My dad's a drug addict

utter_insanity's picture

I'm serious. My dad is addicted to tobacco, and it's been stressing me out for months now.

My dad has been chewing tobacco ever since I was a little kid, maybe even longer. I remember one time when I was about seven or eight, when I saw one of my dad's soda cans on the counter. It was a Diet Coke, his favorite drink. I thought that since no one was drinking it, I could have a sip. But when I picked up the can, for some reason I wanted to see what liquid was in it. I dumped it upside down over the sink...and out came this disgusting, black substance. I didn't know what it was back then. I was just glad that I hadn't drank what was in the can. Now I know, though, that it was tobacco, which my dad had spit out into the can after chewing it.

I've sort of known about this my entire life, but I first started realizing it a few months ago. I tried to deny it and everything, but I stopped when I realized that denial wasn't going to help my dad. Besides, it was kind of hard to keep on denying this fact when my dad stops at a store named "Smoker Friendly" every once in a while...WHILE I'M STILL SITTING IN THE CAR. A couple of times I've also smelled a weird smell in our kitchen, which I identified as tobacco my dad had been chewing. (Since my dad's been chewing tobacco my entire life, I can literally identify my dad's favorite brand of tobacco by smell.) Another time that happened more recently, my dad gave me a McDonald's cup to throw away for him. Inside the can, he had stuffed a tobacco container upside down. I think he did it so I wouldn't see any of the tobacco he had spat out into the cup. It didn't work. With all of this evidence against him, it was pretty pointless to stay in denial.

I've spent a couple of weeks now trying to tell him that I know. One time when he was driving me and my sister to a movie, I smelled him chewing tobacco in the car. When we got out of the car, I saw him spit out something dark onto the pavement. While we were getting snacks inside the theatre, I managed to ask him, "Dad, what did you spit out earlier?" He replied, "Snot." Snot? SNOT?? He's been trying for YEARS to hide his addiction from his four kids, and the only excuse he can think of is "snot"?? It makes me so mad!

When I finally told him that I knew, it was sort of an accident. Another time when we were in the car, both sitting in the two front seats, I saw a brown bag in between us. I asked him, "What's in the bag?" He finally admitted, "Chewing tobacco."

I asked, "Again?" "What do you mean, again?" he said. "Well, I know you chew tobacco. I've seen your containers of tobacco lying around the house before.

"Shouldn't you quit?"

"I've been trying to quit. But it's very, very hard. It would be better for you if you never try it in the first place."

After that, there was just silence. We've never mentioned the subject since.

I'm so scared for him! I always hear about all of the damage that tobacco can do to your body in health class at school, and all of that and more has probably already happened to my dad by now! I want to help him quit, but I don't know how.

My dad isn't the stereotypical drug addict. He's a perfect father. He cares about his kids, he takes care of us, and he does everything that matters when it comes to loving us. It seems like his only flaw is that he chews tobacco.

My dad isn't just a drug addict; he has asthma. I've been wondering; how does chewing tobacco affect you if you have asthma? I mean, if your lungs are already in bad enough shape already because of a disease you have, then won't doing drugs foul them up even more?

I don't know what to do. He has to quit, he just HAS to, before something bad happens to him. I don't know how to help him do it. I feel helpless here. After my experiences with him, I am definitely never doing drugs myself. If I have kids in the future, I don't want them to feel as awful as I am right now.

What do I do? WHAT DO I DO??


sugarmagnolia's picture

first thing you need to do

first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and calm down. true enough, chewing tobacco isn't healthy, but it's not like your dad has a meth lab in your basement or is shooting up heroin. Try talking to him and telling him your concerns, and ask him to try harder to quit or at least cut back on how often he uses chewing tobacco. technically tobacco is a drug, and your dad is addicted, but it's about the same as cigarettes; not a good thing, but not a grave concern either. Not that smoking is good... probably why your dad has hid this is that he was worried about setting a bad example for you. Chewing tobacco puts him at an increased risk for oral cancer, but you don't have to worry about him ODing or something like that. Health classes tend to use scare tactics to try keep students away from drugs, I'm sure that if your dad had needed surgery or any major treatment you'd know about it by now. good luck with everything, and try not to stress so much.

"freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"

whateversexual_llama's picture

I'd say to him, "I know that

I'd say to him, "I know that it's not healthy to chew tobacco, and I won't do it, and you really should quit," and go on loving him just the same. Remember, he's a great dad. I'd go give him a big hug right now.

Whatever I did, I didn't do it.

pink hair on girls's picture

yeah. ask him to quit. like,

yeah. ask him to quit. like, say that if he loves you he'll quit. also, try not to let it bother you. my mom's an alcoholic. if he wont quit(like my mom)the most you can do is tell him it bothers you, then ignore it.
make love not war . . . . or be abstinent and bomb everybody!!!!

Ginger's picture

yeah. my dad chews too. its

yeah. my dad chews too. its grooooooooooosss.
he let me try some when i was five.
nevereverevereverever wanted to try it, or be around someone who does it, ever again.
it doesnt do anything to your lungs though.
just your cheeks and youresophogus.
they put fiberglass in chewing tobacco to scrape your gums so that more nocatine (sp?) can get in there, so theres an elevated chance of cancer in their lower jaw (which sometimes has to be removed)
but try explaining that to someone who chews!

at least its not an imparing addiction.
i mean, if you think about it, youre more than likely a drug addict yourself.(caffiene)

utter_insanity's picture

Actually, I don't drink

Actually, I don't drink coffee, but thanks a lot for the reply!

~~Gay and Here to Stay~~

patnelsonchilds's picture

In the end, it is up to

In the end, it is up to every individual to make those kinds of decisions for themselves. You should certainly let him know how much you want him to quit, but since his habit is not destroying the family and driving him to a life of crime, I say just keep on loving him regardless and hope that he lives to be 100 one way or another.

If this experience keeps you from smoking or chewing yourself, that's a great thing. I smoked for twenty years before quitting, so I know how hard it is to quit once it takes hold of you. Now that I'm free of it, I realize what a vile habit it is, and I can't believe that I did it for as long as I did. Funny how those things work.

- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay
characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"