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No Man's Land


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#1 Dunkin

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:33 AM

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by tc_guy ( ron)

Peace to all who read this.

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 until you become an Elder. 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.

Peace, Ron
  • marciem, bernardbossy, Craig and 51 others like this
Quit May 31, 2008

"If you want to change your life, change your mind."

Dunkin

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#2 laterbloomer

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:40 AM

Thanks dunkin.
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#3 ACSpann

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:50 AM

One of my favorites. The first one that I printed off so I could read it anytime I wanted. I still do, thanks, Amy
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#4 Rain Forest

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 02:06 AM

Thanx for posting this, Dunkin... this is where I am now, and it can be so annoying sometime, but at least my triggers and craves are becoming fewer and fewer:

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.


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Freedom date: May 13, 2009

 

I oftentimes say I'm leaving here.  Jan says:

"She always says that. She's got her fingers crossed behind her back."

Jan is right... lol


#5 qwe

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 02:11 AM

Good post Dutch :idea:
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Quit Date OCT.-29-2007

#6 dramagal

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:12 PM

Thanks.. I think this is where I am headed... and you are right..Get ready for it and accept it... FAITH that what comes next is worth every moment of the journey.
August 8, 2009 -FREEDOM
Sometimes you just have to take things moment to moment!!!
BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!
HEATHER

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#7 ellieBH

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 01:17 PM

Thanks Dunkin, all this is true.......it's a time when we have to remind ourselves that this is do-able.....over and over....and over. The ickie feeling does go away tho.

Ellie

I proudly claim JULY 15, 2013 as my day of freedom.


#8 odysseas

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 02:32 PM

thanks for this, putting into words those weird times is hard and this really helps identifying thoughts and feelings...
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#9 OwenStubbs

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:39 PM

Excellent post - exactly describes my current location in this journey.
http://tinyurl.com/ycnmfts
Quit date: May 15, 2009

#10 Lynda Jacobs

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:45 PM

Thanks, Dunkin, that was a good reminder.
Lyn
Quit Date: March 22, 2009

#11 starchild

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 08:11 PM

I luv this post. It really captured where my mind was at during that time. reading it again helps me to keep going...

#12 Dunkin

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 12:18 PM

:idea:
Quit May 31, 2008

"If you want to change your life, change your mind."

Dunkin

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#13 sheilaml

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 01:21 PM

thanks dunkin. the further into my quit i get the more i understand this post. it always helps to read it.

#14 Dunkin

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 02:33 PM

I put this in a reply to Koolbreez, but there might be several people here who could use this post.
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Quit May 31, 2008

"If you want to change your life, change your mind."

Dunkin

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#15 notjols007again

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 04:50 PM

Wow, most relative post to me yet. You described exactly what I was feeling but could not put into words.

I was having some negative thoughts lately too, cured me right quick. I like the quit buddy idea, I think I'll start looking for some people around the 100 day mark.
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#16 DaveIsHere

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 08:19 PM

I have been feeling this way the past two days. Mostly becuase I was holed up in a hotle for the pas couple days for work, first time since I quit so i am sure it is all realted. Just feeling weird. Can you be in no mans land after a month?
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#17 Dunkin

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 05:08 PM

Bump! For Sheila
Quit May 31, 2008

"If you want to change your life, change your mind."

Dunkin

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#18 dougfromlondon

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:28 PM

Hi Ron,Yes 20 years of the ciggy is a long time.its only when you quit you realize the hold it has on you.I am now in No Mans Land at day 36 I DONT want a cig but HERE IS THE ISSUE....I dont hear people say this much...IT SEEMS STRANGE WITHOUT ONE.Like i'm missing something.Whats stopping me relapse is just one thing.MY FUTURE HEALTH.Its not the money damn it! $3 a day.BIG DEAL.Then I think deeper and its not 1 thing its many things....wanting a cig when ive run out and looking in the bin for a but end.Wanting a cig on a plane flight.Having a cig and it tastes like SH**.We forget the BIG NEGATIVES in smoking .Yes 36 days is good .No Its great.Its as John Lennon sang all about MIND GAMES.Mum died from smoking...What Bigger reason to QUIT.IT STINKS .FULL STOP.
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A PM FROM( SKIP)/ADMIN WAS RECEIVED AND OPENED AFTER I POSTED THE I'M STAYING IN HERE POST!!!

#19 danisunshine

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:18 PM

Thanks. Great post for right now, day 71. I thought about my feelings lately and how I just feel not quite right and cranky easier. Then I realized that I feel like something is missing in my life. Do not get me wrong--I do not want to smoke; I hate smoking. But it is missing from my life, something that took up a lot of my time and was my go to for most of life's situations, and I am still trying to live without it. I still am not quite sure how to do it. I know that I am drinking and eating more and exercisng--something I have never done before--all in the hopes of trying to not feel this feeling of missing something. I am trying every day to figure out a little better how to live without the cigarette-some days are easy and some are still a struggle. I will not give in though because I know that smoking is NOT what will make me feel better; instead, it is continuing to figure out how to live my life without the crutch that will kill me if I go back. Sometimes I still feel like someone died (the old smoker me) and I need to figure out what to do without that part of me. Slowly and with patience I will go on, day by day, learning more about myself and how to make healthy choices for a long life.
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#20 sheilaml

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:59 PM

thanks dunkin for the post. i feel better today maybe it was just being around the family and alot of them smoking i have a very big family 5 brothers and sisters and like 30 neices and nephews and alot of them smoke but thank goodness i made it through smoke free.hope you had a great christmas and kiss those beautiful puppies for me.




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