An Open Letter to Wives of Smokeless Tobacco Users

by Rick in Tampa 2002

First thing I want to say is ‘Do not get discouraged’.

Regardless of who says what to you, there is no single way to force your husband to quit using smokeless tobacco. No ultimatum, no New Years Resolution, not a child being born, not the threat of you walking out will honestly convince him it is time to quit. I apologize for being blunt but it’s the God’s honest truth. Every person has that little switch inside him that tells them when its time to stop. Your job is to find out how to flip that switch. I can tell you that, you have found the single best resource I have ever found to help your husband quit smokeless tobacco.

I started chewing tobacco when I was 13 years old. When I quit 80 days ago, I was ‘using’ a can of Copenhagen a day @ $4.55/can. I would stay awake until 1-2 a.m. so I could keep dipping. I would brush my teeth in the morning only and as soon as I was done, I would throw in a dip before I even started shaving. I hated brushing my teeth because it hurt. There are a lot of things about the smokeless tobacco addiction that an addict will never admit to and will never share with anyone else, its part of the addiction.

In my adult life I never watched a movie, mowed my lawn, washed a car, drove a car, sat at a computer, went to the bathroom, sat outside, played softball, football or a round of golf without a dip in my mouth. Sorry if that’s too much information but it’s the truth.

The REAL reason I didn’t want to quit or was scared to try is that Copenhagen defined who I was. It was part of my person. I felt incomplete without it. I had no idea how in the world I would do 95% of my daily activities without it.I am married and have 2 kids and nothing that my wife did not even the birth of my boys inspired me to quit.

I wish I could explain what it was, but after 21 years of chewing, I just decided it was time to stop. I had moments like that before, where I felt this is the last chew I will ever have but it lasted a mere hours. Then I would go buy another can or have another chew. This time was different because I found the Quit Smokeless web site. I posted out there on Monday Feb 25th 2002 for the first time and I haven’t had a dip since. I am convinced I will never have another one again, for the rest of my life, period.

But for me, I had to get drastic. I had to change alot. I stopped eating bad food, stopped drinking coffee and soda (‘pop’ as we called in Pittsburgh) and joined a gym that same day. I have not missed a workout since then and have maintained my weight but got rid of most of my gut. I don’t pretend to have a magical touch or that people follow my ‘quit plan’ because each person quits in different ways for different reasons. This happened to work for me.

The benefits are nothing short of amazing. My teeth feel strong and healthy. I sleep less number of hours, but wake up feeling 100% more refreshed than I ever did when I dipped. My tongue isn’t brown from dipping. My fingers aren’t stained. I bet we go through 1/2 of the toilet paper now that I don’t stuff that in a cup every time I clean out an old spit cup. My car does not need to be cleaned of all the tobacco that would fall out of my can every time I took a dip. Food tastes like food and I don’t treat meals like its something I do to survive between dips. My gums don’t bleed anymore when I brush my teeth. I spend more time with my kids and have less anxiety about ‘when is my next chew gonna be’.. I feel less edgy and more peaceful… and I kiss my wife more often. I just can’t explain how many ways I feel better.

I don’t tell you these things to brag, I tell you them in hopes that your husband will read this and see that quitting is possible. If someone would have told me this a year ago, I would have thrown this paper away and never given it a second thought. But if he is struggling to find a way to quit and he REALLY does want to quit then the QS Website is the way to do it. There is no program, it is not a plan.. it is just a bunch of people that want to help others gain independence from a killer weed that has no mercy. No one wants anything from you other than to help. Rarely do you see a gathering of people come together for no reason other than personal improvement and freedom from addiction. It’s an amazing, amazing place and I never would be where I am today if it wasn’t for that site.

Please keep this letter and show it to him and if he doesn’t quit now I hope he does soon. If he doesn’t believe me, have him go to the Hall Of Fame section on the web site and read story after story of people that have successfully quit smokeless. They are the same as him. It doesn’t matter if he is a farmer or a doctor, the HOF is full of people from every walk of life.

It’s the single hardest and greatest thing he could ever do with his life. Trust me. I know. And my kids/grandkids will know when they grow up too.

Rick in Tampa

Used with permission from the Quit Smokeless Organization