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December 31st, 2008 2 comments

My name is Matt and I started this website and blog because I am addicted to nicotine and snuff tobacco.

I started dipping snuff when I was around 12 years old, starting with the ‘easy’ stuff, ya know Hawken, Kodiak, Skoal Bandits… etc. My first year of high school, I was introduced to Copenhagen snuff by a long time friend and have been addicted to that brand ever since. It sickens and shames me to admit it, but that was 24 years ago.

Yeah, Copenhagen has been there through high school, the Marine Corps, College, numerous jobs, numerous relationships, good times, bad times, and everything in between. I can honestly say that other than breathing, eating, and sleeping I have had no other habit or ritual that has been that consistent in my life… not working out, going to church, or watching football.

From age 12 to 18 I was a closet addict, not out of choice really, but necessity because it’s not legal in school and my parents would have killed me. Only my other guy friends and my brother knew that I dipped snuff. The best chance that I had to quit using and overcome the addiction at an early age, was after Marine Corps boot camp at age 19. Thirteen weeks with no Copenhagen and nicotine, but more importantly the associative habits were gone. All the experts agree, that it is the mental and associative aspect of snuff tobacco addiction that is the hardest to overcome. I had my chance, and I blew it three days after leaving Parris Island.

The age of 22 was another important chapter in my addiction to snuff tobacco and nicotine. While at college, in order to fill my increasing need for Copenhagen more throughout the day, I stopped spitting the juice out to be able to do it in class without grossing everyone out with a spit cup. At first it was hard to handle, then after a few years it became second nature. Without the need to spit, I could dip where ever and whenever I wanted, and more honestly, needed.

Through my late 20′s about the only times you would not catch me with a dip of Copenhagen in my mouth, was sleeping, church, or around my girlfriend. Yes, that means that I dipped at work, social functions, bars, restaurants, games, driving, working out, hiking, mountain biking, and of course always after eating. Not having the need to spit and taking small dips, enabled me to be in nicotine heaven for about 80% of every day.

The real turning points for me personally, came in my early 30′s as I began to date the woman who would eventually become my wife, and as I started to be more successful in my career. We’ll start with the later point first. Even though most of my work meetings would only last for 30-45 minutes, I could not and would not, resist the urge to have that dip of Copenhagen in my mouth. Now keep in mind, I didn’t take huge dips and spit in a cup, but I know if I am honest, I know that most of the customers knew that I had something in my mouth and since it never changed places it was either some form of tobacco or a genetic defect. The addiction was so bad at this point, that I stopped caring about my personal or professional appearance to others.

Which brings me to the other turning point… starting to date my future wife. When she and I first started dating at 31, I hid my Copenhagen and nicotine addiction for about the first year and a half.  I would do the more socially acceptable habit when we were together, smoke. While it was not my preference, it got me my fix and kept the demons at bay. It also hid any addiction factors, because most of the time we would have a drink or two, so I could use the ever popular, “I’m a social smoker, I only smoke when I drink”. Although she didn’t really like the smoking, as she is not a tobacco user, she just thought it was one of those things I would stop if things progressed and she asked me to.

As she and I started to spend more time together, it became increasingly difficult to hide my tobacco and nicotine addiction. After all, something I didn’t mention is that I love to run, work out, and eat healthy. Having run several marathons, I know how important not smoking is and how it affects your performance. We would go to the gym together and ride bikes together almost every time we were together, so I was forced to tell her about my snuff tobacco use and my nicotine addiction. Needless to say, she was not thrilled to learn about it, but was confident that I would have no problem kicking the habit, because she didn’t understand the severity. She said the same thing others did that knew me and my addiction, “how can you be so disciplined to eat right and work out, but not enough to quit the snuff?” The bottom line is that I am so addicted that I pretty much have Copenhagen in mouth at all times, even around my wife, barring intimate times of course. The addiction is so strong that I just expect her and everyone else around me to deal with my addiction. It is not right.

Well, that pretty much brings us to our current point in time. Thanking God, I am not going to tell you that I have developed mouth cancer and am dying, but I know that if I keep letting my addiction win, it will only be a matter of time before I am writing those words. So I decided to quit Copenhagen snuff and all forms of tobacco starting on January 1, 2009. I have tried to quit dozens of times and have used nicotine gum and patches, cold turkey, Welbutrin, and Mint Snuff. Obviously none of them have worked to this point, but I can’t fault the products or methods, I fault myself for not being truly ready. 

I am ready now and that is why I created this blog. To share my journey and story, and maybe help a few other people along the way. I find that writing about my addiction helps me, and may give me that extra push I need to get over the top this time. I’m not promising a lifetime of being tobacco and nicotine free at this point, I’m just going to commit to trying to be each and every day for the rest of my life. I will be using the assistance of nicotine patches for the first month to ease the physical withdrawal symptoms. Aside from that, I will be eating healthy, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and of course sharing my thoughts and feelings every day.

I hope this helps or at least gives you some insight to an addiction that is often brushed aside as just a lack of will power.

God Bless,

Matt

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