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I used to look forward to these every time they came out. A lot of work went into them and they are worth archiving.

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(From June 30th, 2007)

 

 

Junkie, burn-out, addict, drug abuser,

drunk, alcoholic, chew-a-holic

________________________________________

 

 

Some people would argue that chew-a-holic is just a cute euphemism which should not be compared to what they consider degrading syndromes. Contrary to this belief, nicotine addiction can be equally as strong and deadly as any of these other conditions. In fact, if you total the number of people who die yearly of all these other conditions combined, they would not add up to the number of premature deaths attributed to chewing and smoking.

 

Until recent times, the idea of nicotine being a physiologically addictive substance was controversial in the world-wide medical community. For a drug to be considered addictive, it must meet certain criteria. First, it must be capable of inducing physical withdrawal upon cessation. Nicotine abstinence syndrome is a well documented, established fact.

 

Second, tolerance to the drug usually develops. Increasingly larger doses become necessary to achieve the same desired effects. Chewers experience this phenomenon as their chew consumption gradually increases from what probably was sporadic occasional use to a required daily consumption of one or more cans.

 

The third criterion is that an addictive substance becomes a totally consuming necessity to its user, usually resulting in what is considered by a society as anti-social behavior. Many have argued that chewing and smoking fail to fulfill this requirement. True, most chewers do not resort to deviant behaviors to maintain their dependency, but this is because most chewers do manage to easily obtain the full complement of chews they need to satisfy the addiction. When chewers are deprived of easy accessibility to chews, the situation is totally different.

 

During World War II, in concentration camps in Germany, prisoners were not given enough food to fulfill minimum caloric nutritional requirements. They were literally starving to death. A common practice among smoking prisoners was to trade away their scarce supplies of life sustaining food for smokes. Even today, in underdeveloped countries, such as Bangladesh, parents with starving children barter away essential food for smokes. This is not normal behavior.

 

During the "stop smoking clinics" I conduct, numerous participants admit to going through ashtrays, garbage cans and, if necessary, gutters looking for butts which may still have a salvageable value of a few dips when their own supplies are depleted due to carelessness or unforeseen circumstances. To them, it is sick to think that they ever performed such a grotesque act, but many realize that if they were currently chewing or smoking and again caught in a similar predicament, they would be fully capable of repeating the repulsive incident.

 

Nicotine is a drug. It is addictive. And if you let it, it can be a killer. Consider this when you get the urge for a chew. One dip can and most often will reinforce the addiction. Don't take that chance.

 

 

Joel

 

© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2000

Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 24, 2003

Edited by Wyoming4life

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(from July 5th 2007)

 

I Chew Because I Like Chewing!

________________________________________

 

 

Ask almost any current chewer why he continues to indulge in such a dangerous activity and he will normally reply, "Because I like chewing." While he may say this in all honesty, it is a very misleading statement, both to the listener and to the chewer himself. He does not chew because he enjoys chewing, rather he chews because he does not enjoy not chewing.

Nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. The chewer is in a constant battle to maintain a narrow range of nicotine in her blood stream (serum nicotine level). Every time the chewer's serum nicotine level falls below the minimum limit, he experiences drug withdrawal. He becomes tense, irritable, anxious and, in some cases, even shows physical symptoms. He does not enjoy feeling these withdrawals. The only thing that will alleviate these acute symptoms will be a chew. The nicotine loss is then replenished and, hence, the chewer feels better. He enjoyed chewing.

A chewer must also be cautious not to exceed his upper limit of tolerance for nicotine or else suffer varying degrees of nicotine poisoning. Many chewers can attest to this condition. It usually occurs after parties or extremely tense situations when the chewers finds themselves exceeding their normal level of consumption. They feel sick, nauseous, dizzy and generally miserable.

Being a successful chewer is like being an accomplished tightrope walker. The chewer must constantly maintain a balance between these two painful extremes of too much or too little nicotine. The fear which accompanies initial chewing cessation is that the rest of the ex-chewer's entire life will be as horrible as the first few days without chews. What ex-chewers will learn is that within a short period of time, the physical withdrawal will start to diminish. First, the urges will weaken in intensity and then become shorter in duration. There will be longer time intervals between urges. It will eventually reach the point where the ex-chewer will desire a chew very infrequently, if ever. Those who continue to chew will continue to be in a constant battle of maintaining their serum nicotine level.

Included in this battle is the great expense of buying can after can and the dangerous assault on the chewer's body of sucking the poison nicotine along with over 4,000 other toxic chemicals inherent in the tobacco. These chemicals are deadly by themselves and even more so in combination.

So the next time you think of how much you once seemed to enjoy chew, sit back and take a serious, objective look at why you have such an idealization of this dangerous product. Consider all the consequences. You will probably realize that you feel physically and mentally better now than you ever did as a chewer. Consider all of this and - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER DIP!

 

Joel

 

© Joel Spitzer 1983, 2000

Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 24, 2003

 

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(from July 9th, 2007)

 

 

Caring for Your Recovery

 

The recovered cocaine addict, the heroin addict, the nicotine addict, each knows the law of addiction. They’ve heard it over and over and over. Just one, just once, that's all it ever takes and it's back! They’ve also read or heard about the relapse study data indicating that 95% to 97% of recovered addicts who take just one chew, one hit, one snort or one injection, experience full and complete relapse. They know the rule of addiction and they know what happens if they break it. Then why do we?

There are three primary factors associated with relapse: (1) rewriting the law of addiction; (2) an excuse; and (3) a vague memory. It doesn’t matter if it happens within two weeks after quitting, two months, two years, or twenty years, the factors remain the same and apply to all of us. Rewriting the law of addiction is easy and you don’t need a pencil, paper or computer to do it.

 

“Just one chew” and then “do not pass go, do not collect $200, but go directly to the addict’s prison and surrender your freedom for good.” It isn’t that the recovering nicotine addict doesn’t know or believe the law of addiction, because we do. It’s just that we begin to believe that we’re the exception. We convince ourselves that we’re stronger than those who wrote the law, and wiser than the addicts who came before us. We amend the law. We put ourselves above it. “Just one, it’ll be ok, I can handle it, I'm stronger than the others, a little reward, it's been a while, I’ve earned it.”

 

I’m sorry. As soon as those words are spoken, it's over. Instead of saying that you can handle“ just one ” a truthful statement would have been “I can handle them all, give them all back to me, my entire addiction, all the spittoons, the sore throat and tongue, the bad breath, I want it all back.” It’s far easier to create an exception to the “law” than to admit the truth. A one can a day addiction is approximately 4,000 chews of tobacco a year. Don’t picture chewing just one. Picture taking 4,000 slave-driven chews each and every year. “To thine own self be true.” You deserve the truth - you paid the price - you earned it.

 

The excuse can be anything. Usually the addict waits for that great excuse to come along, but some get tired of waiting and any old excuse will do. Even joy! A reunion with an old chewing buddy, a few drinks with friends, a wedding, a graduation, or even a baby’s birth and a free nicotine laden cigar, why not! But joyful relapse is harder to explain to yourself and to those you love.

 

The smart nicotine addict waits for the great excuse, the one that we know we can sell to ourselves and others. As sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell and the best of all is the death of a loved one. Although everyone we love is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for the reformed addict it’s the perfect excuse for relapse. I mean, who can blame us for ingesting highly addictive drugs into our bodies upon our mother’s death. Anyone who does would have to be extremely insensitive or totally heartless! Right? Losing a job, the end of a relationship, illness, disease or financial problems are all are great excuses too - it’s drug time again! The addict is back!

 

But an excuse doesn’t work alone. It needs help. Failing memories of “why” we were willing to climb walls and endure tremendous internal agony in order to break free, breathes fatal life into any excuse. Most of us failed to keep a detailed record of why we quit or what it was like. Instead, we're forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and vividly preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But now, the memory in which we placed all our trust has failed us.

 

It isn’t that your memory is bad, faulty or doing anything wrong. In fact, it’s working as it should to preserve in as much detail as possible the joyful events of life, while forgetting, as quickly as possible, all the pain and hurt that we’ve felt, including all of the wrong we’ve done. To have our brains do otherwise would make life inside our minds unbearable. If women were forced to remember the true agony and intense pain of childbirth, most would have just one. God blessed us with the gift to forget.

 

So how does the reformed nicotine addict who failed to keep accurate records of their journey, revive their passion for freedom and recall the price they paid for liberty. If we forget the past, are we destined to repeat it? Not necessarily. It doesn’t have to be. But just as any loving relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we can never take our quit for granted or the flame will eventually die and the fire will go out. We have to want to protect it until the day we die. We have to turn that "want" into action. If we do, we win. If not, our fate may be similar to almost all who don’t - relapse followed by crippling disease or early death.

