No one can say when it really begins. One day, you are in control. The next, you are not in control. When did it happen? Did It happen when you took your first chew or dip? The second? The third? Did it begin when you started taking a dip or chew when you felt stressed at work?
I believe that tobacco addiction begins under different conditions for everyone. For some, it occurs when the first dip or chew is introduced into the bloodstream. Others, it occurs when the habit is used the first time to offset a condition, such as, stress.
The one thing that everyone has in common is the fact that after a certain length of time after the repeated introduction of dip or chew into the system, addiction occurs.
Why is it that the addicted individual is usually the very last to admit to the addiction? I feel that it is due to the mental denial (blinders) that occurs when anyone is faced with something that they do NOT wish to admit to themselves.
Most people who are in the very throes of addiction believe that they are in control. The old saying, “We are our strongest when we are our weakest”, applies to the certain knowledge within our own selves that we are addicted. It is reinforced by the certain knowledge that when we open ourselves to others in our weakest moments, their help saves our program through their strength and our very weakness that allows them to reach out to us also allows them to strengthen their program even more!
This is when the healing can truly begin. When we are “on our knees” before our own consciousness and peers, we are then faced with reality. The reality that we are no longer in control of our lives. If we wish to regain that control, reach out to the caring hands that are extended to us. . . the healing begins.
The blinders of our own self-denial fall away as the pure and certain knowledge of our addiction is admitted. Admission is the key to our accepting help. The help of others, a support group of family, friends, other cessation members, etc. , is where it all begins. To know that we are not alone and that we are cared for is very healing in its very nature and also opens our hearts to the reality of the situation and reinforces our knowledge that we are helpless to the addiction.
Do Monsters Exist?
Once we admit to ourselves and others that we are addicted, another phase of our healing takes place. People who have experienced this know that Monsters exist. We reach out with an open mind and accept the advice and instruction of trusted individuals that we admire and trust. When this occurs, the Monster within becomes visible to us for what it is. The friendship of our addiction changes before our very eyes into the horrid “Monster” that is has always been. The blinders are removed — we can see it now for what it is.
This is a very important step because as long as the addicted individual believes that smokeless tobacco is their friend, their confidante, their alliance, then healing is impossible. What true friend would ever turn on another? True friends do not do that.
That is why it is so important that the addicted person become aware for themselves that tobacco is not a friend, but a very frightening and dangerous “Monster” that will, over time, destroy them and hurt those that they love.
When the addicted person has removed their blinders and seen the addiction for the Monster it is and reached out in helplessness to their support group, there is another factor that helps them along in their journey out of the abyss of addiction into the light of logic. That factor is education. Education about their addiction, methods that have been proven effective for the majority of those who have come before them in terms of helping them to quit dip or chew.
This education can take many forms. One of the most accepted forms is a cessation program which follows proven, clinical procedures while surrounding the individual with a friendly, caring and supportive atmosphere of mutual benefit. Yes, mutual benefit, because a program only works when both the teacher and the student benefit and learn from one another. Who is the teacher and who is the student? It becomes a very difficult task to discern the student from the teacher as time goes by in a solid, mutually beneficial cessation program.
The very essence of a good cessation program is one of “mutual learning”. When mutual learning takes place, a true cessation program is born. It is in that moment when all principal parties learn, both student and teacher alike that the magic begins to happen! In fact, in true cessation programs the role of student/teacher changes back and forth as strength and weakness ebbs in each principle party involved!
What does the term “Aftercare” mean? This is care that comes “after” the cessation program has aided the member to become free of the physical pangs of nicotine withdrawal and while they are still actively working on the behavioral aspects of their programs. Behavioral and psychological triggers beset the individual member in varying degrees and at different times.
Many of the behavioral triggers are completely subjective. They affect one individual and not another. It is easy to recognize the objective, outward triggers, such as, right after a big meal, when in a traffic jam, etc. These affect us all in varying degrees. The subjective, inward, triggers are the ones that only affect the individual to any degree.
I have seen a person nearly lose their program over a dip while listening to a certain song on the radio, while another person was not even affected. Subjective “sleeper triggers” are the silent enemy that we have to be prepared for and ready to face when they appear out of nowhere. This is the job of aftercare—the continuing study and preparation for the sleeper trigger “snipers” that can and do. . . linger for weeks, months, even years into an individual’s program.
Monsters Love Empty Spots
I would like to go on the record for having stated that Monsters can only hide in ignorance. They can only become dangerous to us in the darkness of our addictions. Once the light of cessation shines upon the darkness of our obsession, it becomes obvious to even the most brainwashed individual that the Monster lies within. It dwells within everyone of us who has ever allowed it to enter the parlor of our souls in the first place. It never goes away. . . it just slumbers.
