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Munson

Howdy from Texas

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Howdy all, my name is Chris and im addicted to nicotine. But luckily I have a few other addictions in my life that have finally led me to quit. I was a can a day dipper for 16 years and finally, for the second time, decided to quit, This time is my last time TRYING, but my first time DOING.

I guess it all started for me back in college smoking cigarettes as a joke. I was always very healthy and very athletic and abhorred nut on nicotine after I saw the grip that it had on my Grandparents. We started smoking Kool menthols as a joke when some of the other people living in our area would come walking by smoking Kools on their way to go pick up their tall boys and 40's for the day. Pretty soon that "joke" turned into taking it to the bar when we go on Friday night for a few beers, and Saturday's to watch the bands play. Before we knew it, we were all smoking all the time. That was my senior year in College at Texas A&M.

I graduated college and went straight to Officer Candidate School for the Navy to learn to fly planes off aircraft carriers. We were not allowed to use nicotine products while in OCS, but on weekends we would sneak away and light up or some of the guys would throw a fattie in. We finished up from OCS and my roomate was a can a day dipper. This was about the same time I started noticing how smoking was effecting my running and athleticism. I started supplementing my smoking with cherry skoal, it was the only smokeless I could stomach at the time. A few months roll by doing this I decided to do the "healthy" thing and give up cigarettes all together in favor of skoal. This turned out to be great for me. See, smoking really had been demeaned "uncool" and "foolish" for Navy and Marine Corps officers, but dipping...hey this is a mans world!

And thus began my 16 year love affair with smokeless tobacco. I even managed to turn my brother and a few college buds away from that unhealthy addiction of smoking to the wonderful world of dipping. Eventually cherry skoal became embarrassing, and I joined to ranks of Copenhagen Long Cut, followed soon thereafter by the real mans choice of Copenhagen short cut. I left the ranks of active duty after 11 years and joined the reserves and became a pilot for Continental Airlines in Jan 2006. A year later in 2007, I decided it was time to quit. Money had become very tight ( gone are the glory days of high paid pilots) and I had a 3 year old son and and 1.5 year old son. I married my high school sweet heart in Dec 2003 and we very quickly had our two sons. I also had a long lasting deep relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I knew this road led to nowhere but death and destruction. My wife knew that I had dipped in my previous life, but I had become good at hiding and lying. It was effecting my relationship with my wife. Not only the lying part, but we grew apart physically. I was afraid to get close to my wife cause she would discover I had a big fattie in my lip and I'd get a lecture for an hour. So I chose Copenhagen over the arms of my beautiful bride. I also have been passionate about teaching men to be men and fathers to their children and husbands to their wives. And here I am living this lie. It was a sad existence. So I finally fessed up in 2007 and with the help of my Navy flight doc, I got the patches and started down the road to quitting. The hardest part to me was breaking the pattern. I had never flown a plane without a dip in my lip. It didnt matter if I was pulling 7 g's over a war zone or taking a plane full of families to Orlando to see Mickey...I ALWAYS had a dip in while I was flying. I ALWAYS had a dip in when I got in my truck to drive to...wherever! I struggled hard to break those patterns for about 2 months. I finally had it down and was feeling good. Then one day I got on the aircraft for a trip back to Houston and the Captain turned to me and said, "hey want some copenhagen?" I was totally unprepared for that and had my guard down and said no, but quickly followed up with oh what the heck, I got this problem licked, 1 aint gonna kill me. Well that day on the way back home I stopped off at Wal-mart to get gas and can of Cope. And thus began the problem all over again. It was slow at first, but pretty soon life was back to normal.

The problem was I was REALLY hiding it know because I had told everyone that I had quit. In 2009 I got sick and tired of looking at my slowly growing gut and decided to do something about it. Back in Feb 2002 I had a really bad skiing accident that almost ended my flying career. It left me with very limited mobility in my left shoulder and very weak in that shoulder also. Prior to this, I was in the gym 3-4 days a week and running on the off days. I was into rock climbing, mountain biking...I was very healthy (minus the deathly addiction to dipping). The accident left me devastated since I could no longer get a good workout in the gym. Ok, back to 2009...I was sick of seeing my growing gut ever since I left active duty and decided to do something about it. I started on the P90X program after seeing amazing results of some of my buddies who were doing it. Many of them were fellow dippers that gave it up when they started the program. Well I started the program but kept the dip. I was very pleased with the progress that I was making, the shoulder even felt great and I was getting the mobility back slowly and the strength also. I finished the program and took a month off, then started again. It was about halfway through this 2nd time that I noticed some slight pain in my left shoulder. So I took about a week off from lifting and tried getting back into it but with the same pain creeping back in about halfway through a workout. After just enduring it for about a month, my wife convinced me to go to the doc and have it looked at. We tried everything from physical therapy to cortisone shots...nothing worked. The only alternative was surgery again.

As I said I had been living a lie since 2007. Everyone thought I was a recovering former user. I had been back to my can a day addiction for for almost 4 years since my brief 2 month "lapse". During this time, I was convicted everyday that I was a hypocrite. I was living a lie. I had grown apart from my wife. I would be talking to a group of men about standing up and being a man to your wife and children, all while having a "fat lie" tucked away in my lip. How can I call myself a man while I sit here and read a bedtime story to my children while sucking away at something that will eventually kill me and leave my children fatherless! What an a-hole I was! I was choosing momentary pleasure over long time satisfaction...the VERY thing I talk to other people about not doing. So I decided to quit.

I ended up having to do surgery again, and as I type this its 0330 in the morning and I'm writing this one handed in a sling. I decided now would be the best time to quit. The surgery was on Oct 11th, 2011. The first week after surgery I spent in a highly medicated state of Oxycontin. I spent 80% of the day sleeping and numb to the nicotine effects. Unable to drive myself to the store was also a good motivator. I got off the super heavy medication on the 15th and was taking Vicadine. Now I was clear enough to see and very quickly felt the need for my fix. Prior to the surgery I had gone through and cleaned out all my stashes and all my old cans sitting around. Well I found an old half used can on the 16th and in a moment of weakness through a little "pinch of courage" in. I dont know if it was old or cause of the medication but I very quickly broke into cold sweats and got nauseous. So I guess the 16th is my official date? I dont know.

Is taking the medication cheating? Sure it is, but I'll take every advantage I can get to kick this stuff. The hardest part to me so far has been the inability to exercise. From everything that I have read on here so far, thats a big part to kicking the habbit. It was a huge part of my life prior to this, and now I'm just sitting around getting fat from lack of exercise and the extra calories that the "comfort" food is putting on.

Thanks for letting me vent guys, sorry it took so long. But it did feel good getting out. I am Chris, FORMER smokeless tobacco addicted user.

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From a fellow Texan - welcome Chris and thanks for sharing! You are certainly not alone in all that you have done and felt about this insidious habit we find so hard to kick. For the last 28 years it has had its hold on me. You have made a difficult but necessary choice to quit. To me that's the hardest part, just going 1 day without it. You've done that and now there is no going back.

 

Head on over our quit group in the pre-hall of famer thread and post roll in January 2012. Posting roll every day will help you be accountable to the group and the group be accountable to you. Trust me, it truly does make a huge difference going through this with other folks who are experiencing the same thing rather than go at it alone. Feel free to PM me if you want to exchange numbers so you have someone to reach out to if it gets really tough and you need immediate response.

 

Let's do this thing.

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