 

Whether daily, weekly or monthly our quit needs care. If you don’t have a detailed log to regularly review upon each quit anniversary or birthday, do your best to create one now. Talk to chewing friends and ask for help in revitalizing your memories. Encourage them to be as truthful as possible. Although they may look like they’re enjoying chewing, their primary joy is in keeping their body’s nicotine level within the comfort zone, so as to avoid the onset of early withdrawal. Show them your pen and paper. Let them help make your list. You may even spark their desire for freedom. Be kind and sincere. It wasn't long ago that those were our shoes.

 

Think about that first week. What was it like? Can you still feel the powerful craves as your body begged and cried to be fed? Can you still feel the pain? Do you see yourself not being able to concentrate, having difficulty sleeping, feeling depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated, restless, with tremendous anxiety, a foggy mind, sweating palms, rapidly cycling emotions, irrational thinking, emotional outbursts or even the shakes? Do you remember these things? Do you remember the price you paid for freedom?

 

If you have access to a computer, you wont’ need a Chewer’s help. You can go on-line to scores of chewing cessation support groups and find thousands of battles being fought, hear tons of cries and watch hundreds who won’t make it through “Hell Week” to the hope that lies beyond. Visit as often as possible. Make a few posts to those in need. Share your valuable quit wisdom and give the gift of hope. Most don’t know what it’s like to be free. Most have few remaining memories of the days before their addiction. Fear of the unknown is frightening. Help them and in doing so help yourself.

 

If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the law of addiction, stop, think, remember, read, revisit, revive and give to others, but most important, be honest with you. Terrible and emotional events will happen in each of our lives - such is life. Relapse won’t fix, correct or undo any of them. In your mind, plan for disaster today. How will you cope? What will do? Remember, your addiction is real. Today it sleeps. Will it sleep tomorrow?

 

John R. Polito

 

© WhyQuit.Com 2000, 2002

 

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(from July 16th, 2007)

 

 

How effective are over-the-counter NRT products?

 

We nicotine addicts have been lied to by so many for so long that it's getting hard to believe. One of the biggest lies of all is that few successful quitters are quitting cold turkey, that you have to be a superhero to do so, or that it requires a Herculean effort to succeed.

 

To the contrary, even today with Chewers being drowned in a sea of magic cures that include NRT products, Zyban, Wellbutrin, magic herbs, the traveling hypnotist, Chew-Away, acupuncture, and every quick fix magic cure ever devised by man, the American Cancer Society's 2003 Cancer Facts and Figures report asserts that 91.2% of all successful long-term quitters quit entirely on their own. When it comes to magic quitting cures there is only one cure with the potential to keep you 100% nicotine free for the remainder of your life and it is "you!"

 

The websites and commercials of those marketing nicotine replacement therapy products (the nicotine patch, gum, chewer and lozenge) are not advertising the fact that a March 2003 study, published in Tobacco Control, combined and average all over-the-counter NRT patch and gum studies and found that 93% had relapsed to chewing within six-months. It’s even worse as a November 2003 study (also published in Tobacco Control) found that as many as 7% of nicotine gum quitters and 2% of patch users may still be dependent upon the gum or patch at six months.

 

Nor will those with a financial stake tell you that if you've already tried quitting with the nicotine patch once that they have known since as early as 1993 that your odds during a second or subsequent attempt drop to almost zero (see Tonnesen, Addiction, April 1993). Also don't expect them to reveal that 36.6% of all current nicotine gum users are chronic long-term users of greater than 6 months (see Shiffman, Addiction, Jan. 2004), but why?

 

The hypnotist and acupuncturist will never tell you that governments around the world (including the U.S.) have reviewed all credible studies and found no evidence whatsoever that either is effective in helping Chewers quit. Why? They're not telling you the truth because they know just how badly you want to break free and know you're willing to pay hard earned money for a quick and painless magic cure.

 

If you are able to get your brain's dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin pathways adjusted to again functioning without nicotine while continuing to use it, be proud of yourself because you are in fact a superhero. But if you are among the 93 out of 100 first time NRT users who quickly relapse, or among the nearly 100% who gave the patch a second try and again fell flat on your face, then don't get discouraged as you are in some wonderful company.

 

There is only one quitting aid that can 100% guarantee success and it is you!

 

Whyquit.com – by John R. Polito

 

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(From July 16th, 2007)

 

 

Every Quit is Different

 

 

Every quit is different. Not only that, but when a person quits multiple times, each one of those quits is different also. Some people quit and have a terrible time, relapse down the road and are terrified to quit again because they "know" what will happen the next time. Well, actually they don't know. The next time may be a breeze in comparison. On the alternate side, some people have an easy quit, go back with the attitude, "Oh well, if I have to, I'll just quit again." They may find the next quit horrendous, and possibly not be able to pull it off.

 

The reason I mention this is it is possible that you won't have any major symptoms this time. I have had a lot of can or two a day Chewers who chewed 40 plus years who toss them with minimal withdrawal or discomfort. The reason they never tried to quit before is that they witnessed people who chewed one fourth of what they did go thorough terrible side effects and figured, "If it did that to them, it will kill me." But when the time came, their quit was easy in comparison.

 

You may find that this quit will be relatively easy. Stranger things have happened. But if it does, don't think that this doesn't mean that you were not addicted. The factor that really shows the addiction is not how hard or how easy it is to quit. What really shows the addiction is how universally easy it is to go back. One chew and the quit can go out the window.

 

Summing up, the first few days may be relatively easy, or for some, it may be very difficult. Who knows? The only thing we know is that once you get past the third day nicotine free, it will ease up physically. Psychological triggers will still exist but more controllable measures can be taken with them, basically keeping your ammunition up for why you don't want to be a Chewer.

 

Easy or hard, quitting is worth it. Once you have quit for even a few hours, you have invested some effort, time, and maybe even a little pain. Make this effort count for something. As long as you hang in there now, all of this will have accomplished a goal. It got you off of chewing tobacco.

 

© Joel Spitzer 2002

Whyquit.com

 

Edited by Wyoming4life

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(From July 16th, 2007)

 

 

Our Habit Triggers - Although our basic time trigger served as our mind’s foundation for conditioning it to generate desire attacks, we have also conditioned it to expect new nicotine during certain events, at specific times each day, upon experiencing certain emotions or when we engage in specific activities. The mind is a "steal trap." You many not consciously remember what you were doing, feeling or where you were when you fed yourself nicotine in the past, but those memories have been locked away deep within your subconscious.

 

Each of these emotions, events, specific times or locations will trigger our mind’s crave generator to begin pulsating desire when next encountered. Before total comfort can arrive, each trigger needs to be reconditioned. Again, the beauty is that our subconscious is not capable of true reasoning and that almost all of our trigger links will be disconnected or reconditioned after just one episode where they fail to produce new nicotine. An additional comforting fact is that over time the power and intensity of our desire or crave generator will diminish to the point of becoming almost insignificant.

 

Almost like a battery gradually losing its charge, after about twelve weeks or 90 days our once powerful craves start becoming nothing more than ordinary “thoughts.” Just like the thought of a “nice juicy steak,” you will have total control over when you discard the thought. You may hear those in “cold turkey” recovery discuss long term “craves” (months or years down the road) but when you quiz them they quickly admit that it was more like dreaming about a “Hot Fudge Sunday” and it came and went almost as quickly as any other normal desire. What's interesting is trying to learn what triggered the desire "thought," as it is usually some activity that was infrequently engaged in but during which the ex-Chewer had previously chewed (weddings, funerals, graduations, births, etc.).

 

Aside from our basic time trigger that has already been reconditioned, most of our psychological or habit triggers need to be encountered and reconditioned before total comfort begins arriving. Our psychological triggers may include such things as the habit of chewing while talking on the phone, driving a vehicle, working, upon waking, before going to bed, when leaving a store, when around other Chewers, while drinking, surrounding romance, when alone, after meals, during celebrations, when sad, during stressful situations, during other specific emotions, or upon visiting specific locations (garage, porch, garden, in-laws, bathroom). You may notice a small crave spike on day seven of recovery as you celebrate your first full week of freedom. Almost all of us chewed as part celebrating. Unless you've developed an extremely healthy attitude, up until now you've probably been doing very little celebrating. When you do first celebrate, expect a visit from your joy trigger, your pride trigger and/or your party trigger.

 

The most serious trigger is a period of extremely "high stress" such as tremendous financial strain, serious family illness, injury, or the death of a close friend or loved one. It’s a cold hard fact of life that each of us will experience the death of someone we love. We need to prepare our mind now to cope with our "high stress" trigger, as it is certain to occur for each of us. If it occurs while our desire or crave generator still carries a significant charge (the first few weeks), it can be used as your mind’s unjustified excuse for relapse.

 

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(From July 20th, 2007)

 

 

Minimizing Weight Gain

 

You may have heard that you can’t deal with weight control issues at the same time as quitting chewing. It may be fine for some people to gorge themselves while quitting chewing and deal with the weight at a later time. The health implication of a minor weight gain is negligible in comparison to the health risks posed by chewing. The average Chewer would have to gain over 75 to 100 pounds to put the additional workload on the heart that is experienced by chewing, and this is not saying anything about the chewing cancer risk.

