Quitting Cold Turkey

Addictions can really take over, thereby robbing us of the ability to meet our potential in life. These days, when life is so busy, stressful and fast-paced, many of us do take refuge in our addictions, as they seem to provide us with solace (at least, at first). In time, addiction inevitably turns dark and many addicts search for a way out. For some, a “cauterize and heal” approach works best, and this is known as  “quitting cold turkey”. When you quit cold turkey, you don’t taper off. You just stop using whatever you’re addicted to.

When it comes to getting clean of an addiction to almost anything, from hard drugs to cigarettes to porn to booze to overeating (and beyond), many do advocate immediate and total abstinence from the source of addiction. If you’re considering this approach, which some perceive as rather extreme, you’ll appreciate our detailed guideline, as it will provide you with a host of facts about the art and science of going “cold turkey”.

Discover the “Cold Turkey” Philosophy

Proponents of “cold turkey” addiction cessation believe that this type of “quit” works due to a lack of supplemental methods. For example, if a long-time smoker goes cold turkey, he or she won’t use nicotine gum, patches or other smoking cessation aids in order to taper off of nicotine. However, even those who embrace the cold turkey philosophy will concede that it isn’t recommended for all addictions. For example, cold turkey withdrawal from booze or barbiturates may be very unwise for many addicts, as this extreme approach may trigger seizures. These types of seizures have been known to kill…

quitting cold turkeyIt is always best to speak to a family doctor before embarking on any type of quit, including a cold turkey quit. After all, doctors know how people will react to different quitting strategies, and which will be safest, based on addiction type.

So, there is a time and a place for cold turkey, but it’s not for everyone. When you’re addicted to something for which a cold turkey quit won’t trigger dangerous side effects, you may well want to consider giving up the source of addiction, once and for all, rather than tapering off or turning to “replacements” or supplemental methods.

It will take some grit and fortitude in order to get results – after all, you’ll feel withdrawal symptoms at their most intense. However, quitting cold turkey is definitely the best way to rid your body of accumulated toxins, such as nicotine, opiates or what have you. Once these toxins are out of your system, which typically doesn’t take very long (how long will depend on what you’re addicted to), the fight to stay clean will be a psychological battle, rather than a physical struggle.  This gets you halfway to a complete freedom from addiction in a very quick time.

How You’ll Feel When You Quit Cold Turkey

What you will experience when you go cold turkey depends on how addicted you are, how long you’ve been using and what you’ve been using. For many men and women who go cold turkey, the process is not a walk in the park. Cold turkey is hard, and it does tend to stress the body. For example, during a cold turkey-style quit, you may experience a range of negative side effects and symptoms, such as anxiety, “cold” sweating and sleeplessness. You may also feel very depressed, as you’re not getting the usual high from your preferred substance.

However, these adverse side effects and symptoms will ease over time. Once your system is clean, you’ll probably begin to feel much better. How long it takes to get well after a cold turkey quit is up in the air, as so many variables are at play. Once your body is free of toxins which contribute to physical symptoms of addiction and withdrawal, you’ll basically be out of the woods. At this stage, you should strive to understand the root causes of addiction, as these will play a prominent role in whether or not your quit is a long-term lifestyle change, rather than just another failed attempt to go on the wagon.

Consulting a Substance Abuse Counselor to Maintain Recovery

Therapy may be very helpful once you’ve gotten free of the physical causes of addiction. A good therapist who specializes in helping patients stay clean will be able to explore the root causes of addiction with you. Sometimes, these root causes stem from childhood issues, such as lack of nurturing or abandonment. At other times, they are related to life stress, grief or chemical imbalances.

A trained therapist will look at issues that may affect your ability to stay clean and then work with you in order to support your goal to be addiction-free. If you can’t afford therapy during or after a cold turkey quit, look for community-based therapy which is subsidized in order to assist those from lower income brackets. Chances are, if you look, you will find what you need.

Going All In and Meaning It!

Now that you know more about cold turkey quits and their advantages and drawbacks, you’ll be ready to decide if going cold turkey is the right decision. Again, if you have more questions, speaking to your family physician will be a great way to gain valuable insight before proceeding with this type of quitting strategy.

Once you’ve gone cold turkey, you’ll need to dig deep in order to stay clean. After all, you are an addict and temptation will always be out there. However, if you’re fully motivated to improve your life by shedding your addiction, once and for all, and a cold turkey quit won’t adversely affect your health, you may be a perfect candidate for this type of quit.

One key benefit of going cold turkey is that only willpower is required. In other words, you won’t need to make a financial investment in supplemental methods, such as nicotine replacement products for smoking cessation. Cold turkey quitting is inexpensive, it’s effective, and it works for those who are committed to staying the course. While every cold turkey quit may not be successful, those who do succeed with this type of quit will be truly clean, rather than relying on substitutes or replacement methods. So, cold turkey is often a great way to turn the corner and make a new start in life.

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