The Secret of Our Success by Bluesman
by Bluesman � 2002
Although we have never met, I know you. You started chewing tobacco around high school. It quickly became part of your personality, part of your behavior, and part of your life. At some point, you developed a bad sore throat and thought, “Oh my God, please do not let it be cancer.” You decided to quit for the first time. But your throat got better, and one thing lead to another, and you bought another tin.
Since then, you have tried to quit many, many times. You have blown through countless “quit deadlines,” like “I will quit when I graduate,” “I will quit when I get a job,” “I will quit when I am (20)(25)(30)(35),” “I will quit when the baby is born,” “I will quit when my workload lightens up,” and “I will quit on New Years.” But, when the deadline came, it was never a good time to quit. Or you quit for a while, but then some problem or stress came into your life and you just “had” to go back to the tin (what was that problem?). Or you quit for someone else (wife, girlfriend, etc.), but then they made you angry, so you started to chew again. No one is going to tell you what to do.
At some point, you stopped telling the people around you that you were trying to quit tobacco, because it was just too embarassing when you failed. You covered yourself for years with “I do not want to quit,” so that no one knows you’re completely addicted. It’s not like you are an alcoholic or drug addict, right? For the same reasons, you never asked anyone for their help or support, because you are not some spineless, weak-mind junkie who “needs help.” And besides, they would never understand it anyway, because “they” just think it’s some stupid or gross “spit” habit.
Ultimately, you just resigned to your addiction. You justified it with “It is my only bad habit,” “The risk of getting oral cancer is (small/exaggerated/not real/for heavy users/for hillbillies/for people who don’t brush their teeth),” “I need tobacco to (work/write/concentrate/be productive/play ball/live),” “I am happier with tobacco,” “If I get cancer, I get cancer. Everyone dies of something,” And Now, you have been chewing tobacco for years and years, and you couldn’t quit, even if you wanted to.
And then you found this website.
I know these things about you because, approximately 100 days ago, I was you. I chewed tobacco everyday, all-the-time for 20 years. I chewed all day and swallowed the juice, but I was discreet (i.e., only a fellow dipper would know that I was chewing tobacco), because I am not a baseball player or a farmer or some stereotypical cowboy from the Deep South. I am a trial attorney at a large firm in Ohio, a husband to a beautiful wife of 12 years, and the father of three young children. Oh, and I am completely addicted to chewing tobacco.
When I found this website, I was living the Big Lie. I was a real life “Neo,” in a matrix of my own creation. I absolutely believed that tobacco – rather than something naturally inside of me – was actually the reason for my success in life, for my ability to concentrate and reason and write. I could not enjoy life or anything in it without tobacco. Stop chewing tobacco? You might as well might ask me to stop breathing oxygen. Privately, I was whiny (“It’s too hard to quit”), weak-minded (“I just can’t quit”), and selfish (“I don’t want to quit”), with no real hope of ever getting free. And then I found this website.
Through sheer luck and good fortune on your part, and the amazing, selfless hard work of Matt van Wyk (the host of this free website), you have just found the place where you will free yourself of tobacco, once and for all. Congratulations on your decision and your discovery. This site contains the instructions and secrets on how to quit using smokeless tobacco. This site works. Use it completely.
While it would be impossible to summarize all of the knowledge and information contained on this site (so I will not attempt to), and I have no claim of authorship or originality, I wanted to share several important ideas that have been the “secrets” of my success, and the reason why I am tobacco-free since November 3, 2001. Try any or all of them, if they help you win the battle against our common addiction.
1. Personal Commitment: Make a commitment to yourself that you will not use tobacco today. Re-affirm this personal commitment every single day (or several times a day, if needed), by checking into this website and putting it down in writing on this website. Make this commitment the top priority in your life, such that it will takes precedent over everything else in your life. Why? You already know the answer to that question, or you wouldn’t be here. You have your own personal “quit reasons.” Personally, I quit for personal freedom, to “free my mind” from tobacco, but my wife and my children inspired me, each and every day, to be a better husband, a better father, and a better person. Your “quit reasons” are the “bricks and mortar” for your commitment, and your commitment is the foundation for making personal decisions at every stage in the process. You cannot control the circumstances of your life (any more than you can control the weather), but you can control your own actions. There is not now, nor will there ever be, a “good reason” to go back to an addictive, cancer-causing spit tobacco habit. Turn your back on this addiction and keep on walking, because you do not use tobacco anymore.