 

But for aesthetic and emotional reasons, allowing uncontrolled eating and the inevitable weight gain is a mistake that will often undermine the quitting process. Discouragement over appearance can cause some to return to chewing. Then the Chewer has the additional problem of the extra weight combined with chewing. Sometimes the weight does not automatically disappear by simply relapsing back to chewing.

 

Weight gain following chewing cessation can be due to several factors. Chewing can have an effect on a person’s metabolism and thus quitting can account for a small weight gain in some individuals. Gains of 5 to 10 pounds over a number of months can be attributed to metabolic alterations in some individuals. But once weight gain exceeds 10 pounds, other factors are more probably responsible.

 

Snacking between meals or increasing the overall size of meals, can easily result in the consuming of several hundred extra calories per day. Eating just an additional 100 calories a day will result in a one-pound fat gain in just over a month, 10.4 pounds in one year, and an extra 104 pounds in ten years. One hundred four pounds of fat from drinking the equivalent of one extra soft drink per day. This is why you often hear, "I didn’t eat that much more but gained excessive amounts of weight!" True, they may not have eaten that much more daily, but they did it everyday, and the cumulative effect can easily account for the "mysterious" weight gain.

 

Some ex-Chewers eat more because they are just hungrier. They find themselves snacking between meals or needing to eat at times that were never necessary before. If they wait to eat too late in the day or there is too much time between meals, they may start to experience symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness or lack of energy. This can be a real side effect of chewing cessation.

 

The reason for the new sense of hunger is due to the fact that nicotine is an appetite suppressant. Chewing between meals seems to eradicate the need for the snacking behaviors experienced by many ex-Chewers. Nicotine does this by elevating the blood sugar and blood fat levels, basically tricking the body into thinking that it has eaten more than it actually has. While that may help to control weight, it does so at a risk. Chewing tobacco used as an appetite suppressant can cause cancer, heart disease, strokes and a host of other illnesses.

 

The ex-Chewer is no longer constantly administering an appetite suppressant. This does not mean he or she needs to increase caloric intake. It may be a matter of redistributing food normally eaten at single sittings at large meals into numerous smaller meals spaced throughout the day. This can allow for the snacking between meals ex-Chewers are notorious for without increasing overall caloric intake. As an example, if breakfast consists of cereal, muffin, eggs, and a glass of juice, instead of eating all that food in one sitting, it can be dispersed over two or three times keeping a more even distribution of blood sugar throughout the morning hours. The same rule can apply to lunch and dinner, allowing for numerous snacking times throughout the day.

 

A more insidious mechanism of increased caloric intake can be experienced by unwittingly eating more at the end of meals. The chewing of a chew used to signify the end of a meal. With no chew to serve as a cue, the ex-Chewer may continue to consume extra food after every meal whether or not he or she is hungry. The ex-Chewer may not even know that he has eaten more in the process.

 

One solution to this behavior can be planning the meal out in advance. Calculate and prepare the amount of food you used to consume while chewing and acknowledge to yourself that you have finished. Another way is leave the table immediately upon completion of the meal. If you must stay at the table have a glass of cold water or a non-caloric beverage present. Don’t leave a plate with scraps or desserts in easy reach.

 

Another very good solution is getting up and brushing your teeth. This can become the new cue for the end of the meal as well as improve dental hygiene. The clean feeling in your mouth may be a new pleasurable experience for an ex-Chewer. While chewing, brushing of the teeth was often followed by a chew, compromising the overall cleansing process.

 

Besides controlling consumption, exercise is another tool to help with weight control efforts after quitting chewing. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise done every other day can offset the metabolic alteration accompanied by chewing cessation. If you are eating "a little more," then more exercise can help offset that, too. But be realistic. You have to do a lot of activity to burn off a relatively small amount of food. That is not to say it is a waste of time to exercise to lose weight; just don’t eat food with a shovel and go for a short walk and expect to work off the difference.

 

Successful weight control while quitting chewing can be accomplished with a little extra effort and planning. Watch your food consumption and exercise regularly.

 

Joel Spitzer

 

© Joel Spitzer 1997, 2000

 

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From July 30th, 2007

 

 

One of the things we face as quitters is the transition from being chewers to ex-chewers. Early in your quit, you're a chewer in withdrawal. Eventually, you're a chewer who's not using. At some point, you do actually become an EX-chewer.

 

It's a scary transition for anyone to undergo mentally. Years upon years of memories are associated with chewing. A mountain of stressful situations that we dulled (and in doing so, partially avoided dealing with) by administering nicotine. The belief that we NEED that drug to get through these situations in the future.

 

In a sense, we're newborns, facing a new world, and not sure what to expect. We're children, and children are often frightened by the unknown. As our conscious decision to reach out to this new world and embrace it becomes more and more real and tangible, the fear within us makes us want to run back, grab the security blanket, and hide under the covers. It's like the monster under the bed.

 

And, like the monster under the bed when we're small, the best way to deal with the unknown is to face it, to understand it. As long as we hide under the blankets, the monster under the bed grows bigger, scarier, more menacing. Once we finally get the courage to lean over the matress, and stare under the boxspring... only then do we understand there's nothing to be frightened of. If we avoid looking under the bed, seeing the "monster" for what it is, we risk letting that "monster" dominate our conscience, and drive our actions.

 

Right now, you're dealing with your monster. There's the fear of failure (you've been down this road before). There's the fear of success (oh my God, what am I going to do now that I won't have dip to help me?). And there is the voice in your ear telling you things: You want a chew, you can handle JUST one, you NEED just this one, this crave is going to last forever, this crave is unbearable, quitting is just TOO DAMN HARD, I wasn't meant to quit, I'm not strong enough.

 

It's time to look the monster in the eye. It's time to confront the voice. There are non-scary answers to the things it's telling you.

 

Fear of failure: Yes, I've been down this road before, but I didn't understand that I'm an addict, and that for the addict, one dip is the same as a million. I will never be able to take another dip without recommitting to a life of dependancy. I've learned this the hard way in the past, even though I might not have understood the lesson at the time. Now that I know, I know that I won't take that chew.

 

Fear of success: Millions of people have moved from chewing to a life without chewing. Some have had more difficult situations to deal with than I have. All have discovered that the nicotine fix doesn't really help; it just masks. I belong to a group of hundreds of people who have travelled this road, and the fact that they're making it through family tragedy, poor health, good health, work stress, celebrations, raising kids, divorces, day-to-day life of all sorts, good times and bad times, without nicotine tells me that I can too. I'm an individual, and as such, I'm not 100% like anybody else, but I share little bits in common with many of these people, and from these similarities comes my understanding that I too can live my life in the absence of nicotine.

 

You want a chew: Do I? What do I want? Specifically? What about the chew do I crave? Okay, fine. Maybe I want the "ahhh" feeling. But, wait, I'm through withdrawal. The first chew won't even give me the "ahhh" feeling anymore, because the "ahhh" feeling came from nicotine's ability to stave off the early withdrawal I felt after not chewing for 30 minutes or an hour. Now that I'm no longer in withdrawal, I'll only get dizzy and sickly from the first one, and that first one will be followed by the next one and the next one as I search for the "ahhh" feeling, and long before I ever get the "ahh" feeling, I'll realize I'm hooked again. Heck, I'll realize it after the first one.

 

You can handle just one: Can I? Why is it that in the past when I said that to myself, it didn't work out like I planned? If I could get by on just one, why didn't I chew just one every now and again when I dipped, instead of chewing all of those other dips I didn't want? No. There is no such thing as just one for me, or the other greater than 90% of the chewers out there who chew whenever their addiction demands that they chew.

 

You NEED just this one: Do I really believe that I NEED to ingest hundreds of toxic chemicals into my gums to get through this given situation? Do I really believe that I need to recommit to my addiction so that I can dull the feelings associated with this situation.

 

This crave is going to last forever, this crave is unbearable, quitting is just TOO DAMN HARD: Okay, what does this crave really feel like? How long is it lasting? Is it really lasting all day long? Or, is my fear of the crave, and my fear of failure, or my fear of success, making me THINK about it all day long? For how many seconds have I actually WANTED to put a chew in my mouth, as opposed to just being anxious about my lifestyle change, and all of the things associated with it. Am I feeling anxiety? Or am I really wanting a chew? Will chewing make me feel better or worse than I do? Furthermore, I KNOW from talking to all the former chewers around me that this isn't what being an ex-chewer feels like! I'm in the latter stages of withdrawal, and the early stages of reconditioning my life to NOT revolve around my addiction. Soon, I will be feeling a lot better, and I'll have a hard time remembering how hard this has been. It's only hard for a while.

