Matt: What’s going on, guys? This is Matt and Greg with Project Unbroken. Do us a favor and hit that subscribe button. Please share this video if you think it might benefit somebody out there that is struggling with addiction or recovery. We would appreciate trying to spread the word.
Matt: Today, we wanted to talk about nicotine addiction. Nicotine’s a big one. Greg and I both smoked. We both struggled with nicotine addiction, cigarettes. It’s a huge problem. Kills half a million-
Greg: I would say so, yeah.
Matt: … a year.
Greg: I think it’s the biggest killer.
Greg: [crosstalk 00:00:34].
Matt: I mean, at this point in time, everybody knows smoking’s bad for you, but that just is a testament to the power of nicotine addiction.
Greg: Now, I’ve had nicotine in many different ways. I’ve dipped, I’ve done e-cigarettes, and I’ve also done regular cigarettes. For me, I kind of have a different view on nicotine because I’ve felt different things from each one, so nicotine addiction is really a weird thing. It was a different addiction for each one.
Greg: For the dip, it wasn’t as addictive for me because the dip, I never liked. I didn’t like the taste of. The nicotine wasn’t as effective for that. With regular cigarettes, I think it was the most addictive. And then e-cigarettes were probably second. But it’s weird because even when I switched from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes, even though I was still getting the nicotine from the e-cigarettes, a high dose … I started at 24 milligram when I was smoking e-cigarettes. I still went back to smoking regular cigarettes every now and then, which is weird, right? Because it wasn’t just an addiction of the nicotine, in my eyes, it was an addiction of the taste and the specific feeling I got in my chest when I took that pull and all of that.
Greg: Although nicotine, I think, is extremely addictive, I also think there’s other things that go along with, like some people, they get addicted to the dip because they like the taste and they like having their mouth full with spit. It’s like an action that goes along with the nicotine. You get what I’m saying?
Matt: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I mean, mainly, my experience with nicotine was cigarettes. I smoked for 13 years.
Greg: Yeah, you got me started, asshole.
Matt: Yeah. Sorry.
Greg: And then he quit before me.
Matt: But I think I recognize what you’re talking about because one of the things I experienced through my nicotine addiction was when bars stopped allowing me to smoke inside. One thing that I’ve noticed is while I could go outside and smoke easy, when I couldn’t smoke inside, I started drinking more. I think what that was was I needed to be doing something. It was just taking a sip of the drink, replace that, just like taking a drag. I noticed things when I quit, like, I used to miss the feeling of getting a fresh pack of cigarettes and packing them. That has-
Greg: It’s the actions that go with it, right?
Matt: Yeah. It’s the actions that go with it, so I think that’s what you mean about being addicted, you know, maybe the different vehicles, we’ll call them, to getting nicotine into your system all come with their own rituals almost. When I was smoking, if I was driving to work or driving to school, I would have landmarks where I would smoke. I would get to this red light, and every day, I would get a cigarette out and smoke at the same place. I would get to another bridge, and I knew it was time for another cigarette. I think ritual is a big part.
Greg: Yeah. Even when you’re drinking, you’re smoking increases because why? You’re communicating with people, you’re going outside, you want to go in and out, you want to talk. I mean, it’s weird. Nicotine addiction’s a weird thing-
Matt: It is.
Greg: … in my eyes.
Matt: I smoked during rehab. Like, that was a big community thing. Everyone-
Greg: It’s almost like a break, you know what I mean? It’s like a break. It’s a break from the environment. You can go outside, you can collect your mind, and you can come back in and kind of get back into the conversations, you know?
Matt: Yeah. Well, something about … And this is bizarre, but something about the addictive side I realized not long ago. This is my most recent, I guess, interaction with addiction that I’ve dealt with in a long time, at least that I’ve really noticed. I picked up a pack of Snus or Snus-
Greg: [inaudible 00:04:33].
Matt: It’s dipped in a little pack, and you pack it in your lip. It was funny because this guy I follow in social media, he’s a healthy dude, owns gyms and this and that. One of his posts, he was saying, “I went to the club last night,” and he was like, “All I had was some Snus, and I was dancing.” He was like, “I didn’t drink anything, but I had a great time.” I was like, “Oh, shit.” I was like, “I wonder what that’s like.” So, I picked a pack of them up, and I put one in, and I kept it in there for 10 or 15 minutes, and I was like, “Oh, this tastes like shit,” and threw it away, and didn’t really think anything of it. And then the next day, I was like, “Let me try it again.” I packed another one in, and it was like, a little bit better. And then the next day, I was like, “Oh, shit. You’re getting addicted again.”
Matt: It almost caught me. And then my wife found them, and she was like, “The fuck is this?” So, I ended up ditching them because I don’t really need that in my life right now. But I was surprised at how quickly and almost unnoticeably I was drug into it. I didn’t even enjoy the first experience with it, but something was like, “Oh, you should do that again.” It was weird.
Greg: It’s almost like, I think, the biggest thing I would compare it to is caffeine addiction. You know what I mean? Like, drinking coffee. It’s just your ritual. You get up, and you drink it, and if you don’t have it, you’re kind of moody for a little while. I mean, it’s very similar to caffeine. But how would you explain nicotine addiction? Could you even explain that to someone?
