Tobacco and Hell

Cold Turkeys Don’t Taste Good

This is a love story about my intimate and ill-fated affair with Copenhagen Snuff and Skoal Citrus back in 2007.  Digging through some archives I found that, like My First Cut, I recorded everything to a borderline psychotic level as this skinny Indian highly-functioning mongloid does.

Before we begin . . .

As always, I am not a doctor. I am not a lawyer.  I am not a self-help guru, nor do I want to start a cult.  I may not even like you if we were to meet in person.  So let’s just assume that everything that I am saying is completely my opinion, and what worked for me.  Given that my tips on succeeding in life are my utterly worthless, completely senseseless and useless opinions, it would behoove you to not comprehend anything I am writing.  Continue to speak and understand English, because if you don’t, President Trump will put you on a boat and ship you back – just disregard everything here ... Because I can’t afford to lose follwers!

I don’t even have my 3-day personal trainer’s correspondence course certification for crying out loud!

I’m on a damn burn-pit registry and am legally blind in one eye from birth.  Do you really want to take health and fitness advice from a one eye’d, skinny, pseudo-New Delhi Indian born in the US, with a half-Italian mother who has a thin coating of burnt plastic, titanium molecules and poop coating his lungs?

I’m not even 100% Indian for heaven sake!

…. But if your answer is yes, follow us here:

If not….. just follow us here (see what I did there?):

By the way, if you follow us with your email address, we will be able to send you a 30% off coupon for our new and awesome shop opening in December! 

It’s free! Why the hell not?!

Word press followers – get that offer here!)

What is this tasty candy I call dip, cigarettes, vape?

Regardless of the delivery system of nicotine to the brain, it doesn’t take a personal trainer to or doctor to tell you that it is in fact nicotine that is the active ingredient in that wonderful, magical, amazing drug that you cannot last a half-day without.

I used to dip like a fiend.  Of course, a kid from Chicago gets stationed in upstate New York, surrounded by rough looking woodsmen, mountain men (I was with the 10th Mountain Division after all), turkey hunters and eight feet of snow every October.

So yes, Copenhagen Snuff became a way of life.  I once guzzled a quarter of a liter of my First Sergeant’s dip spit, half asleep and partially dehydrated on a 120+ degree day.  I’ll never forget that taste… and the dry-heaving that ensued.

So what is Nicotine?

Nicotine is simply an alkaloid found in various plants. In tobacco, it makes up .6% to 3% of the plant itself. It is considered a ganglionic stimulant and low doses, and a ganglionic blocker in high doses.

Plants have evolved to product nicotine to kill off insects who attack the plant – it is a natural insecticide (tomatoes contain nicotine, too!).

Nikhil, you’re gross. A gangly what??

Just know that in low doses, nicotine acts as a stimulant, and in high doses, it acts as a depressant. That’s  as deep as we’ll go!

church_lady

So what do those satan sticks you so vigorously suck on do? Nicotine increases heart rate, blood pressure heart-muscle consumption rate, heart stroke volume, and as a result, alertness, euphoria and relaxation in the body.

Nicotine is absorbed into your body and reaches your brain within 8 to 20 seconds after consumption

The half-life of nicotine in the body is about 1 to 2 hours, which means if you’re choking one down every 5 minutes, the build up of nicotine in your body is at a much faster rate than the ability for your body to get rid of it.  It also means that the full life of nicotine in the body is between 18 hours to three days! Which is why your first cigarette, dip, etc. of the morning is your favorite! (You’re on E, and your tolerance has decreased overnight.

But I vape, so it’s okay, right?

E-Cigarettes/Vaping is questionable at this point, but there are a few things that we do know:

Most e-cigarettes contain propylene glycol, which is a known irritant to the eyes and lungs.  Which means there probably are long-term effects to the eyes and lungs… we just don’t know what yet.

Many companies also add diacetyl to their product – Remember a few years ago all of those popcorn factory workers were dropping dead because of they were sucking down those butter flavoring fumes and getting something called “popcorn lung”?  Remember that fat ass who ate two bags of popcorn every day for a decade and got cancer? And then blamed the popcorn!?

Yea… That’s what you’re going to get. popcorn lung.

Yup – when you die you’re going to fall in with the same ranks of that human paraquat, ruining the fun Act II and Netflix on a Saturday night for all of us…. You might as well spill a Starbucks on your crotch and sue for that too…

Furthermore, the ultra-fine particles found in the excrement (yes, excrement) of flavored liquid cartridges have been found to do damage to 2nd hand recipients.