 

You weren't meant to quit, You're not strong enough: I wasn't meant to CHEW. Chewing is not a natural thing. Ingesting deadly chemicals to satisfy a never-ending cycle of withdrawal and replenishing of nicotine supplies is NOT the way I was meant to live. I was MEANT to breathe freely. I was meant to taste my food. I was meant to have good breath. I was meant to be free. And I'm strong enough to realize that nicotine is stronger than me; that if I try just one, nicotine will win, and I'll be trapped. I'm strong enough to make it through this temporary difficulty, in order to live the life I was meant to live on the other side.

 

Confront the fear, and confront the voice. Our junky side doesn't fight fair, and uses confusing logic. It plays upon the parts of us that feel most vulnerable. The parts of us that want to hide and wish things away. You can eliminate the fear, and silence the voice by always looking it in the eye, seeing it for what it is, and never letting it get away without shedding the light of truth upon it.

 

Keep taking it one day at a time. One minute at a time if you need.... You'll get there. This is eminantly doable

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From Aug 1st, 2007

 

 

This is an old article I ran across from the old QS site. Don't be a Tom. Keep fighting for you life

Rob aka Indy

 

Dear Matt,

 

I realize it has been almost one year since you sent me this e-mail, but I saved it because I knew some day I wanted to respond. It looks like today is that day.

 

Before I began writing this, I decided to check out your website. I wasn't sure how or if I could write on it. So I thought if I e-mailed you, you could decide if it should be on the website. As I read some of the entries in the Hall of Fame, I saw so many stories like ours.

 

Tom started chewing just as many of these men did. He was about 13 when he was helping out on his grandpa's farm, and someone gave him a chew. He continued chewing through high school in his varies sports (mainly baseball). Tom and I meet his sophomore year in college. I continually told him I didn't like his chewing, and he continually ignored me. Being in his dorm room was disgusting. I never put my pop can down while I was in there - you know why! Many cans were accidentally kicked over, so the carpet smelled horrible and was brown from all the stains. When he asked me to marry him, I said, "Yes, if you quit chewing." You know how long that lasted. He would just sneak it. As many of the writer's said, he would wait until I left. Or he would chew to and from work, at softball games, Boundary Waters trips, hunting and fishing trips. Anytime I wasn't there, I'm sure a dip was. Finally, I caught him. We had arguments about it. I am a teacher, and one year I received a video to show my fifth graders about a teenage boy who died from chewing tobacco related cancer. I took it home and showed Tom. He was unfazed. He thought he was a big strong football player. It wasn't going to happen to him. After our daughter was born, he said he would quit. After our next daughter was born, and our son, and our last daughter. After many debates, I told him I didn't want it around me, the kids, the house. I didn't want to see it, hear about it, or know about it. I didn't want that STUFF to be an example for our kids. They all looked up to their dad, and I didn't want them to think it was cool!

 

In October of 2003, Tom had a sore on the inside of his cheek that wasn't going away. He thought he had bitten his cheek, and it was infected. The doctor put him on antibiotics for 10 days. After that didn't work, he went to an ENT. This doctor looked at it and said, "I think it's cancer." One week later, we received the bad news - squamous cell carcinoma. Five days later, we saw the surgeon. He said it was Stage 1, it looked very small, and he thought surgery would be the end of it. We were so relieved that there wouldn't be any radiation or chemo. One week later (Nov. 28, 2003) Tom had surgery. I looked at some of the pictures on the website, and you could easily add Tom's picture to it. He was cut from the middle of his bottom lip, down his neck, over to the right, and up behind his right ear. He had a trachea because the tumor was in his jaw so he could only open his mouth about an inch, and they were afraid he might aspirate. When he came home 5 days later, our eight year old daughter cried because he looked so scary. This made Tom (my 235 pound football player) cry! (Tom DOESN'T cry!)

 

We thought we were done. However, the pathologist report on the lymph nodes was that one out of fourteen had come back with some cancer cells in it. The surgeon said it was Tom's choice, but he would recommend radiation. He started radiation on Jan. 5, 2004. It was not a normal treatment of radiation. It was a newer type that would do less damage to surrounding tissue, but instead of being radiated for a couple of minutes, it would take 30 minutes. Monday though Friday for 6 1/2 weeks. He got very sick, couldn't eat (he said food tasted like shards of glass), and dropped down to 175 pounds. After the treatments were over, he would feel lousy for a couple more weeks, then he would gradually start feeling better. This happened, until April. He started feeling bad again. He was very depressed and went on anti-depression medication.

 

May 1, 2004 was the beginning of the end. Our 15 year old daughter was going to prom, and we went to take pictures. Tom got out of the car and began throwing up. His vision was also being affected. What was going on! This began day after day of doctor's appointments and tests. Finally, at the end of May, we got our answer - the cancer was back with a vengeance. Chemo would give him a year or two. But I thought a year or two would give us time to look around at all our options, and medical science was always coming up with something new. At this point, Tom had a food tube put in because he couldn't get much down. Between the pre-op physical and surgery (3 days) he lost 30 pounds! The cancer was eating him alive. He was scheduled to go to the Mayo Clinic on June 7 (his 42nd birthday).

 

On June 3 he spiked a fever, and I took him to the hospital. They ambulanced him to Minneapolis. They found lesions in most of his internal organs. After 5 days of testing, they found that it was all squamous cell carcinoma. We brought our children to the hospital on June 10 to tell them that their dad was going to die. That has been one of the most painful times of my life. To see my children (ages 16, 12, 9, 7) touch their once robust, jolly father who lay lifeless in his hospital bed and know he was dying just killed me. Two days later, we were all around him as he took his last breath. Our oldest child threw herself on his legs and cried, "Don't go, Dad!"

 

Stage 1 cancer, 1.3 centimeters in size - and he was dead in less than seven months from the day he was diagnosed. He never thought it would happen to him. Someone once asked me what the chances of getting cancer from chewing tobacco was, and I replied that it didn't matter what the chances are if you are the one who gets it. You never know if it will be you.

 

As I continued to read some of the entries, the tears began to fall as I saw Tom's name. Some of the writer's said that Tom's story helped them to continue on their journey of being tobacco free. This would have meant so much to Tom, and means so much to me. Tom spoke to our 16 year old's health class right after he was done with radiation. He told them that he thought he was only hurting himself, but he realized that this addiction hurt anyone who has ever cared about him. He was a very selfless person, and it hurt him to know that he was putting all of us through hell. He wasn't thinking about himself, and all the pain and suffering he was going through. That was the kind of man he was.

 

Our eight year old daughter comes to me often at night crying. She asks why companies make things that kill people, and why did Dad have to chew. I don't have any answers for her. Tom felt so guilty about his choice to continue chewing. He couldn't believe the power of his addiction. Two weeks after his surgery he said, "You're not going to believe this, but I just had a craving for a chew!"

 

One year later, we are surviving, but not really loving life. Maybe someday we will get there, but for now I want to put my head on his barrel chest and have him wrap his arms around me and just hold me tight. I want to hear him tell the stories I heard him tell a hundred times, but still laughed until I cried every time I heard them. He was so full of life, until chewing tobacco took his life.

 

I am glad that so many people have been helped by this website. I only wish Tom had been aware of it. I want to thank you for letting me tell Tom's story, for e-mails I've received, for entries on Tom's caring bridge website, for financial support, and for your prayers. I wish you all success in staying tobacco free. God bless you.

 

Jenny Kern

 

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From MLS Aug 4th, 2007

 

 

If Given The Chance

 

I bet - if given the chance - I could seduce you into using me even if it's just one time.

Then after you've tried me I know you wouldn't want anything else other than myself.

I bet - if given the chance - I could make you believe I'm a loyal friend; some sort of confidante.

Sooner or later I'll be able to manipulate, hell I'll be able to isolate you from family even friends.

I bet - if given the chance - I could ravish you with deadly poisons pretending they're great pleasures.

And after all those years of letting me control your every move you'll see what I'm truly after ...... death.

 

I'm your greatest fear. I'm your addiction.

 

I bet - if given the chance - you'll begin to feel guilty from hurting so many because of your worship for me.

But after I am gone they'll learn to forgive you but never truly understand how or why this could've happened.

I bet - if given the chance - you'll begin to forget me as time passes though I'll try my best to wreck havoc on you once more.

You see, within the darkest corner of your mind every so often I'll beg you to give me another try.

I bet - if given the chance - you'll begin to see hope that you can live your life without me.

And after all those years of letting me control your every move you'll also see what I truly dread ...... life.

 

It's my greatest fear. It's your recovery.

 

-mylilsecret

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Aug 6th, 2007

 

 

 

 

This article reminds us that we just can’t have one chew. One chew could very well send you back into your addiction, full steam ahead, over and over again until death do you part.

 

Stay strong everyone and have a nic-free day

 

Rob

 

"Never Take Another Chew!"

