For over twenty years, I was a tobacco user. I quit in February 2008. Quitting ranks among the top-three hardest things I’ve ever done.
I started during my freshman year in college. It was then that a girl introduced me to my first dip of smokeless tobacco in the tv room of the Wesley Foundation. And thus, an addiction was born.
In the beginning, I used tobacco because it relaxed me, gave me a buzz, and made me feel butch. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point the pinch between my cheek and gum lost its effectiveness. Tobacco no longer did anything for me, but I felt anxious and cranky if I went without it for too long. “To long” became shorter and shorter. I used a little bit almost constantly. I learned to hide it, using just a little at a time and always carrying a travel coffee mug around with me to spit in. Of course, I wasn’t hiding anything. People knew. They were only gracious enough, or embarrassed enough, not to say anything.