I am 46 years old; I started dipping Skoal when I was about 13, with my buddies after track practice. In my later teens I went to Red Man and smoking, by about the age 18-20, I was completely addicted to smoking and/or Copenhagen. So, about 33 years of tobacco use, 28 or so of them hard core addicted. I have tried to quit dozens and dozens of times over the years, trying to find the perfect time to do so… joining the Navy, getting out of boot camp, going to my ship, making rate in the Navy, getting out of the Navy, going to college, being on summer break from college, graduating from college, getting married, having 1st son, having 2nd son, etc… you see a pattern here? I could never find that perfect time to stick with a quit.
Dipping has been present in most of the events of my adult life. And I’ve hated it most of that time, and wished I could quit – or even better, that I had never taken the first one. Whenever I did quit, I felt such a rage I thought I could kill someone. I rarely lasted 2-3 days of quit, until I broke down and bought that can of Cope. Then I would feel guilty and shitty about myself until the next time I worked up enough nerve to try again.
I joined KTC at about 18 days of quit or so – I started at Why Quit, I like their no-nonsense, no-excuses approach to quitting. I think you all saved my quit though, since I’ve never been able to do it before. That is, I think I would have caved by now if not for KTC. I don’t know why KTC helped, but I know it did. I think the main thing is the good feeling I had every morning, seeing all those names and adding mine to the list. I would think, “all those sad sack bastards are going through the exact same thing I am, right at this exact moment”.
Here are some random thoughts that have helped me in my quit:
- Nothing bad can happen to me today that a dip will somehow make it better; I’ll just have the original problem plus the new problem of relapse to tobacco.
- Time is one my side – every day I am a little freer and a little stronger.
- One dip is too many, a thousand is never enough.
This quit has not been always easy for me – some moments are hard, even at this point. I feel tense, depressed, angry at times… But that passes. Lifting weights and especially walking 1-3 miles after work really helped me, as well as getting more sleep. I’ve read other people, that there are other problems besides the nicotine, remove that and start dealing with those problems – I am sure there is something to that… Dip will always be with me, in the sense that I have to stay vigilant and remind myself every day so that I never forget that I am an addict. That sucks, but that’s the way it is. The alternative is caving, and being a slave to the can.
I have accomplished quite a bit in my life of which I am proud, but the hardest and proudest moment is reaching 100 days of quit with you all, one day at a time. A big inspiration is my boys, ages 8, 6, and newborn, my wife, and the simple fact that I respect myself today. It seems amazing that I was ashamed of myself for so long and didn’t act on it, but that’s addiction for you. Today I am the man I feel I should be.
Anyway, thanks everybody – I’ll see you tomorrow at roll call.
“He not busy being born is busy dying” – Bob Dylan
“Endure and abstain” – Epictetus
“What doesn’t destroy me, makes me stronger” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Nothing can happen to any man that nature has not fitted him to endure” – Marcus Aurelius
“Pain is never unbearable or unending” – Marcus Aurelius