 

I said it every day of the clinics, it's in almost all my posts, and you see it at the end of each of these short articles. Even so, I still feel I cannot repeat it enough - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW! It is not that I am afraid that you will like the chew and decide how wonderful going back to chewing will be. To the contrary, it will probably make you dizzy, nauseous, and generally sick. You may absolutely hate yourself for having done it. Even this, though, is not the problem.

 

The real danger is the reinforcement of the nicotine addiction. It is a powerful addiction. One chew can send you back to your old level of chew consumption within days. We have had clinic participants who have previously quit chewing for periods exceeding 20 years. One day they decide to try just one. Even after this great period of time, the first chew is enough to start the whole addiction withdrawal process. They are again hooked on a drug and within days their full chemical dependency returns. All of the physical dangers, psychological problems, and tremendous expenses return to their previous levels.

 

If you do not believe this can happen to you, come into the first or second night of my next stop chewing clinic. Listen to all of the new enrollees who are there to quit chewing. These are people who were once off chewing tobacco for a substantial period of time before, people who liked not chewing, people who loved not chewing, people who now need help to once again reclaim their nonchewing status because of one tragic mistake. They were not immune to the first chew. The odds are, neither are you. Consider this the next time you have a passing thought for a chew.

 

Now you have a choice. You can remain an ex-Chewer or you can become an addicted Chewer once again. Consider both options carefully. Which way of life better suits you - a slave to a deadly weed or a truly free person? The final decision is yours. If you choose the latter, simply practice the following advice - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW!

 

Joel Spitzer

 

© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2000

 

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Aug 6th, 2007

 

 

So what are your triggers? Recognize that it only takes getting through a trigger one or two times and you will overcome that trigger. Hope you all are doing well. Stay nic-free today and be a slave no more.

 

Rob

 

“You said it would get better.”

“It's just as bad as the day I quit chewing!”

 

 

Recently I was met with this warm greeting from a clinic participant on his eighth day without chewing. We explain during the clinic that if a Chewer can get through the first three days without chewing, the physiological withdrawal will start to diminish, and within two weeks all physiological withdrawal will stop.

 

While we can accurately predict the physiological withdrawal, psychological withdrawals can occur at anytime. It is possible that the urge this man was having was just as painful as the ones he had a week earlier. While the urge may have been as strong, it was different. When he had an urge before, there was really nothing he could do to get over it. If he just held out a few minutes, the urge would pass. But psychological urges are more under the ex-Chewer's conscious control. A good analogy demonstrating the difference between physiological and psychological pain can be seen by analyzing a common toothache.

 

A rotting tooth can cause a lot of pain. If your dentist explains to you why the tooth hurts it really doesn't resolve the situation. You know why it hurts, but it still hurts. Simply understanding physical pain does not make the pain go away.

 

To illustrate another point, say you go to the dentist and find out that you have a cavity. He has to drill the tooth and put in a filling. The drilling can be a very rough experience. After it is all over the pain will stop, but whenever you hear the sound of a dentist's drill, even if it's years later, you cringe at the thought of the pain. Once you realize that you are simply reacting to the sound, you know that you are not really in danger and the reaction will end. Understanding the root of the fear alleviates the anxiety and the associated pain.

 

Any urges for chewing tobacco that occur today are reactions to conditioned triggers. You are doing or experiencing something for the first time without chewing. It may be going to a bar, a wedding or going on a plane. It may be seeing a person or being in a place where you always had a chew in the past. It may be something you hear or even an old familiar aroma. The sense of smell is a powerful mechanism for triggering old emotional feelings.

 

So today, if you find yourself desiring a chew, look around you and see why at this particular time and place a chew is on your mind. Once you understand that the desire is being triggered by some reaction to an insignificant event, you can just say "no" to the chew without further problem. All you need to do is understand what triggered the thought. The urge will pass. The next time you encounter a similar situation you will not even think of a chew. You will have learned how to face another experience as an ex-Chewer.

 

Quitting chewing is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-Chewer. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-Chewer is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW.

 

Joel

 

© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2000

 

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Sept. 5th 2007

 

 

Using Attitude to Reduce Anxiety

 

Have you tried quitting before? If so, have you ever stopped to consider that each of your attempts have been different? It’s far more common than you think to see those knowledgeable and skilled regarding nicotine cessation to experience far less challenge than during any prior attempt. Those who learn how to correct the wild blood sugar swings that often accompany cessation, who learn why their daily caffeine intake may need adjusting, and who recognize and appreciate the different phases of emotional loss associated with giving up their chemical, can actually use their intellect to help avoid many of the symptoms they would otherwise have experienced. This article focuses on another important factor, the importance of expectations and attitude.

 

 

Can we make ourselves miserable on purpose? Of course we can. Throughout our lives we've experienced worry, fear, anger and irritability, only to find out later that our worries, fears and anxieties were either totally unnecessary, overblown, or were over little or nothing at all.

 

 

During nicotine withdrawal, after years of actively feeding, self-induced tensions and anxieties can at times seem overwhelming. We can escalate them to the point where we lash out against loved ones and friends, where we want to hit a tree with our bare hand, or where we put our head under a pillow and scream at the top of our lungs. Craves and urges don’t cause relapse. If they did then few of America’s millions of comfortable ex-Chewers would ever have become ex-Chewers. What causes relapse is the layers and layers of anxiety icing that we intentionally cake upon each crave.

 

 

Remember when we were first learning to swim and found ourselves in water over our heads? Did you panic? I did. Would I have panicked if I had been a skilled swimmer? Of course not. Quality cessation programs teach those seeking freedom how to swim and then lead them into deep water. Once there, they may still experience fear but they won’t panic and relapse. Instead, they’ll do their best to remain calm and, as much as possible, enjoy the swim.

 

 

Quitting doesn't have to be nearly as difficult as we’ve likely tried to make it. In fact, it can be one of the most amazing adventures we’ll ever experience. Imagine the healing associated with every living cell in your body as you slowly detoxify your body with each and every day that you abstain from tobacco use. Imagine slowly realizing that you’ve left nothing behind except a chemical, as each day you engage additional aspects of life without wanting for nicotine.

 

 

Sadly, almost half of all current Chewers will not discover how to navigate through their dependency before it costs each an average of roughly 5,000 days of life. Many genuinely believe that time is running out and disaster is about to strike. Sadly, such gut instincts are too often correct and bad news is just around the corner. Others falsely believe that plenty of time remains but after repeated attempts they still remain nicotine's slaves.

 

 

Either way, don’t panic! Instead, invest the time needed to become an excellent quitter. The more knowledgeable and skilled we become, the greater our chances of breaking free. Yes, there may be a few big struggles along the way but that doesn't mean we can't overcome it.

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Sept. 7th, 2007

 

 

The Power of Advertising

________________________________________

 

 

The father sat reflecting on how much joy his two sons brought to him during the year. He decided to buy them both the present of their choice this holiday season. When he asked his older boy what he would like, the son replied, “Oh boy, I would like so many things. Maybe a bicycle, or new skis, or skin diving equipment. I wish I would have them all, but any one would make me happy.”

 

That was fine with the father, he now had some good choices. Next, he turned to his younger son, who was only eight years old. The boy envied his brother for all the games he could play and all of the sports he could do so well. When asked what he would like, he made one simple request. “I would like a box of Tampax Tampons.” The father was shocked, “What in the world do you want a box of tampons for?” he demanded angrily. The poor boy, not knowing he had said something wrong, answered, “With Tampax, you can swim, ski, sky dive, horseback ride and play any sport you want.”

 

This humorous story illustrates a serious point. Advertising promises can influence our desires for material products. The more naive we are, the more effective advertising will be. The claims ads promote are often misleading or exaggerations of the truth. No product abuses the truth more than tobacco.

 

Just as the young boy in our story expected great things from this marvelous unknown product, chewers have great confidence in the emotional benefits brought from sucking on weeds. To tell a chewer the truth about his dip while he still is in the midst of the chewer's psyche results in a state of denial and defiance. He cannot believe his chew, his friends and allies, would in any way hurt him. They help him over trauma, they help him enjoy life to the fullest. Think of all the things he does with his chew. He wakes in the morning to it, works with it, plays with it, eats and drinks, goes to the bathroom, reads the paper, watches television, socializes with all of his friends and even has it on his mind during sex. If any person hung around him that much, it would drive him crazy. But not his friendly dip - it enhances everything. The advertisements even says it does.

 

The advertisements do claim this, but the claim is not true. He does not chew during all of these activities because he chooses to. He has to. Chewers are drug addicts. They cannot enjoy natural pleasures, no matter how good they are, until their serum nicotine level is raised. They are controlled by this product. Chew is not a friend, it is a lousy acquaintance. Once you get rid of it, stay clear. Yes, it may call to you, and the ads may strike out at you. But you know the truth about chew. Don't let any chewer who is feeling inferior, or tobacco company or advertising agency which wishes to maintain its vast wealth at the expense of your life convince you of anything different. Life can be longer as a ex-chewer, and life is better as a ex-chewer. Consider this whenever external or internal forces call out to you.

