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No Man's Land


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Hello QTrain, 


I was looking last night for information on No Man's Land to help someone,  
I wasn't clear on when this happens for some people and thought tosome anecdotal evidence might be useful.
Please, those of you who had this experience, would you add questions and answer away ?
Did you experience No Man's Land ? 
How far along in your Quit were you ?
How did it feel ?
How long did  it last ?
What tools helped you through ?
What did you learn ?
I have since learned that once the bright and shiny has worn off a quit,
when quitting it is no longer a minute by minute concern, smokey thoughts can rumble up in a powerful way. 
This can happen anytime, of course but, they may take us by surprise when we are feeling confident and complacent in our quit.
We are dealing with addiction.  Vigilance must be maintained.  Protect your quit.








Edited by Sazerac
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I'm not sure if I ever ventured into no-mans-land per se, but I did struggle at 3 and 6 months, which could have turned into NML if I hadn't done something about it.


I just started to feel a little lost, and a little complacent.. And AS SOON as I started feeling like that, I posted about it... And my quit smoking family lent me their strength to get through.


It lasted a couple of days on each occasion, and I learnt that accountability is extremely important, for me at least. I would even go on record to say that without my non-smoking family, I would have gone back to smoking a long time ago.


So, I'm not really sure if that was NML, or maybe pre-NML, but I hope what I said helps someone.

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No Mans Land...


hmmm....a bit of a construct. There comes a time when quitting is not new, its not exciting. Nobody is saying WOW! anymore. In short, life goes back to being life. 


At times - I was bored. I wanted to smoke. Junkie thinking creeps in....Ahhhhh! It's no mans land!


No it aint. It's life. 


There's a danger in ascribing a name or a timeline to it. Self-fulfilling prophesy and all that..


Action is right - when stuff feels a bit weird - post. That's what the forum is here for.

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I've just gone thru NML.. (well at least i think I'm coming out on the other side).. for me it was that at the start of my quit, I was so excited and proud of myself, every day was such a big deal for me.. I had set a date about 3 months out to let my family know I had been quit, so I had that to hang on to an look fwd to.. that day came an went (great day by the way :) ) and then it just kind of got... don't know.. like those who where so happy for me when they found out i quit were just kind of "you quit-good-on with life"..they didn't seem to understand it was still a daily thing for me "NOPE just for today"  and it felt like all the "new" had gone out of my quit...and my enthusiasm to keep on-staying quit was die'n out... the truth is I didn't know I was in so much trouble until someone else posted something that hit a cord with me- how i was feeling- I commented on that and before I knew it my QT family was "riding in to the rescue"... if not for the "family" here, I'm pretty sure I would have gone back to smoking,...


....but see? thats why it's sooooooo important to post how you feel... you may never know who you help.... or how what  say will alert others here that you're in trouble - and "can't see the forest for the trees" like what happened with me.. and they "swoop in" to help...


so, my advice.. be aware it can happen.. an if "the family" picks up on something you said in a post and say you might need an extra helping hand -TAKE IT- open up-talk-post- don't be like me and try to go it alone.. I forgot I was here for the love and support the lovely folks here have to offer.. I didn't want to admit I was have'n a hard time and it almost cost me my quit at just before 6 mo. ... 

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At the risk of angering the easy peasy brigade :) I totally think I went through this. But I agree it's just giving it a name, in other words it's phases of not smoking.


6 weeks - went bat shizzle, totally prompted by forever fear! Posted, big save, phew!


Month 2 - this foot that foot. All felt a bit ploddy, no excitement, no real drama. Missed my brass band and wondered where they had trailed off too when I still thought about smoking all the time. Verbally threatened Joel on the laptop many times with his (in my mind at the time) divvy assessment of two smoking thoughts per day. Pfft.. classic over achieving yet again by me!! Or dramatic, could be either. I was not comfortably happy but I was not smoking.


Month 3 - Oh how I hated thee. wanna smoke, don't smoke, wanna smoke, don't smoke - WANNA - DONT DO IT...went on for a month for me because I refused to acknowledge it. Made my quit stronger though! Never felt the need to SOS, knew I wouldn't smoke, got real annoyed my own brain was tryna catch me out - what's that about?! I call it the rinse and repeat month now, seems to be common. 


Month 4 was bliss :)  All peace and flower power of quitting, sooo lovely.


Month 5 was a bundle of stress. But life is pretty tough month 5, so life or quitting...think that one was life tbh. Lots of "previously I would smoke here" thoughts but nothing more sinister then that. 


Month 6 where I am now, seems calmer but only a week in lol. I do have thoughts of smoking, it seems the quicker I dismiss them as not a possibility (smoking is not o the table) then I can move on. Just occasionaly the thought lingers and I have to mentally bop myself over the head :) 


I think the trick is to post and the guys are right about that. Especially month 2 and 3 I used to really over think what I could post about, just to post and get some feedback. In the same time period I started to exercise, somewhat unhappily and prompted mainly by weight gain (damn you peanuts). But actually, that was a major win, exercise I found not only dismissed the thoughts, I didn't think about smoking during and it gave me some form of happy vibe that I had missed a lot. Maybe an endorphin thing?? 


