Whoa Boy – now there is a hot topic that almost every smokeless tobacco user has found themselves discussing. As a guy who dipped off and on for 20 years, and has been dip free for 3 years, I might be able to offer you a little bit of insight.
To get a handle on this situation we need to get really, really honest about two things. First (if this doesn’t apply to your situation the next item will), there is a really good chance that your boyfriend (or husband) was using smokeless tobacco before you got together. He probably started using when he was a teenager and may have been using for years before your first date. He did not start dipping snuff to deliberately make you mad or upset.
The next thing you have to be honest about is the fact that he is a 100% tried and true addict. Don’t tell yourself that he isn’t a “real addict” just because we are talking about smokeless tobacco. In my line of work I routinely interact with people who have been addicted to substances – hard substances. Many times I have talked with people who have beaten addiction to methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, etc. A lot of the time these people who have beaten these horrendous addictions still smoke. They tell me they just can’t give it up and that they still “deserve” one vice. And, while we are at it, this is a good time to let you know that one can of dip has as much nicotine as THREE packs of cigarettes. Let that really sink in for a minute. If he is dipping a can a day, that is the same nicotine ingestion as 60 cigarettes every day. Don’t kid yourself, he is in active addiction with all the attitudes, actions and behaviors that addicts display.
I understand how much you hate your boyfriend dipping. My wife just saw me writing this and she said “I fucking hate that shit” (and she generally speaks like a lady). Some of the worst fights my girlfriend and I ever got into were over my dipping habits. These fights didn’t stop after we got married either, they got worse.
So you have probably asked yourself many times “why cant he just quit”. He is an addict. He has also lied to you many times also. Believe me, he didn’t make a promise with an intention of breaking it. But, when you look at your boyfriend as a true addict, then a lot of stuff he does starts to make sense. Broken promises, lies, making up excuses to go do things so he can dip and the list goes on and on. Addict behavior? How about driving to a convenient store in the middle of the night for a can. How about spending at least $150 a month, every month to feed a habit? Have you ever watched him say he quit, just to cave in an hour or two later?
I’m hoping that this is starting to help you understand this addiction a little better. He isn’t lying to your or breaking promises to intentionally hurt you. But, this brings me to my next point, and the most important point – how does he quit.
Quitting for the right reason
Ok, so now we know we are talking about an addict who has been practicing his addiction for years. We see the tobacco addict as he is, which is under the thumb of possibly the most addictive substance on the planet. you want him to quit, and more than likely he wants to quit also and has tried several times. Let me warn you against the biggest quitting pitfall there is.
He cannot quit for you. He has to quit for himself. That may sting a little, but let me explain. On our interactive website for quitters we have seen many people fail because they were quitting for their girlfriend or wife. They joined the support group, doing great, and maybe even had a few tobacco free weeks under their belt. Then, they get in a fight, as all couples do, and then they say screw it and go buy a can. Their number one reason for quitting was not enough. They may have even been looking for an excuse to cave before they got into the fight in the first place.
So what can you do?
This is the tough question with no easy answer. Sorry, but that is the truth. What you can do is remember that you’re are dealing with an addict who displays addict behavior. He isn’t dipping because he wants to hurt you. He is dipping because he doesn’t want to go through the pain of withdrawal. You can definitely have honest conversations with him about how you feel. Do this without getting into a fight. When you can start having a dialogue about his tobacco use without fighting, you will probably discover that he hates dipping almost as much as you hate him dipping. Remember, no guy with a backbone wants to be an addict.
You can also start to educate yourself and him. You can’t force him to quit, but you can be supportive. You can also point him in the right direction. I lied to my girlfriend, now wife, for years before I quit. I broke promise after promise, broke dates that I set for myself and her over and over. I did finally quit, and I’m very glad I did. I quit with a group of people who were ex-dippers who wanted to help me out. The help is still there and it doesn’t cost a thing. Here is the link to that forum.
Be patient, have faith, educate yourself and share things with him that you learn. People do quit everyday, when they are ready.