Stop Drinking Cold Turkey

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I’m not going to guess or do any research. I don’t really care where the term “Cold Turkey” comes from. If you have an idea, please leave a comment. When you quit drinking, cold turkey is the method of complete abstinence. It’s an all or nothing approach where many people will dump every drop of alcohol down the drain.

If “cold turkey” has a Thanksgiving food origin story, I’ll agree that eating leftovers isn’t my favourite. In AA they call this ‘white knuckle’ sobriety. The image of hands holding on for dear life on the edge of a cliff comes to mind. Cold turkey can be emotionally and physically draining. In some circumstances it’s medically inadvisable to do it.

It’s not that it can’t or should not be done. Cold turkey is a challenge of will, and you can win if you’ve got a lot of will. If you’ve done Sober October you know it’s not impossible. If you’ve tried cutting yourself off from alcohol, you probably also know how easy it can be to over do it when you start drinking again.

Mark Twain suggested eating a frog in the morning, so it would be the worst thing that happened to you all day. Look at it as if quitting drinking cold turkey is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, and that means you’ve probably got a pretty decent life. If your body can go 24 hours without alcohol, your mind can as well. Eating cold turkey isn’t a great way to spend you time, but the white-knuckling will be worth it if it means you’re alcohol free.


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