I just shared this story with my quit group, but I wanted to record it here also. Such a small, strange world, full of surprises.
So I missed posting roll call yesterday, but I stayed strong. Knowing the guys in my quit group were on here really helped, but I've got the strangest story that I have got to share. On day 15 of my quit I mentioned to them that I was heading out to make my first flight without dip. I had a 2-week quit going, but somehow I still felt nervous about it. I had NEVER been on an airplane without dip, and I fly quite a bit. The flight was from Seattle to DC, so it was a full 5 hours in the air. Nothing to sneeze at. I got on the plane and made the trip there with no huge issues. I had a drink....or three. Chewed some gum. All good. I had a meeting Friday morning after the Thursday night flight, and then a flight back Friday night right after the meeting. It wasn't a pleasure trip, it was business. Anyway, it was on the return flight that things were...interesting.
I was feeling pretty good about myself from the flight out. I handled it pretty well. I had some cravings but I handled them with gum, breathing, and the knowledge that my quit was 2-weeks strong and that was not anything I was willing to throw away. I'm quitting for good this time. I was savoring the small victory. I was looking forward to relying on my quit strength to get through the return flight home. So, I make my way to my seat and I got stuck with a middle seat in the back of the plane. It was a last minute trip, and you kinda get what you get in last minute flight arrangements. I wasn't looking forward to being cramped (I'm 6'5") in a middle seat for a 5-hour flight with God knows what on either side of me. I had normally in the past just tried to catch up on work or reading during a flight while enjoying the dip that was going to be right there in my lip for the ENTIRETY of the flight...and the DC to Seattle trip? That's a 3-dip flight. Minimum.
So, who's my row buddy on the window side of me? A dipper. Not just a dipper, but a REAL dipper. A young, unashamed dipper. A dipper unabashed in his tobacconess. Not just an unabashed dipper, but a MY BRAND dipper. Not just a MY BRAND dipper, but a selfless dipper who was eager to share. I must have had a longing look in my eye, cause he offered me a pinch before takeoff. My exact response was, "I'm good..." That was hard. We talked for about 7 seconds. I said, "I'm good" He said, "Suit yourself, but it takes the edge off the flight, and it's a long flight." I said, "I quit a long time ago. Seriously, I'm good." And that was it. He took to spitting in a yellow Vitamin Water bottle (one of my personal fave's. Wide mouth bottle. Not much sugar. You can slam Vitamin Water quickly and get on with that bottle's true purpose...to be filled after being emptied) and I opened up my computer. My plan was to go online during the flight and make my roll-call for the day, but after that, I just couldn't. I watched a movie. I was caught in a made-up Catch-22 in my head. I don't have one of those computers that can't be seen from the side, so whatever I do can be seen by people sitting next to me. I wanted to sign in and make my roll-call and write this blog post then, but there was no way I was going to call out a dude sitting right next to me on what could have been a tough situation for me. He was sitting right there. I had some shit to say about him, but it wasn't personal to him. I was going to run into people who dipped my brand and this problem on this flight wasn't about him. It was about me. And I didn't want to be one of those guys that was like, "YOU GOTTA QUIT THAT SHIT!!!" or "I QUIT, AND MY QUIT BUDDIES ARE HANGING STRONG, BE ONE OF THEM!" or "QUIT FUCKER!!!!!" You can't say that...that ain't nice.
It simply was crazy... My quit is about me. Every dipper that's quit has their own reason. I can't push that shit on the poor fucker sitting next to me. He didn't know he hit the lotto with a dude that has dipped non-stop for the last 27 years. I've done some calculations and looked online. To the best I can figure, I've had plenty of days where I've ingested over a half a gram of nicotine in a day. A FUCKING HALF GRAM! A carton of smokes has about 200 milligrams. A can of Skoal Long Cut Straight has about 150 mg. So, if you go on a road trip where you smoke a carton of cigarettes on the same day that you burn through 2 cans of Skoal, congratulations my friends, you've crushed the half-gram mark. Hey...it happens... Hell, you can turn that into a game with your road-trip friends. But none of the math and my own bad personal decisions are grounds to lay a hefty guilt trip on the poor bastard who happened to draw the seat next to me. My quit is about me. I tried to quit for my wife and kids and job considerations and family and friends and on and on before. It doesn't work until it's about you. Where you, as the addict, reach your line in the sand. That's your reason. When you find it, your quit is successful. There's no breaking it. Now don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of times each day where i look to my wife, who's a source of major support for me in this ordeal, and say, "You know what time it is??? Fatty time!!!" or "Who needs a dip???" She just smiles and says to me, "Not you...Not yet." The bottom line is that I have my own reasons quitting as do all the guys on this site. It's not my seat neighbor's fault that he hasn't found his reason yet...and it's not my place to preach mine to him. It's my place to honor my own quit and stay strong.
So, I missed my roll call yesterday. I didn't write anything on the plane. I didn't want to call him out in front of him should he glance at my screen. I watched a couple of movies on my iPad and had a couple glasses of whiskey. I didn't dip. I'm glad I had the guys in the quit group to think about during that experience. I'm glad I have a wife that's supportive of my quit now and was understanding of my failed quits in the past. I'm glad I am where I am. It made me able to say that I quit a long time ago....which is complete and utter bullshit. I quit exactly 15 days ago. I'm not a HOF'er. I haven't "not-dipped" long enough to not remember the sweet/acidic flavor of a perfectly moist pinch. As a matter of fact, the simple thought of that makes my mouth water. But, I know myself. I'm an addict. I'm one pinch away from a can-a-day habit. I'm just making it one day at a time. ODAAT, as the supporters in my quit group put it. It all makes me stronger. Thanks to the fellas in my quit group whom I'm accountable to. Thanks to my wife who's okay with this not being about her or us or the kids...or that those reasons weren't strong enough to make my quit permanent in the past. That's not what this is about. It's about me deciding not to be a slave to the can. It's about me being fed up surrendering control to nicotine. I don't need that shit any more. I'm good...I really am. I'm good.