178 Hours Nicotine Free

January 8th, 2012 5 comments

Yesterday, day 7 of the cold turkey quit, was by far one of the hardest and I am not sure why… The cravings in the evening were through the roof, and my irritability level was also at peak levels in the afternoon. At any rate, I powered through it and ended up going to bed at 11 pm, just to escape the urge.

Matt

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128 Hours Nicotine Free

January 6th, 2012 No comments

Hi everyone… I am so freaking happy to report that I have not had any nicotine for 128 hours and counting. I cannot say that it has been easy, but I have to say that when people tell you in order to quit you have to really want to quit, they are not lying :)

I have definitely cut back my caffeine intake and sipped cranberry juice for the first 72 hours, as that helps even out the blood sugar levels that go haywire when you purge nicotine.

I have also been reading two free books that are available from the www.whyquit.com website. They are awesome and have really been a huge motivation and education about nicotine addiction and recovery. They are ‘Freedom from Nicotine’ and ‘Never take another puff’. I encourage you to read them, as they talk about dipping as well as smoking to get the nicotine fix.

I will write back later… Please tell me how everyone’s quit is going!

Matt

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64 Hours Nicotine Free

January 3rd, 2012 No comments

Well, here I am at almost 64 hours with no nicotine whatsoever! No patch, no gum, no brain drugs… just me and my turkey :) I have had my ups and downs for sure, but wow over the last 8 hours I have found it very difficult to control the inner rage that wants to take a baseball bat to the turkey… In all seriousness, I feel very on edge, like my fight response is on every second. I feel like I could just break anything with my bare hands…

I have been taking avena sativa, a natural oat that is supposed to help with anxiety and also nicotine withdrawal cravings, but all that seems to do is make me tired and want to sleep. Now, if I didn’t have to work, then that would be great! I don’t know, I’ll post more later, that is if I don’t smash my computers with my fist and eat them for dinner!

Matt

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Failure is not an Option

January 1st, 2012 3 comments

Well, this is the owner of the site, who did finally quit dipping Copenhagen over a year ago, but chose to replace the dip with smoking. I am using the cold turkey method and am 12 hours nicotine free. I have lots of great content for the new year on dipping, so stand by and come back often!

Matt

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How is everyone doing on their quit?

August 24th, 2009 13 comments

Please send us updates on your quit status. I was finally able to quit the snuff and cigarette addiction using the prescription drug Chantix. I know it is not for everyone because of all the potential side effects, but it did work its magic on me.

Matt

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Still Alive

January 31st, 2009 2 comments

I apologize for the two week absence, been traveling and working like a dog. I know, stop with the excuses and blog right??

I will be posting again tonight and will respond to the great questions and comments over the last two weeks.

Matt – 31 days quit

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Copenhagen meets YouTube

January 14th, 2009 12 comments

Before I get into the post topic, I have a couple random thoughts that have been on my mind a lot today.

The first thought relates somewhat to the post on January 12th about rationalization of the addiction. Over the years of reading about the harmful effects of snuff use, I learned that many people suffer disease many years after quitting the addiction. In other words, a person that may have used snuff for 20 years and quit at age 35, is still almost 50 times more likely to develop some form of oral cancer in their lifetime. I remember all the times that I read this thinking, ‘why should I even bother to quit now, if the damage is already done, or if my body won’t completely heal itself’. It was very irritating to me because I had also often heard that a long time smoker’s lungs begin to heal themselves almost immediately after quitting, and can be like that of a non-smoker in less than five years. I am not going to give in to this type of self-destructive thinking like I have in the past. I am, however, going to do some more research on this subject and post my findings at a later date, so please check back.

Another thought that I had today was why you don’t hear more about snuff tobacco addiction in main stream media and publications. Sure, you will see the occasional short brochure or pamphlet in the local grade school or dental office, but smokeless tobacco addiction is never mentioned with the same vigor as smoking. Sadly, the only people that really seem to view this addiction in the light that it requires are former users who have suffered terrible and traumatic surgeries due to oral cancer. I really believe that most clinicians feel that just showing pictures of disfigured men with have a face is enough to deter children and young adults from trying snuff tobacco. It obviously is not working. Not only are more children and young adults using snuff tobacco than in the 1990s, but more non-traditional users are emerging thanks to products like Snus, which will be discuss in a later post. I guess my main point here, is that I would like to see more information that deals not only with the addiction to snuff tobacco and nicotine, but ways to deal with the even more damming associative habits that keep users hooked. Thoughts??

Now for the main post topic, Copenhagen meets YouTube. I know that when you fist looked at the title, you probably were trying to imagine just what in the world could Copenhagen have to do with YouTube. Well, up until the other night, I thought exactly the same thing. That is until I typed ‘dipping copenhagen’ into the search box of YouTube. 543 videos came back showing everything from kids taking their first dip of Copenhagen, to men recording videocasts for YouTube while dipping Copenhagen, to a group of teenagers from Canada who did a 5 minute video on nothing but all of them dipping. I was absolutely amazed. The honest truth, however, is that I related to almost every single video I watched. Watching the videos of people dipping snuff like they were actually ‘doing something’ was very easy for me to relate to. I remember being 12 and 13 years old, sneaking down into the basement of the house, or going outside to ‘have a dip’. If you watch these videos, it will amaze you at the range of people that actually made a video about snuff tobacco.