So if none of that scared you to stop… then go for it! Because we can rationalize the benefits of nicotine as well!

[devil and cigarettes]

But I Could Care Less … Will it Hurt my Gains?

As mentioned, nicotine increases blood flow as well as heart muscle consumption rate, and therefore, in theory, will give you better lifts.  Can’t say it’s true or untrue, but complete bro-science.

Why bro-science?

Well, because additionally, nicotine also reduces the amount of oxygen that your body distributes to your muscles.  Your muscles need oxygen.  Additionally, the oxygen that your muscles would have taken in during and after workouts has been replaced in your blood stream by carbon monoxide.

Blood pressure also increases on nicotine – which, if your goal is to watch your heart to explode, throw in a fruity Skoal Citrus pouch and deadlift 345…

Nicotine is also an appetite suppressant.  If you are trying to gain lean mass, you need to eat.  If you don’t eat, you don’t grow.  And if you’re sucking down nicotine, you’re naturally not going to eat as much.

That’s why bitter old ladies and effeminate hipsters continue to suck down their Virginia Slims out of fear of bulking up…

A 2007 study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that lifting may be a great motivator to quitting, and may even reduce the sheer pain and misery that your body will go through during withdrawal.

 

About quitting attempts

All in all, it took me 17 attempts to quit – I tried everything – weaning myself off, chewing gum, chewing Nicorette, replacing one bad habit with another… actually, after it was all said and done, I read that the average person takes about 16 times to quit.  Given that I quit on chance 17, I figure I’m probably below average in the “quitting bad habits” department.

To be fair, it wasn’t necessarily the Cope, Skoal, Griz or anything that I could buy or bum that I was directly quitting from … I transitioned from dipping about a can and a half per day to chewing 4mg Nicorette gums all day, from sunrise to sunset, before bed, and in the middle of the night if I couldn’t sleep.  It was literally that bad. I was addicted to friggin’ gum.

And it Begins…

On Friday, October 26th, 2007, my cold turkey project was underway. The first several hours is really the tip of the iceberg — the top of the roller coaster just as you slow down and look over the horizon to the inevitable descent to a shit-storm of stomach jerking twists and turns.

quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit

quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit 

Days one and two were, well, to put it nicely, complete shit. The following list is simply what I was feeling at my worst point.  My worst point was typically mid-day throughout the day, when I needed to be at my busiest.  I was in college at the time in my third year of undergrad.

 

day-2-emotional-quit-log  quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

Days three and four were quite awful as well. I had a throbbing headache for about five days – from the time I woke up, to the time I fell asleep, then, at times, I would wake up in the middle of the night, because of that damn pounding head of mine.

Painful Lesson #1: For me, it is always better to rip the band-aid offThe first week sucks, plain and simple. Sure, you could do some wishy-washy “weaning yourself off” nonsense… and take months to feel like shit… or you could rip the band-aid off.  I would always rather rip the band-aid off and get it over with.

quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction  quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

Day five was actually a breaking point – a lot of the issue in quitting was the dizziness, which cause some anxiety.  So not only was I constantly enamored by a head crushing migrain, I was also constantly dizzy and felt like the sky was falling  School didn’t help either.  I would pretty much go to class, get home as fast as possible, and just sit and stew.

Painful Lesson #2: Do everything you possibly could for the entire month to NOT be exposed to temptations.  Do everything you could within your control to make yourself comfortable.  This is a process, and an awful process as well, but it has to be done, so suck it up, and figure out how you can get through it.

day-5-emotional-quit-logquit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

One thing I am not good at is going to the doctor.  There is good reasoning for this — I don’t really think in most cases they do anything.

Let me explain, if you have a cold, you pay out of your ass to be told you’re sick.  If you have an allergy, you pay a boat load for a test to tell you you’re allergic to “something,” in many cases, they can’t pinpoint it.  If you know you need an anti-biotic, they will argue against the anti-biotic just to tell you something contradictory to what you are telling them. Garbage.

So unless you’re getting your spleen pulled out, or a sex change, there really is no use for a doctor.  Unless they’re fixing you, they can’t fix you, they can observe and report — like an $8.00 per hour security guard for your body…. But at $200,000 to $400,000 per year.

