Is “cold turkey” the best way to quit drinking? Many people think so, despite another, more viable option being available.
It is important to recognize that most people who have quit drinking have done so on their own. They did NOT need to go to AA or a rehab to make their lives better. They quit drinking by making a commitment to change their daily habits.
Having said that, if you are a very heavy drinker you should consult with your doctor before attempting to quit on your own. This includes both quitting cold turkey, and if you attempt to more gradually cut back on your drinking.
Quitting Cold Turkey Can Backfire
Let’s be honest: many people have tried (and failed) to quit drinking alcohol. Oftentimes, they tried to quit cold turkey, but were simply unable to do it since it can be so difficult.
A failed attempt to quit cold turkey can actually make it harder to quit in the future. This is because failing to quit might leave you feeling more addicted than before. Thus, you can fall back into an even deeper alcoholic lifestyle – and feel powerless to do anything about it.
Cold Turkey vs. Cutting Back
If you have unsuccessfully tried to quit cold turkey, you should consider a more workable approach. Take a step back from the edge, and dedicate yourself to reducing your alcohol intake where possible.
Cutting back will empower you as you move forward, as minor changes to your lifestyle can dramatically strengthen your willpower. This “first step” will also give you the option of quitting permanently at some point in the future, if you decide to do so.
Step Back From the Edge
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your alcoholic intake:
- Do not drink shots
- Avoid drinking games
- Stay away from “happy hours”
- Eat a complete meal before drinking
- Think about your habits and how to change them
If trying to quit cold turkey didn’t work out for you, then don’t be afraid of changing your strategy. Focus, for now, on just cutting back on your drinking. Down the road you can decide to quit once-and-for-all, if that’s what you want to do.
Once you start cutting back, you’ll be well on your way to feeling healthier and happier than you’ve felt in a long, long time. ♦