Two and a half years clean, (Update: Five years), quit, cold turkey. I can honestly say that I don’t even think about it anymore. And if at some odd, random time I do think of the Worm Shit I used to stuff into my mouth all day, I acknowledge how much of an idiot I was for spending those thousands of dollars. From age 17 to age 28, eleven years of living as a drug addict. How many years have you been dipping? How many times have to tried to quit? How many times have you told yourself that you’ll quit tomorrow, or after you graduate, or after you write your final paper, or after the baby is born, or after the hockey season, or next week, or next year, or never “cuz we all die someday, and I’m gonna die with a big ol wad of the Grizz in my lip.”
I’ve heard it all before. I’ve said it all before. I can honestly tell you, that it will be worth it. I know what it is like. You can’t even begin to imagine yourself as a non-dipper. You can’t even see that version of yourself. You are blinded by the Dip Demon. He is real. He devours souls. He lives in every addict, in every can. I have seen him. I have looked him in the eyes. I drove a stake through his heart over
two years five years ago, and haven’t looked back.
I challenge you to quit. I guarantee your life will be better.
My uncle, who died of cancer, used to drop heavy, misty farts that shook the floorboards of his house after Easter Dinners. I remember this detail from my childhood, and it is as clear as day. He would drop an absolute bomb, and, with a sly smirk, say, “words of advice from the toothless prophet.”
Words of Advice From the Toothless Prophet. That’s what I’m calling this article. I’m not here to lecture you, or tell you what to do, or sit on my nicotine-free high horse. I’m not going to point fingers or pass judgement. I’m no expert. I’m no saint. I’m just some creature of the night, banging away on my keyboard sending out vibrations into cyberspace. But what I do know is tobacco. I know every kind, and every detail about every kind. I’ve tried everything. I even know about that potent snuff from Africa that comes in a tiny tin, that you sure as hell shouldn’t chew while driving through the winding mountain roads of the Julian Alps in Slovenia. I know chew and I know addiction. I chewed all day, every day, for eleven years. I know the toll it took on me. I know the place where it put me mentally. I know what it is like living constantly with that Scratching Demon. I know the helplessness and the pain.
I also know how, at 28 years old, after slaying that Demon, I reverse aged. You heard me correctly. I undoubtedly reverse aged. I had probably ten to fifteen grey hairs scattered around my head right around the time I quit chewing. I know because I had Doll pluck them every week. Sure enough, they grew back the next day.
They are not there anymore. Zero grey hair at 30 years old. Settle down, ladies. I also lost all my fat and got shredded, and am in better shape than I ever was playing Division 1 College hockey or my early years of pro hockey. For years, I bought that sour lie that if you quit, you are going to get fat. I listened to the Demon’s whispers. He was in my head and in my blood. After the exorcism, I saw a clear portrait of my life, and that path that had been laid out before me. I had veered off path, and strayed through treacherous jungles, and terrible terrains. But the path was always there, and shining so brightly, beckoning me every day for eleven years. But I was always too busy reaching into my back pocket, and methodically moving fingers to can, and fingers to lips; looking down the entire time, but only focusing on illusions, and never realizing my potential or my calling, and the whole time, realizing nothing except that I existed under that eternal spell of that Hypnotic Demon. And feeling good about that. What a sick addiction.
If you haven’t checked out my METAMORPHOSIS blog post, please give it a read. It is my most sincere confessional as a drug addict and what I went though when I quit chewing tobacco over two years ago. Over the past year, many people have emailed me or told me that the Metamorphosis article inspired them to quit chewing or smoking. That makes it all worthwhile. To be involved in a vortex where people are inspired by something you write, and that inspires you to write, is a special sequence of art imitating life, and life imitating art, and everyone imitating some mythic version of themselves grabbing whatever Demon dwells inside of you, and driving the stake through that vile heart. And in that heroic imitation, we mimic a version of ourselfs that already exists. It exists inside of us, and someplace off in the near future. We are moving closer, every day to that version of ourselves that knows no fear, no addictions, no servitute to any Demons, and only sees that golden glow from the path that is laid out before us, that leads us to our True Self, who has been patiently waiting this whole time.
