No Man's Land

by QuitNet team member Corrie Mook

If you’re early in your quit, you may someday find yourself in the midst of the proverbial “No Man’s Land.” Roughly marked as the period between the first and fourth months, many say this can be one of the most challenging times. As the thrill of making it past the first weeks ends, the support from family and friends may also wane. Yet some still experience cravings now and again, which can feel frustrating and defeating. Is there a way out of No Man’s Land?

Thankfully, there is. Here’s how a few QuitNet members described their emotions around this time, and how they learned to keep their quit in the midst of it:

@Robert B: NML [No Man’s Land] was very tough for me. I came out of it around 5 months, roughly. For me, it was typified by "will I ever feel whole/normal/happy again?" kind of thoughts. I also had a couple of rogue days where it seemed that I had craves which lasted for hours. I was really honest about it here, and that helped. It was hard to hit the big red button when you're at 150 days or w/e, but my quit meant way too much to me. Humility and faith in coming out the other side kept me smoke-free. The last couple months have been smooth sailing, so I'm ever so glad I did.

@Kathy H: ...Please, PLEASE bear with it a little longer. It will be worth it. It truly is a hard transition for some of us to go from the elation of "Oh my gosh, I'm doing it!" to "Why do I continue to torture myself?" There's another transition on its way - please wait for it.

@Toni W: ...I lost 2 previous quits around 70 days. I felt miserable the whole time too and envied those happy quitters who seemed to be rising above it all. It's a terrible addiction that was a real source of mood control for me. Without the smoke screen, I was in rough shape for quite a while. This last quit, I talked to my doctor and got some help so my mood didn't completely do me in. Smoking and depression go hand in hand for many folks.

Whether it means talking with your doctor, revisiting some of your previous coping strategies, or staying close to your friends at QuitNet, the road through No Man’s Land can end. Thousands of QuitNet members have made it through the ups and downs of the first year and stopped smoking for good.

Take comfort from their words, and know that No Man’s Land is just a temporary place.