All of the above just made me hold tighter to my quit. Sometime in that time frame I posted something to the effect of, I know my quit is safe because I'm never going to be able to do week 1 or some of these days again. I held to that. No matter how much it sucked, if I just held on I would never have to face that day, that trigger, that time again! 



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I didnt experience no mans land but I did set myself up for a difficult no womans minefield in my quit because when I quit before I lasted exactly 6 months so my goal this time was to get past 6 months


after the 6 months quit the buzz was no longer there and I can totally sympathise with what Lace said above and then life got stressful and it was a struggle to hold on and then my whole life changed and the only thing that would have been familiar was a smoke


my mindset and the board saved me, posting, reaching out continuing to trust what others say and holding the hell on for dear life, excepting a hug and a kick up the butt and then move on


my goal now is to take things a day at a time, stress will come and go in life roll with the punches tommorow is a new day and smoking will not change a darn thing and if I get them thoughts I look at the other areas in my life that are bringing the thoughts up and deal with that 


 if you are in no mans land - its time to find a new goal or new hobby or new buzz


if you are struggling emotionally then please reach out


we are all here with one goal and thats to quit for the rest of our lives, whatever it takes

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Pretty much same here. I also dumped my arsehole boyfriend at the same time so I'm not sure I'm 'normal'.


I had bad days, still do, feel down, depressed, desperate - lots and lots of crying, lots of seeing my mum for hugs


The worst part was when I found out I was dating a married man and just felt stupid and used and desperately wanted to curl up into a ball and smoke packet after packet I guess punishing myself for being stupid.


I didn't smoke. I cried instead. And hugged friends and my mum for all the hugs they could give.


I'm still not smoking. And still not being beaten up on a regular basis.


Its pretty amazing really.

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Did you experience No Man's Land ? Yes
How far along in your Quit were you ? Right around 6 Months
How did it feel ? It sucked ass...  it was nicotenes last ditch effort...and it was a good effort.
How long did  it last ? I would say a couple of weeks
What tools helped you through ?  I had a hard(ish) quit and there was no way in hell that I was going to quit quitting at this point...kept fighting
What did you learn ?  Always stay on my toes and never look back.


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Yes, No Man's Land is when all the shiny new is gone off the quit...and it becomes just hard work.  I found this post online here in someone's quit smoking journal, and I think it describes it very well...


No Man's Land. Repost for jhhawaii  
By tahoehal  on May 13 2008 at 5:54 pm 

77, Male
Las Vegas
NV, United States 
Member Since: September 01 2004

« Previous Entry  Next Entry » 

I seldom start a post, unless it is to honor someone's anniversary. But I feel compelled to share something that I seem to be sharing a lot of lately... and that is my thoughts on 'No Man's Land'. No Man's Land is a dangerous and scary place... and it is a lonely time during a quit.

I call No Man's Land that period of time between about 1 month and 3 or 4 months into your quit, or about the time from the end of your first month.. This is a time when many people slip and go into a full relapse and have to start over... if they can start over, that is. I have some observations that may help some of you who are literally hanging on by your fingernails... or who may find yourself there tomorrow.

The first month is an exhausting but exhilirating experience... you are locked in nearly daily struggles and you get the satisfaction of successfully beating your addiction that day. You go to bed a WINNER each night (as Troutnut would say), and you are justifiably proud of yourself. Your friends and family are also supportive as they see you struggling each day to maintain your quit. And you are being constantly supported here, whether or not you post... just being here is good for your quit. And so, the battles are won and it actually becomes easier and the battles occur less often as you finish 30 days or so.

Around 60 days, you're starting to have some really good days, with very few craves and some nice insights about yourself... but then again, you still have some bad days. Those bad days can really be depressing... you begin to wonder if you're ever gonna be able to relax. Your junkie is whispering to you, telling you that 'just one' won't hurt. You've conquered your daily triggers, but now you start trippiing over the occasional ones... a death in the family, unexpectedly bad news, money problems, health problems, going on a long car ride, a trip to the bar, or whatever. You have a strong crave and you begin to doubt your ability to keep your quit. 

In addition, the 3D support that you used to get is pretty much gone... non-smokers figure you should be 'over it' by now, smokers don't like to hang around you much because they feel guilty and addicted (remember that feeling?), and people who have quit may not remember just how much love and support you need well into the first few months. They all think you should be 'over it', you think you should be 'over it'... and the temptation is to have 'just one' to see if you ARE over it.

But of course you're not over it, are you? That 'just one' whisper becomes much much louder and becomes 'just one more'... and each time you give in to that whisper, the craves come harder and sooner. The one way to guarantee that your craves will never go away is to light up, to slide that old cigarette needle into your arm and shoot up. Those craves will be back and keep coming back. But if you protect your quit, your craves will eventually weaken and become even fewer and farther between.