This is the continuous battle that we Aftercare members face daily. Our goal is to keep the Monster within us asleep. Perpetual hibernation for the Monster is paramount to our continued, tobacco-free existence! Our Cessation program never ends—it just enters into a state of metamorphosis and magically changes into something different and even more beautiful than a butterfly as time passes in our programs. It blossoms into a phase of our program entitled “Aftercare". Aftercare becomes a lifestyle, a comfortable lifestyle of helping others, which creates the silver umbilical cord and life-sustaining nourishment to each of our programs!
With cessation comes responsibility. Responsibility to ourselves and to those who are in cessation with us. We become a family. As in any family, a person must believe and care about those in his/her family in order for “the family” to thrive. It is said that a baby will die if it doesn’t receive enough human attention over time. The same holds true for adults. . . it just takes longer. For adults, sometimes loneliness leaves blank spots within our core being. . . that need filling. Enter: the Monster.
Profile of a Monster
The monster, as stated earlier, is like a Vampyre—always stalking in the fertile fields of loneliness and need for acceptance—looking for new, potential victims. Like its counterpart, the Vampyre of myth, it begins to look for weaknesses and asks nicely to be allowed in. We are just fine until we open the “door” to this terribly insidious entity.
Once it is invited in and is asked to stay awhile, it never really leaves. It continues to suck most logical thinking from our brains while leaving its filthy, vile but soothing poison within our minds for the sole purpose of tempting us to continue to allow it to stay awake and active within us. It can be put to sleep and kept asleep as long as the addicted person lives within the rules of cessation. Sometimes, the cessation member slips, and the Monster awakens!
This is what happens so often without a proper, adequate, and caring cessation program that is actively pursued and participated in by other, like-minded individuals who support one another in their weakest moments on a daily basis!
Those empty spots within us long to be filled and filling them is our quest in this life. What we fill them with usually determines addiction or non-addiction. For a newbie in the tobacco cessation arena, it isn’t always obvious just what the problem is in his/her life. They are surrounded by loving family, friends, and work associates. Then why do they feel loneliness in terms of cessation? It is my belief that they feel it where cessation is concerned because the chew/dip is their only friend in this arena.
Those who care about them usually harass them to quit, thinking that if the addicted person loved or cared enough about them they would quit before it is too late and before they suffer health problems from it. This thought frightens the concerned person in the addict’s life and creates an atmosphere of desperation and fear. This is usually expressed as anger and distain.
The logical, nicotine-free person just cannot understand the befuddled, illogical, thinking of the addicted person’s mind. The addicted person feels even more withdrawn, alone in the crowd, and relies even more heavily upon the object of their addiction. The non-addicted person just has no idea how reliant we addicts become on the object of our addiction. It has become our bane, our solace, our shelter from the storms of life. Instead of coping mechanisms, we turn to Cope or other nicotine products.
When confronted in such a negative manner about our addiction we are just being encouraged to run to our old “friend”even more. And the circle continues.
What to do?
Even when in the illogical, befuddled state of addiction, we know the truth. The Monster keeps us from admitting it to others and even from ourselves. . . but we know. When we feel deeply enough inside that we need and want to quit, there is a door that creaks open within our minds and allows enough logic to enter our thinking that we say, “I need to quit this crap!”
The only way to put the Monster to sleep and to keep him asleep is to separate yourself from your addiction and replace it with something positive. My recommendation is a program where the people are receptive of you and desire to help you while they help themselves. A program that gives you sound advice and education about your addiction and yourself, and offers you a lifetime of Aftercare amid newly formed bonds of friendship with other people who understand.
We have such a program here at Stop Smokeless.com. Look around and if you agree with me that this is the place to be. . . join with us. If you decide that we aren’t for you. . . find someplace that is. You deserve it.
We provide a FREE eBook that you can read by following this link: "Stop Using Smokeless Tobacco Now!"
Zach Malott is CEO of Stop Smokeless.com, a site that is dedicated to helping others to eliminate the addiction of smokeless tobacco from their lives.
Malott has spent most of his life addicted to smokeless tobacco. In his search for a means to quit and stay quit, a program developed over the years that has helped 1,000's who are ready to quit succeed.
The focus of his life now is to help as many people as he can to be rid of this dangerous, unnecessary drug from being the cause of so much human misery. This resourse can be found at:
Once again, the FREE eBook can be read at the following link: "Stop Using Smokeless Tobacco Now!"