Atta-Girl Day, December 28th, 2013

A few blog posts in response to work vs. Christmas vacation remain stuck in my brain like old thick oatmeal, but for now I have another subject to share. Help. Support. Love. Chew.
I firmly believe that you truly cannot love someone else with a full heart until you truly love yourself. I think this is why so many of us sign up for half marathons, join the gym, and look up special diets this time of year, to attempt one more time to complete the age old self-impovement plan we call the New Year’s Resolution. I too fall into this pattern like it’s the right of passage to another calendar.
But suddenly the past couple days I felt selfish. Sure I could lose some pounds and tone the middle, eat better, and write more. It’s all in my plan. But what about this person sitting in the driver’s seat taking the dogs and me to Door County for Christmas with family? This man who snowshoes and cross country skis with me after a good meal? The guy who pulls his arm around me and lets me assume “story-telling position” on his chest? My life partner with whom I share toothpaste and mouthwash? The love-of-my-life I kiss on a very regular basis.
My husband chews.
For those of you who know him, you could be surprised. He’s extremely descreet about it, but just like any smoker, the habit attaches itself and relies upon routine. The dip slips under the lip after each meal, at the beginning of a drive, after the popcorn before the movie is over, etc. And I am the one who finds the evidence on the faucet handles, in the “empty” high ball glass under a chair, on the ribbed cap of the toothpaste, or near the trash can (missed).
For a wife, I deal with this very quietly and patiently. I am addicted to coffee, which is far easier to quit in my opinion, but still not easy. I succeeded for medical reasons one year and spent eight full months of my life coffee free before succumbing to a hot cup of my Dad’s “chewy coffee.”
I feel obligated to help. In years past he asked me to help. Any pamphlets or brochures on quitting were all focussed on smokers. Online forums, smokers. Alternatives? All for smokers. He asked me to try to make a mint alternative, something minty, dense, and sticky. I processed fresh mint in the blender with honey. Not quite right. I crumbled up dried mint and added walnut oil and honey. Not dense enough, but close. Still the alternative sat abandoned. The snap lid container didn’t fit in his pocket and well, he’s addicted to the nicotine. When I started researching options for him again yesterday, it turns out the market for smokeless tobacco alternatives has grown to many many options. “Fake snuff” as some call it is now made from stuff my husband never considered putting in his mouth, and one that is made of mint. I ordered a sampler pack of 10 tins for about $30 from Jake’s Mint yesterday afternoon, and within hours I got an email notification that it had shipped. Instead of hackles of fur and claws creeping out from his skin (anyone who has ever suggested quitting to a nicotine addict knows what I mean here) my husband proclaimed, “Alright!” in genuine enthusiasm.
So perhaps I’ll still look inside each glass and bottle before sending them in soapy dish water or into a paper recycling bag. I might still brush off a shred of leaf off the toothpaste cap, and I might not mind these mint floaters in the mouthwash… or go ahead with the “his” and “hers” mouthwash bottles… but perhaps, just perhaps, I’ll be able to help my 41-year-old husband effectively quit a serious habit he has had since freshman year of highschool.
Fair warning: I’m getting pretty passionate about this and doing a lot of research for the purposes to offer educated love and support to my husband, but also to write articles for publication. So you’ll be reading more on this subject from me.

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6 thoughts on “Atta-Girl Day, December 28th, 2013

  1. Your husband is absolutely not alone in his fight. If he’s looking for true support, I’d suggest KillTheCan.org – our forum has over 17,000 members who know what he’s going through because we’ve all been there before. It’s (I believe) the largest smokeless specific forum on the web. The forum is free to join and anonymous. http://forum.killthecan.org/

    I chewed a can+ per day of Kodiak for over 18 years and I’ve been clean not for over 7. KTC is the only thing that’s kept me that way. I’ve written review of most of the alternatives out there on our blog: http://blog.killthecan.org/reviews/ Additionally, there are several coupons available at the Fake Dip page you linked to in your post (thanks for the link). Let me know if there’s anything we can do to help either your husband or you through his journey to freedom. Happy New Year!

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