I passed 100 days poison free about 170 days ago. Guess maybe I should post up my story in the HOF before my 1 year anniversary rolls around?
After 25 years of chewing Skoal Mint, things were getting out of hand. The gums of my front lower teeth had receded to the roots and they hurt pretty much all the time (ps, they still do). My bottom lip was all thin and sore and shriveled up on the inside. It hurt so friggin bad to dip I had taken to using my upper lip, which I even recognized at the time as being just plain ridiculous. I didn’t even want to look anymore like after I brushed my teeth because it was just plain ugly. I very reluctantly made a dentist appt, the first one in about ten years or so. Saw him around 3PM on March 16th, 2011. He said things to me in that chair like “This is bad. Very, very bad”. “There is a lot of damage here”. “I can not do anything until you are seen by an Oral Specialist”. “You must know you are killing yourself? 100 percent, you are killing yourself”. For some reason that last line, in heavy Indian accent, hit me like a ton of bricks. “You are killing yourself”. F^ck. Yeah, I know. I drove immediately to Walmart and bought the strongest dose of Nicotine Gum and Patches that they had. Put one on and chewed some gum in the parking lot.
Here is part of what I wrote to myself on that day 1, before I found this support group. This was just straight from the heart from me to me, and it helped me to stay motivated at times:
“That sh*t has ruined your lip & gums! Don’t get cancer, beat this sh*t. You are stronger than it. Let your body heal. Pray for strength. Remember the pull of it; you would give up food for it. You would give up sleep for it. You would skip church for it. You would panic if it wasn’t right there. You got that sh*t on your newborn child because you couldn’t not have it. You lost all that weight, you can do this. Just don’t do it. You quit before. Don’t go back again, remember the rush of that first dip last time after we quit? It was like mainlining Heroin. That sh*t is way too strong to f*ck with. You don’t need it anymore. Show your kids how strong a man you are. Your dad did it. Your mom did it. Your grandparents did it. You can do it, too, don’t puss out. If it gets that bad hit the gum, or 2 or 3-but don’t put that poison in your lip again!”
Every word of that is Truth as far as I’m concerned. I really would skip meals so I could have a dip. I really would wake up at 3AM and take a dip. I really did just HAVE to take a dip and spill that crap on my hours old son. F#ck yeah I’m ashamed of myself, that’s why I wrote it down then and that’s why I’m sharing it now. Looking back it’s so plain to see I was nothing but a dirty-whore-gutter-slut-junkie slave to that stuff.
I’m no expert but if I could go back in time and give myself some advice here’s what it would be:
- Use a stretch of days off or Vacation for that first week. It’s going to suck, bad. Real bad. Really, really, real bad. Embrace the Suck. Feel every miserable moment, remember it and don’t give in.
- Use this website to educate yourself. Use the whole internet to educate yourself. Get books. Ask questions. Write stuff down so you wont forget just exactly how bad it feels, so you wont ever want to go through this misery again.
- Nicotine Replacement gum & patches, even disregarding the warnings and used together at the same time were NOTHING NEAR the amount of Nicotine I was used to getting, and probably just prolonged the misery. You are probably just torturing yourself. Man up and go Cold Turkey, like ripping off a Band Aid.
- Chantix. That stuff works. Get it, use it for 2 weeks and get off it.
- Get Wellbutrin, it will make you feel better. It’s only temporary, I quit using it after 8 months and feel just fine again without it!
- Smokey Mountain Fake Chew is the greatest product ever invented. They sell it at Walmart and on the internet. Sunflower seeds and Atomic Fireballs are distant 2nd and 3rd place finishers.
- Understand that you are and always will be a Nicotine addict. You can never, ever touch the stuff again. Not ever, not a cigarette, not a cigar, certainly not ever take a dip. Maybe other people can but YOU can’t. You have F’d up the chemical pathways in your brain, it’s your own fault and you are not allowed to F it up anymore.