Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 150: Updates, Lessons Learned, Thought, Money, Observations And More!

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Day 150:  Where have all the days gone!?  I remember when I was on day five, 20, 30, and so on.  I just "knew" I'd never make it to day 100, let alone day day 150!  And yes, for any and all haters, I have made it to day 150 without dipping so I apologize in advance! If you're one of the hater's you can stop reading now and go find someone else's failure to try and make you feel about your own failures...

Where do I even begin?  Hmmm, how about I start with the lessons I have learned!  First, I learned  there is no CURE for addiction!  Yes, I admit, there were times when I believed that all I needed to do was get to day 50 and I'd be in the clear, day 75 and I'd be in the clear and so on.  I wasn't in the clear after those days so I told myself, just get to day 100 and you'll finally be in the clear!  Wrong...I wasn't "cured" when I reached day 100 and I should have never told myself that.  I wasn't cured when I reached day 100 and I'm not cured at day 150.  I am however, winning the battle and stronger than ever.  Thanks to my support group of course! One quick fact:  I am an addict!  If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, you are to!  If you have quit one of these addictions, you're still an addict!  Don't be ashamed of it.  Embrace it and kick your addiction in the nuts...

I have also learned that cravings won't just go away, hence the "I'm not cured" segment.  I'll always have cravings.  Thankfully, they won't always be like they were in the beginning.  As some of you know, the cravings in the beginning were BRUTAL, and that word is an understatement. God bless my soon to be wife, Stacy.  The fact she stuck with me though out this journey is enough for me to be grateful towards her for the rest of my life.  Yes, THE REST OF MY LIFE. Stacy, I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again) I could NOT have made it this far without you and I couldn't make it any further without you.  I LOVE YOU.

The cravings are still there, so how am I able to beat them 150 days in?  Well, my next lesson learned will tell you exactly how:  Never underestimate how lucky you are to have a sincere and authentic support group!  I thought I understood how lucky I was but knowing I still have a strong, loving, and caring support group even after day 100 means more to me than anything in this world! See below for my explanation.

Nicotine does not care who you are, it hates all of us equally and loves to hate us even more the longer we make the choice to use it.  My "choice" was to use it for 16 years.  That's a long time.  I have met people who used nicotine much longer and I have met people who used it much less.  In the end, we ALL had trouble quitting because nicotine does not discriminate, has no morals and isn't afraid of anyone or anything.

Here is my little theory on nicotine; Nicotine is the Mini Devil on your shoulder telling you it's ok to have a dip or take that puff.  On your other shoulder is your support group and discipline.  As long as your support group and discipline remain stronger than your Mini Devil, your success can remain possible on a daily basis. However, and this is VERY important:  If you are not 100% serious about quitting, no support group in the world is strong enough to defeat the Mini Devil on your other shoulder because that means you have no discipline.  I truly believe it takes both (discipline and support group) to defeat the Mini Devil. I found this out the hard way....TWICE!  In case you haven't read my blog before, I failed, aka "caved" two times during my journey.  One time at day 40, and one time at day 17.  I had to start over TWICE!  It was horrible but I was held accountable by support team and by my self and I believe that helped me gain the discipline I needed to hold my end of the bargain.  I always had the support team, it was the discipline I lacked.  Now, I believe I have both and WE are on day 150!

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Another lesson I have learned is to NEVER, under any circumstance to let my guard down! It's easy to keep my guard the first 50ish days, however, the more days I went without dip, the more confident I became.  Confidence is good, arrogance and becoming careless is NOT! One bad day, hell, one bad hour is all it takes to lose all the days you have accumulated!  I ALMOST failed for the third time not too long ago.  I had a bad day and bought a can of chew.  THANKFULLY, I took a moment to open my wallet and look at my 100 day Hall of Fame Coin from and to think about my family before opening the can. Once I did that, I threw the can out the car window.  I apologize for littering!  Well, not really, not in this case...

One more lesson I learned?  I learned that my beliefs and feelings about quitting nicotine are completely different 150 days later!  Before I quit, I thought I had all the answers, and could quit when I wanted to.  Ha! Hey Me, you're an idiot!  I couldn't have been more ignorant!  For an educated guy, I was pretty uneducated.  I didn't realize it then, but my attitude wasn't to quit for good, it was to stop, and just like a stop sign, it was temporary. Maybe my two past failures helped me finally get it right.  However, YOU can do it without failing even once if you get your mind right and keep it right!  It took me two failures to get my mind right. Again,  I thought I had all the answers: I don't need you, you or you to quit chewing for me, I can do it myself, blah blah blah.  I did need other people to help!  I will never ever again be too proud to admit that! I'll always be thankful for my support group and I count on them all the time.  Again, without them, the Mini Devil wins...And it only takes one victory for the Mini Devil to ruin everything...