Matt: Man, when I was smoking cigarettes, it was way more cut and dry. I can remember, and again, I mean, I guess there’s a lot of stuff in cigarettes, specifically nicotine, that are supposed to really make you feel good. If you look at the list of side effects from nicotine, it sounds awesome. It makes you relaxed but more alert. There’s a lot of great things to it. I just think a lot of times, it’s the vehicles that get them into your body, which are dangerous. Like, smoking is a carcinogen. Nicotine’s not necessarily what’s bad for you. Smoking’s bad for you. Dip is the same thing. It’ll chew a hole in the side of your face, give you throat cancer, [crosstalk 00:06:58].
Greg: It’s not the nicotine, it’s the chemicals, right?
Matt: It’s not the nicotine, it’s usually the way it’s getting into you is what … It’s bad for you. But, it’s just a very … It’s an unnerving feeling, where you take a drag, and you’re like, “All right, I’m good. Like, I’m good now.” Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that.
Greg: That’s true. It is very relaxing, I think. But it’s also, like, again, kind of like drinking. If you drink a lot, you’re kind of upbeat, then you have a drink, like, “Ah, I’m relaxed.” Kind of like the same thing in that sneeze, too.
Matt: Yeah, very much so. But I will say, you can’t keep smoking cigarettes and keep getting … Like, it’s not going to compound. Like, if you keep drinking, you know where that goes.
Greg: But like you said, it is kind of the actions that drive it because I know when I first quit smoking, I know I’d get in my car, and I’d be like, “Well, what do I do now?” ’cause I’d always get in my car and smoke. You know, smoking and driving’s huge.
Greg: It was just so fun to do back them. I don’t know why.
Matt: Yeah. It becomes such a regular part of your life, and I think that’s why anybody has a difficult time giving anything up, any habit or ritual that they for five, 10, 15, 20 plus years. It just becomes such a part of your daily routine that when it’s gone, you’re like, “Oh, man. What am I doing right now?”
Greg: That’s why I really like e-cigarettes. I used them for a year or so, then I finally got off the e-cigarettes. Again, it was weird because as I was doing the e-cigarettes, I still wanted regular cigarettes, but as time went on, I got used to it, and then I kept dropping my milligram of nicotine. Eventually, I got off those because I got so into coming to the gym and stuff. That’s a big recommendation from me is try e-cigarettes. If you smoke and you’ve tried to quit and you can’t, try going to e-cigarettes. See how it works for you because I think they’re a lot easier to come off, and I think they’re a lot healthier for you.
Matt: How did you quit, or what was your catalyst for quitting?
Greg: Yeah, so for the e-cigarettes, they come in 24 milligram, 18 milligram, 12 milligrams, six milligram, and then zero. I started at 24. I did that for a while. I went down to 18, and I just kept dropping my milligrams, and I eventually got to zero with the nicotine.
Matt: Way to taper.
Greg: I would just smoke zero, and it was just the hand-to-mouth, it’s the same thing.
Matt: The ritual.
Greg: That was it.
Matt: The physical-
Greg: That was it. That was the last thing. I was like, “All right. I’m not addicted to the nicotine anymore, I just gotta get rid of this hand-to-mouth thing and the ritual. And then I was coming to the gym. One thing about e-cigarettes is they dry out your throat, so I would get sick more often. Once a month, my throat would get really dry, and it was almost like a cold feeling.
Matt: Ugh, that’s the worst.
Greg: I didn’t like that, especially since I was really getting into the gym. That was kind of the tipping point, where I’m like, “All right. I’m not getting any nicotine out of this. It’s pretty much just the habit of me doing this and just carrying it around, so I might as well quit.” It was pretty easy to quit from there.
Matt: Yeah. Well, I mean, in general, I don’t know. If you haven’t started, I wouldn’t get started-
Greg: Oh, no.
Matt: … I wouldn’t have nicotine products. It’s something that you’re more than likely going to have to struggle with later down the road. If you’re struggling with it now though, maybe take Greg’s route with the e-cigarettes. He seemed to have a lot of luck with that. And then, just in general, like all of our videos. We always try to encourage people to find some healthy outlet to replace that with. With cigarettes, I know it’s difficult because they’re just so easy to reach, and they’re so common.
Greg: They’re everywhere. And a lot of people smoke.
Matt: Yeah. But there’s a couple ways around it, so e-cigarettes might be a really great way for you to start that path if you’re trying to quit.
Greg: It’s like, if you’re smoking, I mean, they’re on the ground [inaudible 00:10:25], and you’re like, “Shit.”
Matt: Yeah, they’re everywhere.
Greg: It’s like there’s heroin bags laying all around the ground everywhere that we gotta see every day.
Matt: No. No. There’s constantly triggers for that.
Matt: That’s why it’s one of the hardest things to quit.
Greg: You know what’s crazy about cigarettes? Just a side fact is the companies that do the … or the commercials you see for anti-smoking, by law, the smoking companies have to put those out. Isn’t that crazy?
Matt: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: It’s unbelievable.
Matt: Yep, yep. And they still make money.
Greg: Yeah. Crazy. Side note. We’ll cover that in a different video. That’s just crazy, man.
Matt: Well, I guess that covers it for our thoughts on nicotine and nicotine addiction. If you guys have any questions about this topic or anything else addiction or drug-related, recovery-related, health-related, anything, let us know, and we’d love to dive into it. But again, hit that subscribe button, share this thing, and we look forward to talking to you guys soon.