2. The “Do Anything” Approach: Now that you have a personal commitment, you need to prepare yourself to deal with the left-over mental and physical withdraw symptoms, so that “tobacco cravings” do not become tobacco “cavings.” My advice is to take a scorch-earth, no-holds-barred tactic when fighting this addiction. Put it this way: If you were a prisoner sentenced to death, what would you be willing to do to free yourself? What physical hardship would you be willing to endure, what mental anguish would you be willing to suffer, how hard would you push yourself to reach personal freedom? You would do ANYTHING! Well, if you take an honest look in the mirror, you will see a person who is a prisoner, a common slave to chewing tobacco. You are locked into the Big Lie, mentally chained to chemically-treated, cancer-causing tobacco leaves. And your death sentence? Just read the published medical studies (and the postings from doctors on this site � yes, even doctors can get addicted to chewing tobacco). You are locked in a prison of your own creation, and now, you must be willing to do literally ANYTHING to free your mind! In my case, the “do anything” approach has meant using herbal chews, chewing gum, hard candies, Altoids, prayer, eating snacks, taking walks, drinking water, working out, jogging, leaving work early, changing my routines, drinking more coffee, going to church in the middle of the day, and spending hours reading and posting on this website. If you need nicotine supplements (gum or patch) or an anti-depressant prescription, then go get them, right now. In fact, have everything ready on Day -1, so that you have these things ready when you need them. And tell everyone about your decision and your commitment. “Burn every boat,” so to speak, so that you cannot break your commitment without embarassment, without publicly admitting failure, and without swallowing your pride. Make it more difficult to cave that to remain true to your commitment (see “do anything” above). In fact, invest so much time and effort into your commitment that you absolutely HAVE to stick it out. Every step away from a prison cell is a step towards freedom.
3. A Daily Visit to the QS Caf�: One of the most important “admissions” for me was that I needed a little help to take on this addiction. Whether because of pride or arrogance, I could never tell anyone in my “real world” that I needed support for an “addiction.” But for me, the support and accountability created by this website are the reasons for my success. I was shocked to find hundreds of people, just like me, hard-wired into a chewing tobacco addiction with no way out. By reading and posting in the forum, you develop a sense of support, and some personal responsibility and accountability. More importantly, you help others win their own personal battle. It is almost impossible to break your own commitment if you are helping someone else keep the same commitment. So come to this website and read and post often. Read everything. Use the “search” feature to follow a HOF member from Day 1 through today. Search your “cave excuse” and rationalizations, and see how other people survived them. This website is the most important weapon in the “do anything” approach.
4. The Crash Principle of “Enjoy the Pain”: There is nothing easy about the process of breaking free from this addiction, and there are no shortcuts. You will earn your freedom through “sweat equity.” You will have headaches, lack of concentration, and irritability. You will have fits of “dip rage” and anger. You will have embarassing, uncharacteristic melt-downs. You will “not be yourself.” You will also endure mental cravings – caused by stress and friends and family and boredom and nothing at all – and you feel weak and demoralized before you bring yourself, kicking and screaming, back to your commitment and this website. Given that the process is painful and difficult, you only want to do it once! With each passing day, as you become stronger and stronger with each personal victory, remember the price you have paid to get there so that you do not throw away your hard work and “quit days” in a moment of weakness (and you will know what I mean once you set your QS “quit tracker”).
5. Celebrate Your Success: Take pride in your personal accomplishment(s) and reward yourself as you reach new milestones and/or win big personal battles. To most of the people in the QS Brotherhood, there are no banners or balloons or “pats on the back” in their “real world.” Most of the time, those closest to you have no idea how much courage and character you demonstrate by facing down this addiction. Therefore, it is up to you to reward yourself for personal victories (big and small). Go out to dinner, take a half-day from work, or buy a new CD (my personal favorite). Certainly, come to this website to “crow” about it, because you will get that “atta boy” here. I guarantee you that, by posting your personal victory on this website, it will become more meaningful and permanent to you, and you will help some other tobacco junkie in some distant state survive the same test.
The success that you will experience here will spill over into your life, leaving you with a deep sense of pride, happiness, and satisfaction. Since I quit using tobacco, I am happier, healthier, more energetic, and have a far more positive outlook and attitude. It has been the centerpiece for positive change in my life, and it taught me that literally anything is possible. I feel like I have finally become the person that I always wanted to be. And in 100 days from now, you can be too. Good luck.
February 18, 2002
Used with permission from the Quit Smokeless Organization