As an alternative, Target Clinics will give you the same service and push prescripiton drugs on you for $75 bucks…

Lesson: Go get checked out by a doctor — this is one of those times where they can take a quick biopsy of the tissue in your mouth, and just rule out anything beyond sores, strains, and pains.

day-6-physical-quit-log

quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

Days seven through nine felt like I took a trip back to day one.  Your body has become dependent on something REALLY powerful.  There is quite a bit of literature out there that talking about the similarities between heroin and nicotine addcition.  All your brain knows is that you just completely started depriving it of something.

Lesson: Just when you feel it won’t suck anymore — expect it to suck.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can simply go back to those habits and routines that trigger your urge.  You can’t, and likely you will fail if you do.  Keep consistent and give it a month.

quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

day-11-emotional-quit-log

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will say that by days eleven to forteen, I started feeling much better.  I woke up with energy — perhaps the first time in a while.  Yet, still did not have much anxiety or restlessness.

Was this a turning point?

Canker sores were 98% gone, and most importantly, that can of dip I had stashed for just in case “this wasn’t meant to be?”

GONE!  Dumped in the toilet and flushed (you’re not supposed to do that apparently — learned that one later).

Lesson: The shit will pass.  It sucks, it really does, but it’s temporary. Very temporary.  There really isn’t much to it looking back, just a few weeks to a month of just not doing it.  You feel like a bag of smashed assholes… You really do.  But it passes, and once it passes, you begin to remember what it felt like when you were free from it.

Lesson: You don’t need as much sleep to feel good throughout the day as you used to.  I won’t even pretend to understand it, but I simply did not need near as much sleep after a few weeks.

Lesson: You also have extra money that you didn’t have.  A can of Cope or Skoal back then cost about $4.50, at one and a half per day, that was 45 cans of dip or $203 per month extra in my pocket – for doing nothing.

day-15-emotional-quit-log   quit smoking, smoking cessation, nicotine, bodybuilding, tobacco, quitting smoking, can't' quit smoking, quit dipping, I want to quit smoking, I need to quit, I have an addiction

Days fifteen through twenty-two I began to work out again.  Things became normal after about two weeks – I was back in the gym, I was back at school focusing on my work, I felt good all day, things were great!

I still did have that occasional urge to dip – the memory of that feeling of heart pounding energy I used to have.

Lesson: You have to give yourself a full month.  Habits truly do come and go within a solid month of exercising whatever practice you are putting into place.  Give your body and mind time to adjust, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

All in all, it was one hell of an experience.  Have I grabbed a dip here and there since 2007? Sure.

But wait… What?

Here’s the deal.  I haven’t had a dip in about a year.  But I had purchased one $4.50 can of Camel Snus about a year ago.  And I literally would have a dip or two, and then toss the rest in the toilet (yes, the toilet again… I forgot).

The Ultimate Lesson in All of This

It purpose of tobacco, of junk food, of anything for that matter, is to not become dependent on it.  Control what you can control in life.

The food you can control, tobacco intake you can control, the amount of hard work you put forth, you can control.

Other people, their opinions, temptations that certain places or people bring? YOU CAN’T CONTROL.

But you CAN control being around unhealthy people or environments.

You CAN control your goals, and where you are a month from now, a year from now, five years from now.

So yes, if I want to go fishing, and buy a can of dip, and enjoy the feeling of my head swimming and my heart pounding out of my ribcage… and then throw the can away when I’m done? Sure!

Just like I can eat a whole pizza, then go back to my diet.  Like I preach, I’m not a doctor, or dietician, or scientist, so my diagnosis for you, if you are uncontrollably eating, dipping, smoking, vaping and allowing fully controllable things control you, is, quit being an asshole.

Yup, you’re just an asshole. Fix it.

 

And if you enjoyed reading through my pain and anguish of quitting a drug as addictive as heroin, 1) you’re a sicko, and two, join us!

Also, please leave a comment, I would love some input, criticism, compliments, critiques:

2 thoughts on “Tobacco and Hell

  1. Pingback: 5 Ways to Get Organized Right Now | pumps pains strains and gains

  2. Love the tough love vibe of this. Band-aid ripping, “fix it,” “it sucks,” but there is hope in your writing. Truth telling. Sure you’ll grab a dip here or there. But like pizza-eating, right?

    The temporary suckatude of the process was nice to read. Thanks. I’m in the midst of really taking control of booze and dip. Looking for realness like what’s in your blog.

    Keep up the good work, I’m about to go to work on this hell myself.

    After this last can.

    Like

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