On that note, here is my How-To Article on quitting chewing tobacco, laid out as simple as possible, with no flamboyant metaphors, rhythmic prose, or run-on sentences. This is how you quit. Period.
WORDS OF ADVICE FROM THE TOOTHLESS PROPHET
by Bobby Robins
Smokeless tobacco, also known as dip, chew, snus, etc., is a highly addictive form of nicotine transport. Smokeless tobacco users absorb nicotine directly into the bloodstream through the delicate mucus membranes in the mouth, gums, and inner lips.
A typical smokeless tobacco user holds a pinch of tobacco in his or her lip for periods of 20 minutes to an hour. This results in high levels of nicotine in the bloodstream; one average dip of smokeless tobacco is equivalent to the nicotine content of 4-5 cigarettes.
When planning to quit smokeless tobacco, you must realize that it is the nicotine you are addicted to. Nicotine is a clear, odorless chemical that is highly addictive, and it is through the tobacco that nicotine enters your body.
Step one is to admit to yourself that you are a drug addict, and the drug that you are addicted to is nicotine. Your tobacco use is not “just a bad habit” or “just something to pass the time”; it is a chemical dependency to nicotine, and you must realize this before you can successfully become free of this addiction.
The most effective method of ridding yourself of nicotine addiction is to eliminate it completely from your body. This method of “cold turkey” is viewed as the most difficult method of quitting, but also the most effective. Nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges may work for some people, but nicotine is still being supplied to your body, and it only delays the difficult time when the body is completely shut off from nicotine.
It is best to get this over with as soon as possible, and not delay it any longer than need be.
This period of depriving yourself of nicotine is very difficult for most people. It is a desperate time, and the brain and body will do everything they can to get you to put more nicotine into your bloodstream. However, three days is all it takes to get the nicotine out of your system. These three days will be very trying, so make sure you have planned accordingly and devised a support system to help you get through this difficult time.
Inform your family members, loved ones, coworkers, roommates, etc., of your decision to quit. They will understand why you may be more irritable than normal. They will also be supportive and available to lean on when you need the help. Informing as many people as you can also holds you more accountable to stay true to your quit.
Remember, three days is all you need to get over the hump.
Before your quit, stock up on anything and everything that you can to appease your oral fixation. For a smokeless tobacco addict, having something in your month is what you have been used to for so many years. Buy a good variety of gums, candies, sunflower seeds, and mints. There are also many products you can order online that are considered “smokeless tobacco substitutes”, which are herbal snuffs that mimic the taste and feel of real tobacco, but contain no nicotine or tobacco.
The most important part is to get through the first three days. Those first three days are when the nicotine is purged from your body. You body will use it all up, and in return will want more. Take it one hour at a time. You may even have to take it one minute at a time. Do whatever it takes to NOT put nicotine in your body for those first three days.
During the first three days you will experience what is known as “physical withdrawal”. Your body is physically addicted to nicotine. It needs it to feel normal. Your body will fight back against you, and let you know that it is not very happy that you have taken its favorite chemical away. You will feel stress, anxiety, aches and pains, and deep cravings for tobacco. Just know that this feeling will pass.
After three days, you will experience “mental withdrawal”. This is where you are used to having tobacco during certain activities, such as after a meal, or while driving; you are accustomed to having tobacco during these times, and it will feel very strange not to have it. You must break this habit by substituting gum or sunflower seeds. Know that at this point, it is all a mental battle, and your body no longer physically needs nicotine; your brain simply wants it. You just have to tell it NO!
Day by day, you will battle against these mental cravings, and you will find that you think about or crave tobacco less and less. Some people may make it a month, or a year, or longer, but remember that once a nicotine addict, always a nicotine addict.
Make your quit a lifestyle change that lasts the rest of your life.
The law of addiction says that if you allow your body to have nicotine again after you have quit, you will return to day one of the withdrawal that you first felt in your quit.
So if you have “just one” it is very likely that you will be right back to where you were as a full blown nicotine addict. No one wants to have to go through those first three days all over again.
Focus on staying quit every single day. It can be done, but it takes dedication and strength. You will find that you have a lot of extra time on your hands because you are not sitting around and spitting black juice into a cup all day. Find a new hobby or activity such as jogging or working out; a healthy outlet will keep your mind off of tobacco, and improve the quality of your new tobacco-free life.