FRIENDSWOOD, Texas – Sorry I have been away so long, but it was for a good cause: I finally quit chewing. I will not lie, I loved every second of the torrid affair that I had with Skoal, but it never would have worked out over the long haul. I wholeheartedly believe that tobacco is the world’s most perfect product. It smokes so smooth and it dips so delectably. There is no substitute. But when it comes to possible life and death, the choice is clear.
The act of quitting was every bit as miserable as one would expect, but not as drawn out as people say it is. The first three days are what count, and if you can survive those first days, then you will make it.
The key is having a carefully orchestrated set of circumstances that will place you in the best possible position to succeed. I took vacation from work and sent Toni and the kids back home to Ft. Worth. I signed up for Netflix and bought Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010. I bought a ton of red beans and rice, Goldfish, and Quaker Oats Oatmeal Squares. I moved the big TV into my sports room and put the little one out in the living room. I did everything I could to put myself at ease and make me as comfortable as possible.
On day-one I was an absolute wreck. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to breath. I didn’t even want to play Xbox! It may have been the worst day of my life. That sounds ludicrous, but I’m serious. This is the day that most people throw in the towel. It’s easy to quit quitting because you know that all you have to do to make everything better is put in a little heater! Crack open a can. Steal a little pinch. But once you do that, the horizon levels, everything is back in focus, and you don’t hate everything anymore. If you give in, however, then you have just wasted several hours of your life for no good reason.
Day-two was the worst day of my life… I punched a hole in my door because I missed a 10-foot-putt on the Xbox. I walked around the house talking to myself. I ate everything in the house. I wanted to burn down the house. I wanted to burn down the neighbor’s house. I wanted to burn down your house. I turned off my phone!!!
Even though I was going completely insane, I knew that “this to shall pass.” Once I made it through day-two, I knew I was going to make it because I didn’t want to put myself through that horror ever again and I was not going to allow that initial effort to go to waste.
Cooking on day-two helped me because it took a lot of time and I happen to really enjoy it (even when I am a tobacco deprived skitzo). I made beans and rice with bell peppers and onions. Might not sound important but it helped to pass the time.
Day-three was when I first started to realize that I was going to survive. I was still pissed-off, but I was starting to believe that there was, in fact, life after chew! I started to talk to family members. I called Toni. I remembered that I have kids. I made fun of my brother Brian.
Since then it has been cake. I have been using “Smoky Mountain Mint Leaves” instead of tobacco. It’s not bad, but I don’t foresee myself using this stuff for too long.
While I hated every second of the first few days, I am amazingly proud that I endured. I thank all of you out there who prayed for me, and I thank God for providing the perspective needed to overcome addiction.
Now that it’s done, I am a bit regretful. I wish that I would have made a big production out of the whole thing. I wish I would have failed a few times, so everyone would recognize how tough it is. I wish I would have portrayed myself as a victim a bit more.
I don’t really mean that, but it has been a bit anticlimactic. Setting myself up for success has deprived me of my family; the ones who would be the most likely to lob a high-5 my way as congratulations.
When I tell people that I quit they say “cool” or “way to go.” That is strange to me because those are the same people who acted like quitting was impossible! How can they act like I had no chance and then act like success is not a big deal!?
I will, most likely, never figure that out, and it most certainly doesn’t matter.
All that counts is that I have freed myself from the shackles of tobacco, and if you need a little support to help you break the chains of addiction, just give me a shout.