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D Bob

The quit life

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My journey began at the age of 14. Hanging out with some friends at the mall we decided to buy a can of Kodiak. We were bored and looking for something fun to do. I can remember it like it was yesterday. We all loaded a big dip in our mouth and started walking around like we were "big shits". It didn't take long before we all got the "buzz"....then the nausea....then, the famous last words of "I'll never do that again". Funny thing is ......we threw the can away. Neither of us touched the stuff for several years.....But 3 years later, we were all hooked. Nicotine addicts.

 

My addiction started while I worked on a golf course. I decided to give the stuff one more try......"Hey, not so bad this time". Actually, this stuff is pretty good. Back then we would be at work by 6 and take a "breakfast break" at 8. Right after we ate we all loaded up and talked for a few minutes before we hit the course to work (grounds crew). I was 17 at the time and most of the guys were 18 to 21. It was my first job and probably one of my most memorable summers. I also remember (like most of us) thinking "I will quit at the end of the summer". Then came the first day of my senior year in high school......I had a can in my car and dip in my lip as I pulled into the parking lot on the first day......my first time realizing this wasn't just a summer fun thing!

 

My addiction evolved over the years. I smoked for a period of time but dipping was always my mainstay. I can honestly say I loved dipping. I don't think it ever did as much for me as I thought it did but during my 20's and 30's I felt like it was one of my best friends. It was always there when I needed it.....and of course I always needed it. As I grew older I had to become more clever in hiding my vice. Fortunately my wife was never one to nag about it but I knew she wished I would quit. My kids....well, as they grew older the more I realized just how foolish I was in trying to keep this habit alive. I would go to any length to make sure I had nicotine in my system. I would make sure I always had 2 things readily available......Kodiak and nicotine gum. If I couldn't dip then the gum would do until I could find "private time" to dip. Easily 95% of my dipping was done in private.....doors closed and locked. Needless to say I spent a fair amount of time alone. Because I used nicotine gum I was able to be around plenty for my kids and wife......but I had webbed my life to allow for plenty of time for me and my "best friend".

 

Fast forward to Nov. 2014. For years I had chewed the same brand of nicotine gum, Equate fruit chill. For some reason the month before they changed the flavor......New and more refreshing the box said. Well, for me it changed my life. I started getting sores on my tongue and a horrible bitter taste in my mouth. Food tasted horrible and my bowels....well it was just a mess. I thought the end had come. I most certainly was going to be diagnosed with esophageal or pancreatic cancer. I knew the sores were not cancer.......but they were definitely telling a story about a mouth that had had enough.

 

I spent the rest of November and part of December trying to figure out how I was going to continue my "dipping lifestyle". I tried different gums but still had all the same symptoms. Even my Kodiak was not tasting "normal". I was in complete despair. How could I continue on without nicotine. I finally ended up seeing a counselor.......What was happening to me? I was losing my mind and I couldn't tell anyone why I was losing it. I had never been to anyone before.....but as soon as I started talking I just broke down and cried........all over a drug......just fucking pathetic. I don't know how else to say it but I guess that was my rock bottom. Dec. 18th 2014.

 

Fortunately the counselor was awesome. She was a former smoker and understood the addiction part of my problem. We talked a couple times a week for several weeks before I finally realized I had to quit. It wasn't a matter of figuring out how to keep dipping....it was figuring out how to stop. I finally told people that were close to me that I was a nicotine addict. My brother and sister, my parents, my office staff. They were all shocked but very supportive. Even though most had never used tobacco I think they all realized just how hard this was for me.

 

I finally set a quit date of feb. 4th ( I eventually moved it up to Feb. 1) and started trying to find every bit of information I could on nicotine cessation. Then just like anyone reading this speech I came across this magical site called QSSN. It was Jan 21st. 2015. I was looking at different HOF speeches and all of a sudden I saw someone was in the chat room. This particular person was like a angel to me......he asked if I was new.....if I had quit already, etc. We talked for a bit and then we sent messages back and forth with the pm. Well, that was the first of many days I would spend on this website.

 

I am currently on day 107. Before this quit I never made it past day 5. I only had about 5 serious attempts before this one but I could never get past the fog before returning to the bitch. So what was different about this quit? It's no big secret.......it's this site....PERIOD! After I found this site I no longer needed a counselor.....I had the guys right here....everyday. I had instant access to thousands of success stories.....and failures. I read and read.......and still read. I've made some good friends along the way. I've managed to piss a few people off as well. Either way, this site has been my life for the last 4 months. I'm not on it as much as I was in the first few weeks but I still log on for several hours each week. I don't know when the time will come that I don't "need" the site but I don't really care. It has become a daily ritual to log on and post. I am amazed at how the days have added up.......as I'm sure most guys are. I am thankful for the guys that came before me to show me the way....and thankful for the ones that come behind me to remind me where I came from. It's a family of badass quitters old and new!

 

The one thing I would say to anyone looking to quit is ask yourself one question. Are you quitting for yourself? It's a much harder question to answer than you think. At first I wasn't sure. But as my quit has grown I know this is for me.....it benefits my loved ones but when it comes down to owning this quit it is all mine. I may have had to quit for health concerns but I stay quit because I tasted freedom from nicotine. I never really understood how controlled we are by nicotine until I was able to say no. Now I have a choice.....and I make that choice one day at a time (ODAAT). Today I quit.....no more, no less. And that's how we do it.

 

I want to say thanks to some of the guys that have helped me along the way. First my fellow Mayslayers....everyday I still look to see that we are all quit. Next, my angel....Fish. You'll never know how much those first few texts meant to me. It really inspired me to make my quit happen. Steve50 and Tiger......my mainstays. I appreciate all of the text and encouragement! Tmva.....good to have a fellow Virginian to chat with every once in awhile. A couple others that I never really talked with much but definitely enjoyed your post and support.....Mongrel, cogline, tophook, tr1960,......there were definitely others but these always seemed to show up daily.

 

Quitting has become my new lifestyle....my new norm. To this day I'm still amazed that I DID IT. If you want to quit you can.......I never thought I would be able to quit....but here I am......107 days......one day at a time!

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