As you get to around 100 days or so (some will be a bit longer)... you will begin to really get a healthy perspective on your addiction. You will see the huge role that smoking played in your life, you will see clearly what that addiction really cost you. And you will understand that it was a very high price to pay... the loss of your confidence, your emotions, your self-control... your SELF. All enslaved to your addiction.

And you will begin to see that you can look forward to a non-smoking future without romanticizing your addiction. You see it clearly for the life-stealing evil it was... and is. You see a much different future for yourself than your past has been. And it no longer scares the crap out of you to think that you are done smoking... in fact, you embrace that thought with joy every day.

But you have to get out of No Man's Land first. How can you help yourself? And how can those of us who have been through it help you?

First of all, you need to understand that you aren't alone. If you haven't already done so, make a pinky-finger promise with 2 or 3 good quitbuds and exchange phone numbers with them. Promise to call them if you're ever in trouble, and make them promise the same. These are your 'life and death' quitbuddies... you are literally trusting each other with your lives. Then call them... often. Just to see how they are doing, and to tell them you're doing well too. Be totally honest with them, this is life and death.

Second, understand that you're going to have some unexpectedly bad days... but they are going to be further apart. Shrug them off, laugh your way through them, call your quitbuddies... whatever it takes to get through them without smoking. Some battles will be easy, some will be hard. Come here and post, send qmail, exercise, learn to cook, take up a new hobby. Whatever it takes, keep going to bed a WINNER each night.

Third, ask some of the older qsters to keep an eye on you... to contact you to see how you're doing. I have been asked to do that for several of you recently and I am happy to do that, as I am sure that others are too. We know that you just need to hold on a little bit longer and change your focus just a little to make that breakthrough. And then you will OWN your quit, and it will be a very comfortable thing.

Last, take a deep and honest look at your past life... your life as a smoker and compare it to what your life is like now... and what it will be like in the future. You have to develop that vision of your future, of the person that you are going to BECOME now that you have freed yourself. You have to believe in yourself. You have to love yourself enough to deny yourself your addiction.

No Man's Land doesn't have to be so lonely and scary and dangerous. You need some company and some courage and some faith in yourself. And when you emerge from it, you will not be the same person that entered it.

Never never never question your decision to quit! This is the most loving thing that you will ever do for yourself. A few days of discomfort in exchange for a lifetime of freedom. You will never find another deal like it.

Protect your quit. Don't smoke, no matter what.

Hal 08-20-2004
A puff is too much, a thousand cartons are not enough. 
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I remember when the quit lost its excitement.


I could no longer float around being proud of myself for not smoking.


It was old news now and I needed to get a life.


It was a sad feeling, but like everything else it was part of the process.


A yucky place to be, put your foot on the gas pedal and get out of there.

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So-called "No Man's Land" is an imaginary, self-fulfilling, Land Of Make Believe.


It is superstitious Woo-Woo of the highest order.


If you do not want to experience No Man's Land, you do not have to.




Easy Peasy


Don't believe the hype... everyone's quit is different.

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No man's land, I heard of it but never been there!


I think I saw the exit for it off the highway once but never stopped, too much going on!


My quit never lost its excitement for me because of Tracey, this place, and some other things!


If you do end up there remember not to spend too much time there because,


You are starting your new life as a non smoker,


so you will be making some new friends,


will be going to some new places,


have new things to try and do,


and new experiences!!!!

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I have never been 'there' either, only heard about it.


Today,  I have learned a lot about people's experience around a certain time in a quit.

This is important to me and I love the resource of human experience, QTrain provides.

We all bring something to the table,

something that may resonate with another quitter and help them in some way.

Thank you QTrain.

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Sarge.....WooWoo is actually an alcoholic drink which makes you as the name suggests go Woowoo :D


I feel myself I hit upon no mans land around firstly the 3 month mark, I felt strange, alienated, did not know where I was heading, what I wanted, I could never put my finger on anything, but knew something was amiss, felt like I was wading through thick mud and staring through fog, some of us quitter really believe in no-man's land and some of don't which is what makes us all unique and individual in our own right.  The next time I hit no man's land was at the end of the 6 months and again it lasted approximately a month, but during the month I became complacent and began to romance the though of a cigarette again, and yes I relapsed, will I hit no man's land again this time around, who knows, but if I do I certainly know how to deal with it xxx

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Not sure about no man's land but I have had periods of cravings that came after long periods of no cravings. There was a period right after six months when it was tough because I wanted very badly to be a" social smoker." Now by reading here and knowing about the concept of No Man's Land, I knew that cravings come and go, and if I embraced the suck, the period would pass. Lately, Thank God, I have been free.

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Isn't that the beauty of the QT. Everyone has had a different quit and can share that experience freely.


I, like Chrispy, had a hell of a quit in the beginning and now at this point (8 months in) if thoughts or "craves" try to creep in I just think about how hard it was. Never. again.

I pride myself on being a smart girl... how incredibly stupid would I have to be to ever smoke again.

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