was driving, dip at work, you name it. At that time I wasn’t throwing in a can a day, a can did more like four or five days. As months passed, I started wanting more. This didn’t work out well, so I decided to just tell my parents, so I no longer had to hide it. As I thought, Mom was disappointed that I chose to be a tobacco user, said her piece about cancer and such, and wished I would quit. Dad kinda got a kick out of it, believe it or not. He was a smoker yet at that time. (props to him for never smoking in the house because he didn’t want me exposed to it) So now I was free to dip as much as I wanted. It wasn’t long that I hit about a can a day, and that’s where it would stay for the next nine years.
Somewhere in the midst of my dipping career, my dad had a small shadow found on his lung while he was having some xrays done for other reasons. He was told it was the beginning signs of emphysema, and that he had to quit smoking very soon. Being a 40ish year smoker, this was no easy thing to give up. He had tried and failed multiple times in the past. Since I was an avid dipper, and dip doesn’t hurt your lungs, I decided to “help” him out by giving him a dip here and there when he wanted to smoke a cigarette. It stuck. He tossed the cigarettes and became a full time dipper like me. His smokers cough eventually faded, and the spot on his lung has never gotten any bigger. This gave me a reason to totally glorify dip because it saved my dad. That was my addict thinking. He could’ve quit with nic replacements if he so chose, he could’ve done other things, but the dip stuck. He still dips to this day.
About a year or two ago, I slowly started losing my glorious feeling of dip. Be it because I was getting older and smarter, not wanting cancer, just tired of spit cups and the inconvenience, or a combination of all of these. The fact that most women don’t like it was in there too, and I was to the addiction point where I didn’t even hide it on dates anymore. I tried to quit for the first time, managed to go a couple days without, and failed. I did this a few times, then kinda gave up and chewed without any quit attempts for another year. This summer I made the decision to give quitting another try. I wanted it to be different this time, I wanted to part ways with the can for good. I no longer glorified it, I began to hate my addiction. I decided to quit on the July 4th weekend. I found KTC and signed up. Finally, a new way to quit. But mentally I was apparently not ready for a new way. After 8 days, I stupidly decided to drink, just like I usually did on weekends. There went my quit. That dip seemed so amazing, yet so god awful at the same time because I knew what I did. I Let my quit group down, I let myself down. That was it, I was angry the next day, I now knew how seriously I had to take this. I started day one again, and I haven’t looked back since.
If you’re reading this with a dip in your mouth thinking about quitting, stop thinking, and do it. I won’t lie and say its easy, because its hard as hell. Even past 100 days, I still have plenty of moments where my brain says “ok, time for a dip.” I’ll never be cured of nicotine addiction, it will always be there, waiting for that perfect moment when it thinks it can get me to cave. Nicotine never solved anything for me, and it will never solve anything for you. There may be a million ways to get cancer, but theres not one single good reason to increase your risks of getting it from using tobacco. The only thing it ever did for me, was made my wallet weigh less, made my teeth get stained, made my carpet get stained when I would spill a spit cup, and increased my chances of getting oral cancer. I wanna end with some tips, from my experience over the last hundred days. First and foremost, Don’t Drink! I cannot stress how important this is. Drinking is a huge trigger, and at the same time, you lose your wits and no longer care about your quit. It happened to me, it will happen to you if you drink. After a hundred days, I still only drink a beer or two at a time. I will in no means lose my quit to alcohol. Second, tell your friends and family about your quit. They can be a great support system. Third, invest in what this site has to offer. Get phone numbers, talk to your fellow quitters, don’t hold anything back. Finally, have all your “tools” at your disposal for whenever you need them. Put those numbers in your cell and keep it with you at work, or wherever. Keep a supply of things to chew, like gum, sunflower seeds, candy, whatever you like. Try fake dip with no nicotine like smokey mountain or others, theres a whole list of them somewhere on this site. And never let your guard down, because as soon as you do, that’s when you cave.
Thank you to all in my awesome October quit group, and to the vets who helped me out as well, for making this ride a little less painful and a little more humorous.