365 Days of Freedom

I met nicotine for the first time about 34 years ago, back on a little league field in a small rural town in upstate NY. Baseball and chewing tobacco, they went together like America and apple pie. At 10 , I really didn’t think about the consequences of chewing. Many of my favorite baseball stars dipped, and I wanted to be just like them. Little did I know how much that cancer weed was going to take from me.

I continued to chew all through high school and into college. Circle in my pocket and bulged lower lip, dorm room and cars filled with spitters, those were the evidence of my stupidity. At some point I got tired of the grossed out looks, the spilled spitters and began to fear that I had already given myself cancer….but it was not enough.

I got married a couple of years later, and sired children. I continued to be sick of my addiction, and had 5 more reasons to give it up: My wife and four kids. What would they do if I died of cancer because of my stupidity? What if one of my children decided to start dipping because they wanted to be like me? I felt guilty about my failure to quit….but it was not enough.

As the years went by, I withdrew more and more from my family, I did not want my kids to know so I went “deep undercover” with my addiction. The time spent with them was always less enjoyable because I was always distracted by my need to sneak off and get my next “fix”. I started to become aware for the first time exactly how much dip was affecting me and all of those around me…..but it was not enough

From the time that I was in college I tried to quit, I wanted to quit, I quit many times, sometimes for a day, sometimes a week, twice for over a month. I tried cold turkey, gum, using fake, hypnosis, weaning…some worked to get me to stop for a while but nothing worked to get me quit. Each time I tried and failed it plunged me deeper and deeper in defeat. Each time it took me longer and longer to try again. Even my fear of cancer drove me back to my addiction to cope with the stress of the fear of cancer….crazy. I was so sick of the treadmill that vicious cycle had me on….but it was not enough

A little over a year ago I had thoughts of trying to quit again. I typed “fake chew” into my browser and pressed enter. It brought me to the “smokeless alternatives” page on KTC. I read the reviews and settled on Hooch wintergreen. I put in my order and came back to the site and surfed a little bit. A couple of days later the Hooch came in the mail. I started thinking about KTC and figured going through this with others might help a little with my attempt to quit, so I posted an introduction and a day 1 in the May 2011 quit group. 40 or so strangers in cyberspace going on this journey with me. Veteran quitters were to be our guides. As time went on, quitters from all around the site added their support. Little did I know that these people were going to give me the wisdom, the support and strength to reclaim my life from the addiction that had plagued it for 34 years.

You see, I found this bunch of folks, who coached me, supported me, came up beside me, told me what I needed to hear, and simply got me to the point where I believed that it was in my power to make this my last quit. They held me accountable for my actions and thoughts, they pointed out where my thinking was weak…. That was what was missing all of these years: people who understood my addiction, and cared enough to tell me the truth and hold me accountable.

And that, my friends, was enough.

Thank You All.

Dale/30yrAddict