I know I was supposed to be blogging at least once a day since the site launched on January 1st, but as you can see I have not kept my end of the bargain. I am back on track now, so I’ll fill you in on my first five days trying to overcome my addiction to snuff.
Not that I planned it this way, but my last dip of Copenhagen happened from about 11:10 PM to 11:50 PM on New Year’s Eve. I had exhibited great will power on the drinking that night, because I know it makes it even harder to resist the temptation to feed the nicotine addiction. I was up until around 4:00 am on January 1, a whole 4 hours without snuff. I then went to bed and woke up around 1:00 PM that afternoon. 13 hours with no snuff or nicotine, so by then I was feeling the urge pretty strong. Thank God you don’t get cravings in your sleep… or do you?
As I had planned prior to my quit date, I took a shower and headed over to the pharmacy to get the 14 mg nicotine transdermal patch. I bought a 2 weeks supply, 14 patches in all. This is not my first run in with the patch; I have probably tried it over 10 times throughout my snuff addiction. None the less, I chose it because it does help with the physical withdrawal symptoms and unlike the gum, doesn’t get me in another oral habit or association. Just to clarify, when I have used the gum in the past, I found myself using it the EXACT same way I did snuff, after meals, driving, working, etc. For me, and most other snuff addicts, the mental and physical associations are just as, and if not more difficult to kick, than the nicotine dependence.
There I am now, looking at myself in the mirror to find that perfect spot for my little nicotine friend. The arm, shoulder, back, stomach… I decided to place it on my side, above the ribcage. It is on, and now there is no turning back, well at least until you rip the patch off because you can fight the craving for snuff. That won’t be me though.. right? Only time will tell.
The first day and night without snuff and with my little nicotine friend, was not too bad surprisingly. Just as I have experienced in the past, and like the side effects label says, I did experience some dreams that were more vivid than normal. From other people I talked to, it doesn’t seem to be that common of a side effect, but for me it happens almost every time I use the patch. Along with the patch, I am also drinking a ton of water during the day with hot green tea at night. Although it is mostly antidotal evidence, I have read several places that green tea can help with nicotine withdrawal, I would imagine because it has a tendency to relax you. Who knows, but I know that it does help me a little bit at night. It is also good for controlling weight gain, as it is a natural appetite suppressant.
Although the first day may have sounded like it was no sweat, I am here to tell you that from a mental aspect it was hell. As I have mentioned before, the patch is great for the physical withdrawal symptoms, but does just about nothing for the mental side of the equation. Here is the best way that I can explain my thought process. Please do not judge, as I know what you are about to read is going to sound insane. But for those of you that share my addiction, you will know that I speak the truth.
Imagine that you are met a person 24 years ago. After a few years you decided that they were your soul mate and you decided to get married. For the next 20 years you spend just about every waking minute of every day with that person, having the time of your life. Everything you do, no matter how common it is, triggers a happy feeling inside your heart, soul, and mind. Even if you are not with the person, the thought of that person makes you happy. In my mind, that is the trigger that is sent to my brain when I think about dipping snuff. It triggers a pleasurable response each and every time I put that pinch in my lip.
Now, I want you to imagine that you are forced to go through the rest of your life without your soul mate of 24 years. To make matters even worse, you will be forced to continue to do all of the things and visit all of the places that the two of you shared together. Initially, the happy triggers from the sights and sounds flood your brain with that old familiar warmth, but then you realize that you will be alone forever. That is what goes through my mind now that I am fighting my addiction to snuff. All the triggers from the 24 years are still there; after meals, driving, yard work, reading, computer work, football, coffee in the morning, talking on the phone, and the list goes on and on and on. The hardest part of overcoming the addiction, is realizing that you can still enjoy all of those things without snuff or nicotine.
The one thing that I have learned over the years of trying to quit is that for me personally, I cannot think about being snuff and nicotine free for the ‘rest of my life’. At this point in time, that is just too big a chunk of time to handle. I am really following the one day at a time philosophy.