 

Joel

 

© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2000

Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 24, 2003

 

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Sept. 8th, 2007

 

 

Posted – Dec 29 2006

Snoydosaurus

 

WyBo,

Here's some food for thought. My mother was diagnosed 10 years ago with lung cancer. She had smoked 40 years (2 packs/day) prior to that. The day she got the bad news, she put the cigarettes down for good. No quit groups, no complaining about withdrawals, nothing. She survived smoke-free 5 years then passed away from her nicotene habit.

 

I remember many of her quits. She would quit for a week then cave, usually blaming it on someone else. The neighbors, the grocery store bag boy, teller at the bank, my father, me, her sisters, her father, you name it.

 

When she quit for good 5 years prior to her death, I remember the guilt she had, knowing that she had not only hurt herself, but her family. All she could do was ask our forgiveness for not putting down the cancer sticks earlier. All those excuses for caving or not starting her quit seemed selfish and stupid as she looked back on her life. You tend to do alot of looking back on your life when you know death is near.

 

Personally, I've dipped Skoal since 1983. I'm 51 days into my quit. I know what you are going through. We all have knowledge about our nasty addiction that probably hasn't been shared with the closest of loved ones. But we all know the addiction and what it will make you do. That makes us a family. We're brothers. I know you, and you know me. I have quit before, and the longest was 2 years. "Just one for old time's sake" was my downfall that time.

 

This time I know better. I know I can never smoke, dip, chew nicotene again.... EVER. They say alcoholics are always "recovering". I believe the same is true for nicotene addicts.

 

Good luck in your quit. Drink water, post often here. Never let your mind talk yourself into caving. Your mind will play some serious tricks on you. "If I start dipping, at least that's xx days I was dip free." "Better than nothing", "at least I tried", Etc.

 

Don't tell yourself I can do this, say "I WILL do this". It does get easier, but you can never forget those first days. Even though I'm only 51 days quit, I still find it helpful to come to the new quit groups and experience the suck all over again, second hand. Sometimes I wish I'd kept a journal of the first several weeks as a reference and motivator. If I cave, I'll need to relive those three days all over again on the next quit.

 

Stay strong brothers! You are truly embarking on the beginning of a life changing experience.

 

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Sept. 20th, 2007

 

 

"Minimizing the Most Common

Side Effects to Quitting Chewing"

 

Blood sugar plummets in many people when first quitting. The most common side effects felt during the first three days can often be traced back to blood sugar issues. Symptoms such as headache, inability to concentrate, dizziness, time perception distortions, and the ubiquitous sweet tooth encountered by many, are often associated with this blood sugar drop. The symptoms of low blood sugar are basically the same symptoms as not having enough oxygen, similar to reactions experienced at high altitudes. The reason being the inadequate supply of sugar and/or oxygen means the brain is getting an incomplete fuel. If you have plenty of one and not enough of the other, your brain cannot function at any form of optimal level. When you quit chewing, oxygen levels are often better than they have been in years, but with a limited supply of sugar it can't properly fuel your brain.

 

It is not that chewing tobacco put sugar into your blood stream; it is more of a drug interaction of the stimulant effect of nicotine that affects the blood sugar levels. Chewing tobacco cause the body to release its own stores of sugar and fat by a drug type of interaction. That is how it basically operated as an appetite suppressant, affecting the satiety centers of your hypothalamus. As far as for the sugar levels, nicotine in fact works much more efficiently than food. If you use food to elevate blood sugar levels, it literally takes up to 20 minutes from the time you chew and swallow the food before it is released to the blood, and thus the brain, for its desired effect of fueling your brain. Chewing tobacco, by working through a drug interaction cause the body to release its own stores of sugar, but not in 20 minutes but usually in a matter of seconds. In a sense, your body has not had to release sugar on its own in years, you have done it by using nicotine's drug effect!

 

This is why many people really gorge themselves on food upon cessation. They start to experience a drop in blood sugar and instinctively reach for something sweet. Upon finishing the food, they still feel symptomatic. Of course they do, it takes them a minute or two to eat, but the blood sugar isn't boosted for another 18 minutes. Since they are not feeling immediately better, they eat a little more. They continue to consume more and more food, minute after minute until they finally they start to feel better. Again if they are waiting for the blood sugar to go up we are talking about 20 minutes after the first swallow. People can eat a lot of food in 20 minutes. But they begin to believe that this was the amount needed before feeling better. This can be repeated numerous times throughout the day thus causing a lot of calories being consumed and causing weight gain to become a real risk.

 

When you abruptly quit chewing, the body is in kind of a state of loss, not knowing how to work normally since it has not worked normally in such a long time. Usually by the third day, though, your body will readjust and release sugar as it is needed. Without eating any more your body will just figure out how to regulate blood sugar more efficiently.

 

You may find though that you do have to change dietary patterns to one that is more normal for you. Normal is not what it was as a Chewer, but more what it was before you took up chewing with aging thrown in. Some people go until evening without eating while they are Chewers. If they try the same routine as ex-Chewers they will suffer side effects of low blood sugar. It is not that there is something wrong with them now, they were abnormal before for all practical purposes. This doesn't mean they should eat more food, but it may mean they need to redistribute the food eaten to a more spread out pattern so they are getting blood sugar doses throughout the day as nature really had always intended.

 

To minimize some of the real low blood sugar effects of the first few days it really can help to keep drinking juice throughout the day. After the fourth day though, this should no longer be necessary as your body should be able to release sugar stores if your diet is normalized. If you are having problems that are indicative of blood sugar issues beyond day three, it wouldn't hurt talking to your doctor and maybe getting some nutritional counseling.

 

Joel Spitzer

 

© Joel Spitzer 2001

 

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Sept. 20th, 2007

 

 

Rob here with our daily read from whyquit.com. This one hits home for me. I started chewing at age 12 and chewed for 9 years and then quit for seven years and started up again and ended up chewing for another ten years. When I caved, I remember now that I had started fixating on that chew months before I took it. Before I knew it, I had made that chew sound pretty damn good. I romanticized the thought of how good it would feel, how undeniably satisfying to just take one chew. And I never thought about the fact that if I chewed again, I would again become addicted. I never thought about the fact that it could take ten years and over ten thousand dollars until I muster the courage to quit again. No, I only thought about that one chew. Low and behold, I took that one chew and yes, it took me ten years to quit again. For me, one chew is too many and a hundred is not enough.

 

Do yourself a favor and don’t allow the inner battle to start as to whether it will be easier, or okay, to just take one more chew. You are dealing with the most powerful drug known to man. You can’t win that battle. See it for what it is…it is never just one chew. It is something that will enslave you and ultimately kill you.

 

Rob

Fixating on a Chew

 

What happens to some people is that when they are off chewing for a certain time period they start fixating on a chew. By that I mean they forget all the bad chewing tobacco they ever chewed, they forget the ones they chewed without ever really thinking about them even at the time they were being chewed, and they start to remember and focus on one good chew. It may be one they chewed 20 years earlier but it was a good one and they now want one again.

 

It's a common tactic for the ex-Chewers to try and tell themselves that they do not really want that "good" chew. Well, the problem is, at that moment they really do want it. An internal debate erupts, "I want one, no I don't, one sounds great, no it doesn't, oh just one, not just one!" The problem is that if the ex-Chewer's focus is on just "one" chew then there is no clear-cut winning side to the debate. The ex-Chewer needs to change the internal discussion.

 

Don't say that you don’t want one when you do, rather acknowledge the desire but ask yourself, "Do I want all the other chewing tobacco that goes along with it? Then, do I want the canage deal that goes with the others - the expense, social stigma, smell, health effects, possible loss of life? Do I want to go back to chewing, full-fledged, until it cripples and kills me?"

 

Stated like this it normally is not a back and forth debate. The answer will normally be, "No, I don’t want to chew under these terms," and those are the only terms that a chew comes with.

 

Normally if viewed like this the debate is over almost immediately after being pulled into focus. Again, if the focus is only one, you can drive yourself nuts throughout the entire day. If you focus on the whole canage deal, you will walk away from the moment relieved to still be chew free and sufficiently reinforced.

 

Joel Spitzer

 

© Joel Spitzer 2002

 

Edited by Wyoming4life

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Sept. 20th, 2007

 

 

just another dose of reality as to what we are truly dealing with when we chew tobacco. Enjoy your tobacco free day. One more day of life and freedom.

 

Rob aka Indy

 

My Chew, My Friend

 

How do you feel about a friend who has to go everywhere with you? Not only does he tag along all the time, but since he is so offensive and vulgar, you become unwelcome when with him. He has a peculiar odor that sticks to you wherever you go. Others think both of you stink.