And one of, if not the most important lesson I have learned while quitting dip was/is...self responsibility and honesty!  If you are honest with yourself and support group....If you are holding YOURSELF sincerely responsible, it can and will make a HUGE difference!  I don't think I need to ramble on about this one, it's pretty damn clear.  If you hold yourself responsible and accountable....You have a chance!

A few thoughts and observations from my last 50 days....Well, for starters, I always knew professional baseball players seemed to lead the way in dipping when it came to athletes.  However, ever since I quit chewing, it seems like every single team has a TON of players who chew.  Not only do they chew, they don't even attempt to hide it!  Next time you are watching a game, check out the players in the dugout when they are high-fiving one of their teammates after they score a run.  I swear most of them have a giant dip in!  Watch guys hit, they have a dip in.  Playing the field?  Dip...Pitching?  Yup...It's almost to the point where Major League Baseball should just have a multimillion dollar deal with the tobacco companies because right now, those same tobacco companies are getting free advertising! What really sucks is, my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles seem to have the most players who dip!   Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if their mascot had a fatty in...

I have also noticed how crazy tobacco advertising is in this country...And how "creative" they get when they do it.  I always see, as I'm sure you do as well, a sign that has a pack of cigarettes or dip and it says "lowest price allowed by law!"  The sign is very large and often a bright color so it's eye catching.  How come we never see a bread or milk sign that says "lowest price allowed by law," on it?  Because we aren't addicted to bread or milk!  We won't dig and dig in our wallets purses for the last 27 cents in order to get the bread or milk.  We'll just wait "one more day" to get the bread or milk....but we will NOT wait for our nicotine! Stacy just said it best: "People will sacrifice their nutrition and basic quality of life to make sure they have their nicotine." 
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Another observation?  I noticed our mail man dips!  I've seen him every single day for the last several weeks and he's had a dip in EVERY time I have seen him.  What makes it worse is the fact he'll spit his tobacco juice anywhere and every where!  I remember asking Stacy if I did that...Her reply?  "Yes, but I tried not to look or let it hit my feet."  Although I quit 150 days ago, I'm still ashamed of that!  I'm sorry Stacy!

One of my first BIG goals, as you all know was to get to day 100.  We made it!  Now we made it to day 150!  My next big goal is day 200 and my 200 day chip. However, when quitting nicotine (and many other things), you can't reach big goals without conquering small goals.  Most importantly my daily goal of remaining tobacco and nicotine free is what I keep in sight.  The long term goals are nice, but I don't need to add pressure on myself when they aren't within my grasp.  One day at a time folks...

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I've also had my first beer since quitting nicotine 150 days ago.  Although I was never a big drinker, drinking beer was always a huge trigger for me to put in a dip.  I NEVER EVER drank beer without dipping.  Because of that, I was flat out afraid, yes afraid to have any beer.  However, I'm proud and lucky to say I recently had two beers and I didn't feel the urge or get a craving!  With all of that being said, because I have learned some things through out this journey, I now know that doesn't mean it'll always be like that!  Again, I'm thankful that I'm not a big drinker, because I'm willing to bet it'd become a trigger sooner or a later.

Just in case there is someone out there who is SERIOUSLY considering taking the journey toward living a nicotine free life, please remember that my ways might not work for you.  Hell, maybe it'll be easier for you!  My alternatives (seeds, fake dip, hard candy) might not be the alternatives that are effective for you either.  But I will say this, if you're going to quit cold turkey like I did, DO NOT be a hero!  Use all the references and tools you can because it's NOT easy....But it sure as hell has been worth it so far! I'll be back again soon, probably at or around day 200.  However, I openly admit right here that if I cave, I will blog on that day and take responsibility, just like I did before, guaranteed!

By the way, if you are SERIOUS about quitting, hit up and you'll be welcomed with open arms and clean gums!

P.S. If none of my "info" above has helped you....Think about this...Since I quit 150 days ago, my family has saved just under $1,000.00!  Yes, ONE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS.

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