A question that may come to your mind is, ‘why is he watching video of people dipping snuff, when he is trying to quit? Isn’t that like taking an alcoholic to a bar and telling them you can’t drink?‘ Well, if you were thinking that, you have every right to question the logic. I can only speak right now for me, as I have done no research on this topic at all, but it has actually helped me stay motivated to quit over the last week. Think of it this way. Most people reading this have at one point or another over indulged in the use of alcohol. I am not condoning alcohol use; I am just making an assumption based on the average person in the United States. While being in the state of over indulgence, one might have done or said things that they typically wouldn’t, if not for the alcohol. The majority of us who have made asses of ourselves while being drunk, forget about it the next day and move on. We also don’t get to see how we look through someone else’s eye.

What if, though, we were being recorded and were forced to watch our words and actions from our drunken adventure over and over again? Do you think that might prevent us from getting drunk in the future? That is a question that can only be answered by each person individually. I can tell you though, that watching those videos of people dipping, spitting, moving the snuff around in their mouth, talking funny, having bad teeth and stained fingers, was like someone videotaping me over the last 24 years and making me watch it. Instead of making me crave Copenhagen or nicotine, it actually makes me see what most other people probably see when they looked at me dipping at one point or another. As I said, this is just a way that I have found to help out with the physical aspects of being addicted to snuff and nicotine. Please click on some of the links above and see if it works for you. And of course let me know your thoughts either way.

I will leave you with one more video link. I will not describe it, I will let you do that.

Thanks again for reading and please post your stories or updates, as it really does help others on the same road. If you want to post, please email me and I will get you access.

Matt – 14 Days Quit

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Temptation Plus Rationalization Equals Relapse

January 12th, 2009 5 comments

Ok, I know by just reading the title you might think that I won’t be able to say 12 days quit today, but I can. I chose that post title because that has been the equation behind each and every failed attempt to quit dipping Copenhagen in my life.

Today, I thought about going to the gas station down the street and buying a can of Copenhagen at least 5 times. Maybe it was because it was Monday, or the fact that the day started with a conference call at 8:30 am, or the fact that there is so much work to do and not enough hours in a day to do it, or maybe it was because I just wanted a dip of Copenhagen like the old days. At any rate, I knew it was going to be a rough day with my addiction.

One thing I noticed that I immediately thought about after each and every urge, craving, or temptation to buy a can of Copenhagen snuff, was how I would rationalize it. Rationalization is a key component of all continuing addictions. My rationalization just today to myself was, ‘i can’t take this stress without the snuff or nicotine, my work will suffer if I stay quit because I can’t concentrate’. How about, ‘I don’t do anything else that is bad for me, I work out, eat healthy, don’t have a history of cancer. This one thing won’t kill me, everyone needs one vice’. And probably the one that I have used the most over the last 24 years, ‘I will only have one or two dips a day from now on, what can that hurt? I know that I can control myself having been quit for this many days. If I reduce the snuff, the danger is also reduced’. Wow, how many of you have used similar rationalizations to yourself to sabotage beating your addiction?

Now, by no means am I saying that this equation alone caused all of my failed attempts to quit my snuff and nicotine addiction. What I am saying is that no matter how I solve for the equation, relapse = a + b + c …. Temptation and rationalization are always two of the variables. So what is different this time? Well, so far I believe that my commitment level is higher than it has ever been, partly because of all the research that I did prior to my quit date. As I learned in the military, and as I’m sure you have heard quoted many times, ‘know your enemy’. How can you expect to win a daily battle, let alone, the lifelong war against tobacco and nicotine addiction if you don’t even understand it? The links on the right side of the blog are some good information sources that I am using to help fight the war on Copenhagen.

I also found that by writing about my addiction and snuff usage patterns, the severity of the situation finally came to light. I always knew that I dipped many times during the day, but when you write it out hour by hour during the course of an entire day, it really becomes evident how much control the addiction has over you. This particular coping mechanism may not be for everyone, but there are other ways to log thoughts and uncover the stranglehold of the addiction, like digital voice recorders or video diaries. If you would like information on either of these, please send me an email as I have extensive knowledge on both. Don’t forget to check out my post on my daily use of Copenhagen snuff contained in the post, ‘The First Five Days – Part II‘.

Because I am only coming to the end of my 12th day in battle, I really don’t think I will go on anymore about why I am not letting the equation win this time. I know how quickly the battle can be lost, with the war soon to follow. I will, however, continue to include things that I found helpful in my daily battles in future posts. Thanks again for reading and please post your stories or updates, as it really does help others on the same road. If you want to post, please email me and I will get you access.

Matt – 12 Days Quit

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The First Five Days – Part III

January 11th, 2009 26 comments

This will be the final post of the ‘First Five Days’. All remaining posts will deal with the events of the day.