 

He controls you totally. When he says jump, you jump. Sometimes in the middle of a blizzard or storm, he wants you to come to the store and pick him up. You would give your spouse hell if he or she did that to you all the time, but you can't argue with your friend. Sometimes, when you are out with others he says he wants you to leave them so you can be alone. Since he calls all the shots in your life, you go.

 

He gets pretty expensive to support. Not only is his knack of property destruction costly, but you must pay to keep him with you. In fact, he will cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. And you can count on one thing, he will never pay you a penny in return.

 

Often at picnics you watch others playing vigorous activities and having lots of fun doing them. But your friend won't let you. He doesn't believe in physical activity. In his opinion, you are too old to have that kind of fun. He enjoys making your blood pressure ramp up so that physical activity only serves to strain your heart even further, with the eventual goal that you will one day have a heart attack if cancer doesn’t get you sooner.

 

Your friend does not believe in being healthy. He is really repulsed by the thought of you living a long and productive life. So every chance he gets he makes you sick. He helps you catch colds and flu. Not just by running out in the middle of the lousy weather to pick him up at the store. He is more creative than that. He carries thousands of poisons with him so that when you chew some of them your immunity from diseases is lowered.

 

But colds and flu are just his form of child's play. He especially likes diseases that slowly cripple you and eventually your friend tires of you. He decides he no longer wishes to have your company. Instead of letting you go your separate ways, he decides to kill you. He has a wonderful arsenal of weapons behind him. In fact, he has been plotting your death since the day you met him. He picked all the top killers in society and did everything in his power to ensure you would get one of them. He overworked your heart, throat and tongue. He clogged up the arteries to your heart, brain, and every other part of your body. In case you were too strong to succumb to this, he constantly exposed you to cancer causing agents. He knew he would get you sooner or later.

 

Well, this is the story of your "friend," your chew. No real friend would do all this to you. Chewing tobacco is the worst possible enemy you ever had. It is expensive, addictive, socially unacceptable, and deadly. Consider all this and - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER CHEW!

 

Joel Spitzer, revised for chew

 

© Joel Spitzer 1984, 2000

 

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Sept. 24th, 2007

 

 

Recognize that by not chewing today you are giving yourself back your life and your freedom – BE A NIC WHORE, NO MORE!!

 

Rob aka Indy

 

11. Forget about quitting “forever.” It is the biggest psychological bite imaginable. Instead, work at adopting a manageable “one day at a time” standard for measuring victory.

 

12. Nicotine dependency recovery is a temporary journey of re-adjustment. It transports you home to the richest sense of mental quiet and calm that you’ve known since nicotine assumed control over the flow of more than 200 of your body’s neurochemicals.

 

 

13. Nicotine’s half-life within your blood serum is roughly two hours. If quitting cold, 100% of nicotine and 90% of its metabolites will be out of your system within 72 hours. It’s then that neuronal re-sensitization (to acetylcholine) can begin in full.

 

14. According to June 2000 U.S. Dept. of Health Guideline, the six-month odds of quitting “on-your-own” are roughly 10%. Education, behavioral training and ongoing support can more than double those odds. It’s important to note that 90% of successful quitters quit cold turkey.

 

 

15. You may want to talk to your physician about Zyban or Wellbutrin (both bupropion). In clinical studies it performed roughly 15 percentage points above placebos at six months. Although its use comes with some risks, they pale in comparison to chewing’s risks.

 

16. A March 2003 study (Hughes) combined and averaged the seven over-the-counter nicotine patch and gum studies. It found that only 7% were still not chewing at six months. Imagine a product with a 93% failure rate. But it gets worse.

 

 

17. Have you already tried quitting with NRT once? If so, it’s important to note that only two studies have focused on repeat or second-time nicotine patch users. A 1993 study (Tonnesen) found that 0% of repeat patch users succeeded in quitting for 6 months and a 1995 study (Gourlay) found that just 1.6% quit. Unlike repeat abrupt nicotine cessation, the odds of success during subsequent NRT attempts generally decline.

 

18. A 1998 Cochrane Review of nine different hypnosis quit chewing studies concluded that “we have not shown that hypnotherapy has a greater effect on six month quit rates than other interventions or no treatment.”

 

 

19. A 2002 Cochrane Review of 22 different acupuncture studies concluded that “there is no clear evidence that acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy or electrostimulation are effective for chewing cessation.”

 

20. Once in battle, your mind may quickly forget many of the reasons that motivated you to quit chewing. Write yourself a loving reminder letter, carry it with you, and read it often.

 

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Sept. 24th, 2007

 

 

This week I will be posting some great Recovery Tips from Whyquit.com. Over 50 in total so look for them each morning and use them to help you through your day. Good luck and remember – BE A NIC-WHORE NO MORE!!

 

Rob aka Indy

 

Recovery Tips Summary

 

 

1. Canada’s addiction warning label reads: “Warning: chewing tobacco is highly addictive. Studies have shown that tobacco can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine.” There is no U.S. addiction-warning label. Respect nicotine’s amazing power and treat nicotine dependency as the true chemical dependency it is.

 

2. The law of addition states “administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance at the old level of use or greater.” Just one powerful chew of nicotine and you’ll have to endure nicotine detox all over again. We’re not that strong. Adherence to one rule guarantees success to all. Just one day at a time Never Take Another Chew!

 

 

3. Nicotine physically alters and desensitizes the human mind. It causes eleven different brain regions to grow millions of extra acetylcholine receptors. Successful quitting is allowing time for re-sensitization, time for reconditioning subconscious nicotine feeding cues, and time to move beyond years of conscious chewing rationalizations.

 

4. Nicotine dependency is every bit as real and permanent as alcoholism. Don’t play games with yourself. There is no such thing as just one chew. It’s an all or nothing proposition.

 

 

5. Quitting chewing is not impossible. In fact, we have more ex-Chewers in the U.S. than current Chewers. Knowledge truly is power. Isn’t it time to turn on the lights?

 

6. While 90% of successful quitters quit entirely on their own, the odds of any particular uneducated and unsupported on-your-own attempt succeeding for one full year are roughly 5%. Anyone is fully capable of quitting if they make a 100% commitment to succeed.

 

 

7. Nicotine is an extremely addictive chemical with an I.Q. of zero. Although you’ll never be stronger than nicotine you don’t need to be. Your greatest weapon is, and always was, your vastly superior intelligence but only if put to work.

 

8. Only in a drug addict’s mind would the chemical depriving them of freedom and destroying their body be considered a friend, pal or companion. Chewing tobacco is not your friend. Imagine the sickness afflicting a mind that is willing to trade 5,000 sunrises for 1 chemical because the average long-term chewer will lose 15 years of their life.

 

 

9. Fear of success is the biggest obstacle to getting started. Your dependency-conditioned mind is likely terrified that life without chewing won’t be worth living. Within just two weeks you’ll begin to develop a true sense of both the gradually emerging beauty that is “you” and that life without nicotine is entirely doable.

 

10. Making an uneducated quitting attempt is like trying to land a plane without putting the wheels down. Use this site and WhyQuit.com to help you through your recovery. You don’t have to fight this alone. Listen to the people who have quit for over 100 days and do what they recommend. If you do, success is virtually guaranteed.

 

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Sept. 28th, 2007

 

 

Understanding the Emotional Loss

Experienced When Quitting Chewing

________________________________________

 

In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified five distinct phases which a dying person encounters. These stages are "denial," "anger," "bargaining," "depression," and finally, "acceptance." These are the exact same stages that are felt by those mourning the loss of a loved one as well.

 

Denial can be recognized as the state of disbelief: "This isn't really happening to me," or "The doctor doesn't know what he is talking about." The same feelings are often expressed by family members and friends.

 

Once denial ceases and the realization of impending death is acknowledged anger develops. "Why me?" or "Why them?" in the case of the significant others. Anger may be felt toward the doctors, toward God, toward family and friends. Anger, though, doesn't change the person's fate. They are still in the process of dying. So next comes bargaining.

 

In bargaining, the person may become religious, trying to repent for all the sins that may be bringing about their early demise. "If you let me live, I will be a better person, I will help mankind. Please let me live, and I will make it worth your while." This stage, too, will come to an end.

 

Now the patient, becoming aware he is helpless to prevent his impending fate, enters depression. The patient begins to isolate himself from his surroundings. He relinquishes his responsibilities and begins a period of self mourning. He becomes preoccupied with the fact that his life is coming to an end. Symptoms of depression are obvious to anyone having contact with the patient in this stage. When the patient finally overcomes this depression he will enter the last stage, acceptance.

 

The patient now reaches what can be seen as an emotionally neutral stage. He almost seems devoid of feelings. Instead of death being viewed as a terrifying or horrible experience, he now peacefully accepts his fate.

 

As stated above, these stages are not only seen in the dying person but likewise in the family members mourning the loss of a loved one. However, on careful observation we can see these same stages in people who lose anything. It doesn't have to be the loss of a loved one. It could be the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, and even the loss of an inanimate object.

