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rwm3892

Kicking Back

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Kicking Back

Flashback to February 2010:

Went out for a late dinner with my wife. Woke up in the middle of the night because I had to relieve my bladder. Did so quickly because I wanted to get back to sleep before my mind kicked in. After doing so, while walking from the bathroom back to bed, I started to feel dizzy and saw darkness closing around me. Next thing I knew I was on the floor, coming to, while my wife was next to me, yelling my name. My wife said she was calling an ambulance. I told her she didn’t have to do that. I said I was OK, that it was just a freak accident from getting out of bed so fast and trying to force myself to take a leak quickly. She insisted on calling an ambulance and I kept insisting no. We compromised by me promising that I would make an appointment with the doctor come Monday morning.

At the doctor’s appointment, while getting checked out, I’m explaining what happened when I passed out. The doctor removes the stethoscope from his ears and asks “Do you smoke?” I said “No” with a little self-righteous pride. The doctor then asks “Do you chew tobacco?” I thought it odd that he pinned down that question so fast. I hemmed and hawed, forcing myself to utter a barely audible “Yes.” The doctor asks “How long have you been chewing tobacco?” I glance at my wife before looking back at the doctor before answering. “Thirty years,” I whisper. I hear my wife gasp with surprise. It was like admitting to an affair that went on behind her back for that long. The doctor then starts to go on in great detail how chewing tobacco is detrimental to the vascular system and how I have an increased likelihood to have a heart attack or stroke, and that it probably had ‘something’ to do with me hitting the deck. The doctor then asks if I want to quit. I look at my wife again. She doesn’t even look back. I say “Yeah…one of these days.” The doctor discusses quitting options, wants to know if I would like to try any of the prescription methods that he runs through. I tell the doctor I would rather quit by going cold turkey. He asked me how I plan on doing that and I said I would commit to looking in to it. The doctor set up an appointment for a month later, when we could see how things have improved after I had quit.

I never followed up on that appointment. I blew off my doctor.

 

Flashback to April 2010:

After a couple of months of my wife pestering me every other day, I flushed my can. "I have to do this," I thought. After one day I was crawling out of my skin. I was seconds away from leaving work and driving to the nearest C-Store and basking in the glory of a fresh dip after a long crave when I typed ‘quit dip’ into the google search box.

I remember reading Bluesman’s ‘Secret of Our Success,’ and dozens of other Hall of Fame speeches. I could relate to every word. Everything written resonated deeply with where I was in life, and with my tobacco addiction. I wanted to have that freedom and ‘success’ that all those HOF writers were describing. I had tried many times and could not make it stick. I knew this addiction was ruining my health. I knew my relationships with loved ones had deteriorated. I knew my professional life stagnated. I knew my social life suffered. I was addicted to smokeless tobacco and I felt deep shame in that. I did not want anyone to know I dipped and went to great lengths to keep it secret.  I also set up my life to ensure I had continual unfettered access to my dirty secret and was not going to let anything interfere. I was astonished to find that nearly all the quitters here felt the same. In the outside world, everyone treated me like I was some sort of weak freak for not giving up such a filthy habit years before, let alone how I could even start such a disgusting habit in the first place. Reading those HOF speeches on that day in April 2010 gave me a spark of hope that someone could understand how much I loved the stuff, how shameful it was for me, and how hard it was to quit. There was, however, proof here that I could quit.

I posted roll call and did so religiously for about 200 days. However, around day 300, I gladly decided to march into the store to buy a can, and then stuff my lip. I continued to do so for another six years. I just buried my head in six feet of denial and ignored everything.  Screw everyone and everything, I thought.

In retrospect, there were warning signs that I wouldn’t make it that go-around:

1)  I was not 100% quitting for myself. I mean, I was…and I wasn’t. I wanted good health. I wanted to improve the quality of my relationships. I wanted freedom from anxiety. I wanted people to pat me on the back. I wanted recognition. I wanted to have the success that comes with quitting—the things everybody else talked about—increased fitness, better health, better relationships, more time for interesting hobbies, and more energy to focus on professional endeavors. When those things did not happen fast enough—or not at all. I figured “What’s the use?” It is clear now that I put conditions on my quit. The conditions became more important than the quit. When the conditions weren’t met, I considered my quit a failure. I set myself up.

2) I wanted the symptoms of quitting to go away on MY timeline. The big thing here is the fog. After six months of being quit, I thought the fog was a permanent thing. I could not focus. I could no longer think a coherent thought. I could no longer write anything longer than a badly written sentence. Depression was another significant symptom that crept into my life for the first time after I quit. I thought the depression was a result of quitting and that it was permanent. I concluded that I would rather be dipping than be depressed. Some medications have benefits that outweigh the drawbacks.  I diagnosed myself and wrote my own prescription. Small wonder I chose smokeless tobacco to fill the bill.

3) My activity on this site started to dwindle after about day 200 and became just about non-existent soon thereafter. I quit posting roll call. I quit reaching out, or whenever anyone reached out to me, I ignored them. I wanted to be done with the inconveniences of being accountable. I wanted to be done with the inconveniences of quitting, and I did not want anyone else in my business. I had better things to do.

4) Quitting stopped being my #1 priority, if it ever was. It was more like I was trying to fake it before I made it. Faking it began to feel too untrue. It is easy to go astray, but when you are in the middle of it, you do not even notice---everything seems normal until you turn around in circles, lost, alone, and bewildered, asking yourself “Where the hell am I and how did I get HERE?”  This website answers those questions, and offers a path out. The path you choose is up to you.

Dip wasn’t going to ever make anything better or solve any of my problems. I erroneously believed dip did for me what I would not or could not do for myself. No wonder I became so attached to it. After an additional six years of dip addiction, I came to realize that smokeless tobacco would never work its magic again. It was an erroneous premise to begin with. Quitting doesn't magically solve all my problems either. Just one of them. The rest is up to me.

 

Fast Forward: March 8, 2017 – Today

One year Quit.

Here’s how I’ve done it:

Don’t dip, no matter what.

Post roll call every day. Give my word I will not dip today.

Reach out personally to other quitters.

Offer support to other quit groups.

Ask for help.

Don’t dip, no matter what.

Repeat.

Another important thing I’ve done is this: I have established a separate realm for my quit, beyond my personal life; whereby personal issues have no say in the quit matter. I am first and foremost quit today. Everything else is gravy.

When I first arrived here, it was my hope to one day offer one hell of an inspirational story---to say I’ve done a triathlon, lost all the weight I need to take off, built my own company, traveled the world, climbed Mt. Everest, wrote the next great American novel, etc., all because I don’t dip anymore. Because I’ve done none of the above, I considered myself unworthy to say anything on the subject of successful quitting. Nonetheless, I have survived a tough run, and I’ve done so without dip for the past year. As I alluded to above, success doesn’t always revolve around my timeline. Also, I must re-consider my erroneous-egocentric-addict’s mind. Success comes in many different shapes and forms. 100 days... 365 days quit are major accomplishments in and by themselves. I’ll take it. I deserve to be here for those reasons alone. 

I would like to thank those who have supported me and listened to me whine and complain at times. I would also like to thank those who have left their words of wisdom and trials and tribulations in this space. All I can do is pay your service forward the best I can. Thirdly, I would also like to thank our patron and donors for giving us a place to do what was once impossible. And lastly: thank you, new quitters, for reminding me that dip is still out there kicking ass. Today I’m kicking back. 

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Good Man!  I'm pretty much the same asshole I've always been....just not chewing.  10 years+  I now have other people to torment instead of you guys trying to quit.  I wish you well.

 

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