All I can say is that nicotine patch has definitely helped with the physical withdrawal symptoms, but I am still suffering the immense cravings and associative habit addiction. Typical physical nicotine withdrawal symptoms are irritability, trouble sleeping, fatigue, headache, anxiety, mild depression, and mood swings. I can honestly say that using the 14 mg nicotine patch, I am only experiencing mild irritability, headache, and anxiety.

You might ask, ‘why are you experiencing any physical withdrawal symptoms at all if you are using the nicotine patch?’ That is a great question and here are a few possible reasons that I’ve found after researching the subject.

Not all of the nicotine in snuff tobacco is “free,” or quickly available to enter the user’s bloodstream. The amount of free nicotine is controlled in two ways: the cut and the pH of the tobacco. Finely cut tobacco (Copenhagen silver top) releases its nicotine faster than “long cut” brands (Skoal long cut).

Most snuff brands have a pH of less than 6, meaning the tobacco is acid. For nicotine to be absorbed into the bloodstream, the tobacco must have a pH of over 7, an alkaline reading. So what is the free nicotine content and pH level of my suicidal plant over the last 24 years?

Copenhagen contains 79% of the ‘quickly available’ free nicotine, with a pH of 8.6 (remember only a pH of 7 is needed for nicotine absorption). Compare this with Skoal Long Cut which contains only 22% free nicotine at a pH of 7.5.

Ok so where am I going with this.. Give me a minute and you will see. I am taking a 14 mg nicotine patch, which means over the course of 24 hours, my body is taking in 14 mg of nicotine. There are 3 levels of patch, 22 mg, 14, mg, and 7 mg. I deliberately started with the mid-level patch to jump start the nicotine cessation process. I am not recommending that anyone else do this. I decided this after looking back at the last 24 years of attempting to quit. The average cigarette contains between 1-2 mg of nicotine per cigarette. Now how much of that nicotine you ingest, depends on your style of smoking, i.e. smoke the whole cigarette, length of the drag, how deep you inhale, etc. So the packaging for the 14 mg patch suggests that you use this if you smoke 10 or less cigarettes per day.

I don’t smoke, so why the hell am I talking about this. If a pack of cigarettes contains between 20-40 mg of nicotine, let’s say the average smoker actually inhales 30 mg per day. How does this equate to my chosen agent of death, Copenhagen snuff? There is 7.5 mg of nicotine per gram of snuff. There are 34 grams of snuff per can of Copenhagen. That equals 255 mg of nicotine per can of Copenhagen. I personally never liked to take monstrous dips, but I would keep them in for long periods of time. I went through about .5 cans of Copenhagen per day, brining my average daily nicotine consumption to about 127 mg per day. Hmmm, now are we starting to see why snuff addiction is so difficult to overcome, and why it is different than cigarette smoking???

I know that was the long way to my answer about why I am still dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms, but I hope you learned something along the way. Thanks again for reading and please post your stories or updates, as it really does help others on the same road. If you want to post, please email me and I will get you access.

Matt – 11 days quit

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The First Five Days – Part II

January 6th, 2009 9 comments

The start of the second day was definitely more of a challenge, as I was awake much longer and back to my normal work routine. The majority of my work revolves around the computer, and seeing as I work from the house, it presents a perfect opportunity to dip that snuff all day long. Even with the patch, the cravings were very strong throughout the day.

So what does, ‘the cravings were very strong all day’ mean exactly? Let me give you the rundown of what my typical work day was like when I used to report to Copenhagen snuff. 

8:00 am ~ 8:30 am – Get up, brush my teeth, and head downstairs to get some coffee

8:31 am ~ 10:00 am - Take my first dip of snuff for the day

10:01 am ~ 10:15 am - Eat breakfast

10:16 am ~ 11:30 am – Take my second dip of snuff for the day

11:31 am ~ 12:00 pm – Get a shower and get dressed

12:01 pm ~ 12:15 pm – Eat lunch

12:16 pm ~ 1:30 pm – Take my third dip of snuff for the day

1:31 pm ~ 1:45 pm – Have a snack, not so much because I needed one, but to eat something to make the snuff feel better in my mouth – how freaking messed up is that!

1:46 pm ~ 3:00 pm – Take my fourth dip of snuff for the day

4:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm – Take my fifth dip of snuff for the day – “the pre-workout snuff”

5:00 pm ~ 6:00 pm – hit the gym – keeping the outside looking good while destroying the inside

6:00 pm ~ 6:30 pm – Take my sixth dip of snuff for the day – “the post-workout, in the shower snuff”

6:31 pm ~ 7:00 pm – Eat dinner with my wife

7:01 pm ~ 8:00 pm – Take my seventh dip of snuff for the day while watching tv with my wife – sick I know, but remember I don’t spit (I’m always rationalizing)

8:01 pm ~ 9:30 pm – spending time with my wife – no snuff

9:31 pm ~ 11:00 pm – Take my eighth dip of snuff for the day while I catch up on work

12:00 am ~ Sleep – Take my ninth dip of snuff for the day as I lay in bed and read the news on my iPod Touch

I know that it might seem like a huge waste of blog space to detail my day by the hour, but I really wanted to give you a glimpse into my typical work day and how it involved the use of snuff.

Matt

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