 

What does all this have to do with why people don't quit chewing? People who attempt to give up chewing go through these five stages. They must successfully overcome each specific phase to deal with the next. Some people have particular difficulty conquering a specific phase, causing them to relapse back to chewing. Let's analyze these specific phases as encountered by the abstaining chewer.

 

A question asked to a group during a nicotine clinic was, "How many of you feel that you will never take nicotine again?" It was remarkable for even one or two people to raise their hands. For the most part the entire group is in a state of denial - they will not quit chewing/chewing. Other prevalent manifestations of denial are: "I don't want to quit chewing," or "I am perfectly healthy while chewing, so why should I stop," or "I am different, I can control my chewing at one or two a day." These people, through their denial, set up obstacles to even attempt quitting and hence have very little chance of success.

 

Those who successfully overcome denial progress to anger. We hear so many stories of how difficult it is to live with a recovering chewer. Your friends avoid you, your employer sends you home, sometimes permanently, and you are generally no fun to be with. Most chewers do successfully beat this stage.

 

Bargaining is probably the most dangerous stage in the effort to stop chewing. "Oh boy, I could sneak this one and nobody will ever know it." "Things are really tough today, I will just have one to help me over this problem, no more after that." "Maybe I'll just chew today, and quit again tomorrow." It may be months before these people even attempt to quit again.

Depression usually follows once you successfully overcome bargaining without taking that first chew. For the first time you start to believe you may actually quit chewing. But instead of being overjoyed, you start to feel like you are giving up your best friend. You remember the good times with chew and disregard the detrimental effects of this dangerous and dirty addiction. At this point more than ever "one day at a time" becomes a life saver. Because tomorrow may bring acceptance.

 

Once you reach the stage of acceptance, you get a true perspective of what chewing was doing to you and what not chewing can do for you. Within two weeks the addiction is broken and, hopefully, the stages are successfully overcome and, finally, life goes on.

 

Life becomes much simpler, happier and more manageable as an ex-chewer. Your self esteem is greatly boosted. Your physical state is much better than it would ever have been if you continued to chew. It is a marvelous state of freedom. Anyone can break the addiction and beat the stages. Then all you must do to maintain this freedom is simply remember to never chew again!

 

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Sept. 27th, 2007

 

 

Hello there fellow ex-niccers. Ten more reasons to add to our list for quitting and or giving us recovery advice. If followed, you just may get through the next 24 hours without a chew. Imagine that?

 

Rob

 

41. Unlike with less than 3 minute subconscious crave episodes, we can consciously fixate on any thought of wanting to chew. Don’t try to run or hide but instead place the thought under honest light. Flavor? Any tastebud cravings? Just one chew? Not for an addict there isn’t.

 

42. Consider yourself a "nic-o-holic." Don't debate with yourself about wanting “a” chew. Instead, ask yourself how you’d feel about going back to your old level of consumption.

 

 

43. Save the money you usually spend on chewing tobacco and buy yourself something you really want after a week or a month. Save for a year and treat yourself to a vacation.

 

44. Practice slow deep breathing when experiencing a crave episode. Try briefly clearing your mind of all needless chatter by focusing on your favorite person, place or thing.

 

 

45. Quickly climb from that deep Chewer’s rut by visiting places where you couldn’t chew, albeit they may be limited, but by engaging in activities lasting longer than an hour we push our normal limits of physical endurance.

 

46. Tell people around you that you have quit chewing. Fully commit to your recovery while taking pride in each and every hour and day of freedom and healing.

 

 

47. Avoid crutches. A crutch is any form of quitting reliance that you lean upon so heavily in supporting your quit (yes, a noun) that if quickly removed would likely result in relapse. SMC could apply here if it simply replacing the daily habit. Remember, everything in moderation.

 

48. Do not lean heavily upon a quitting buddy who quits at the same time as you, as their odds of successfully quitting for one year are extremely small. Instead ask an ex-Chewer for support and use this web site to help fuel your recovery.

 

49. Are you having trouble getting started or is your motivation in need of a boost? Read articles on this site, visit the HOF section, write up a contract to quit. Knowledge is power and this addiction can be arrested, one hour, challenge and one day at a time. Most important, you don’t have to do it alone and remember, if you do try to combat this alone, your chances of abstaining from tobacco use for longer than six months is less than 7%. Certainly not the best odds.

 

50. Be prepared for an extremely vivid chewing dream and potentially several cave dreams. These are normal experiences as your subconscious works this out in your sleep. See it as the wonderful sign of healing. It reflects and nothing more.

 

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Sept. 27th, 2007

 

 

Hello all. More good stuff from whyquit.com. Although there are hundreds of reasons for each of us to not take nicotine today, in case you are needing some, here are ten more. If you are new or early on in your quit, keep these things in mind. If you have a few 24 hours under your belt, keep these in mind for the new quitters who are joining this web site every day and need encouragement. Have a great nic-free day!

 

Rob

 

31. In contrast to conscious thought fixation (the “nice juicy steak” type thinking), no subconsciously triggered crave episode will last longer than three minutes.

 

32. Nicotine cessation causes serious time distortion. Although no crave episode is longer than three minutes, the minutes can feel like hours. Keep a clock handy to maintain honest perspective.

 

 

33. The average number of crave episodes (each less than three minutes) experienced by the average quitter on their most challenging day of recovery is six episodes on day three.

 

34. The average quitter experiences just 1.4 crave episodes per day by day ten. If a later crave episode ever feels more intense it’s likely that it has been some time since your last challenge and you’ve dropped your guard a bit. See it as a wonderful sign of healing.

 

 

35. Recognize the fact that everything you did as a Chewer you will learn to again comfortably do as an ex-Chewer. You need not give up anything except nicotine.

 

36. Be extremely careful with alcohol use during the first two weeks. Using an inhibition diminishing substance while engaged in early physical nicotine withdrawal is a recipe for relapse.

 

 

37. Engage is some moderate form of regular exercise if at all concerned about weight gain.

 

 

38. Don’t expect family or friends who have never been chemically dependent themselves to have any appreciation of your challenges or the time required to achieve full comfort.

 

 

39. Recognize that chewing nicotine did not relieve stress but only its own absence. Nicotine is an alkaloid. Stress is an acid-producing event capable of quickly neutralizing the body’s nicotine reserves. As Chewers we added withdrawal symptoms at every stressful event. You will soon discover an amazing sense of calm during crisis.

 

40. Recognize that chewing nicotine cannot solve any crisis. There is absolutely no legitimate excuse for relapse, including the eventual inevitable death of those we love.

 

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Sept. 27th, 2007

 

 

Good morning. Daily read from whyquit.com – 10 more items to help in your daily recovery…

 

Rob

 

21. As with achievement in almost all human endeavors, the wind beneath our recovery wings is not strength or willpower but dreams and desires. Keep them vibrant and on center-stage and no circumstance will deprive you of glory.

 

22. Each chew of nicotine was your spoon. It allowed you to skip meals without experiencing blood-sugar swing symptoms such as an inability to concentrate. Don’t skip meals.

 

 

23. You’d need to gain 75 extra pounds to equal the health risks of chewing one can a day. Eat vegetables and fruits instead of candies, chips and pastries to help avoid weight gain.

 

24. You cannot quit for others. It must be your gift to you. Quitting for a significant other comes with a natural sense of deprivation that will ultimately result in relapse.

 

 

25. A positive can-do attitude is important. We are what we think. Take pride in each hour of healing and freedom, and each challenge overcome. The next few minutes are all that matter and each is entirely do-able. Yes you can!

 

26. Years of chewing nicotine conditioned each of us to be impatient. Think about it. Within just 8 seconds a deprived nicotine addict could take a chew of nicotine and have it arrive and release dopamine within the brain. Realize the importance of patience to successful recovery. Baby steps, just one hour, challenge and day at a time and then celebrate the new found patience you demonstrated.

 

 

27. Get rid of all chewing tobacco. Keeping a stash of chewing tobacco makes as much sense as someone on suicide watch keeping a loaded gun handy just to prove they can. Fully commit.

 

28. If quitting cold turkey, drink plenty of acidic fruit juice the first three days. It will aid in removing the alkaloid nicotine from your body and help stabilize blood sugars.

 

 

29. Nicotine doubles the rate by which the body depletes caffeine. Your blood caffeine level will rise by 203% if no intake reduction is made. Although not a problem for most, attempt reducing intake by roughly half if troubled by anxieties or difficulty sleeping.

 

30. You conditioned your mind to expect nicotine when encountering certain locations, times, events, people or emotions. Be prepared for each to trigger a brief crave episode. Encountering a trigger cannot trigger relapse unless you take a chew. Take heart, most triggers are reconditioned by a single encounter during which the subconscious mind fails to receive the expected result – nicotine.

 

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