An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the DrugAbuse.com Forums?Join or

Do You Believe Someone Who Says They'll "Slowly Cut Back"?

Discussion in 'Questions About Treatment' started by bluedressed, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    Absolutely, I agree. This is why we need to encourage not cutting back slowly, but cutting completely and being dedicated, even if failing is included in the process, you can still make it if you are dedicated to stopping completely and not feeding your minds desire of feeding it a little bit each day.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  2. lulu

    lulu Active Contributor

    If someone really wants to quit for themselves, I do believe they can say they will cut back and do it. They have to want it for it to work. No one can do if they don't believe in themselves.
  3. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    I know from my husbands struggles with addiction that he never wanted to continue using or drinking, but it just had such a strong hold on him. He really did try his best to cut back and do it on his own several times, but addiction doesn't allow that. He described it as an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other shoulder. He said the angel side would tell him that he could do it, and only one or two would be good enough, but the devil side told him different and he literally could not control it and would go back to excessive use. Maybe there are very few addicts that were able to quit this way but I have not heard of any. It would be interesting to hear if someone was able to do this successfully though.
  4. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    It's true because I personally know someone who did do that, but it could be dangerous for those who are so vulnerable and weak to it that if they attempt that, it could only be worse. So I would say that it shouldn't be done only because they would believe in themselves, because it could be harmless, they should it only if there's people and professionals around them to help them through it and monitor it.
  5. EditorsRHumansToo!

    EditorsRHumansToo! Community Champion

    Maybe we write a contract and make them sign it. And then, they surrender their stash, everything. And submit to our commitment to be accountability partners with them to be taken to an AA SMART, HOPE meetings every week. Commit to our exercise/running program we intend to do with them. Enroll in a class he/she is interested doing to get a Certificate or Diploma. That'll keep them busy, with us standing and cheering them on flourish.

    Sounds idealistic. But why not?

    Let's see if how serious they are as much as we take ours to help them.
  6. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    It's a bit difficult though to do that. Because it might also not help if they did fail, writing a contract is not necessarily the best way to do, unless they're sure and committed. I mean it could be really difficult for them and they would have to break their promise and cause misery.
  7. vikkiwinters

    vikkiwinters Member

    There are two sides to this.

    1. A genuine quitter.

    A genuine quitter would do well to slowly cut down and then stop. Withdrawal symptoms will be much less intense with a slow come down.

    2. A liar.

    A liar may lie to others, or to themselves. The basic idea is to project the belief, either inwards or outwards, that the liar can slowly reduce the drug (which means getting better!) without actually having to face the idea of stopping. So you make a token move toward sobriety, without actually planning on reaching the finish line.

    It's pretty damn hard to tell them apart. If you're trying to help someone who plans to try a 'slow reduction' strategy, maybe try getting them to write out a plan with doses per day tapering down to nothing over a reasonably long period. Even if the quitter doesn't follow the plan, they'll see themselves fail to follow the plan; that can be enlightening for the quitter.
  8. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    This is very well put. I think it's true and it makes sense, but one thing is that we cannot completely know of a genuine quitter and a liar, sometimes they might seem genuine and be a liar, and sometimes they might seem a liar and be genuine, so monitoring is absolutely needed though.
  9. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I would only believe them if you can visibly and physically see that they are actually cutting back on the substance they are abusing.
  10. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    You have to believe in that person or he will lose faith in himself. That's the first step. If ever he fails, that doesn't mean you should condemn him or put him in a really tight spot. Keep on encouraging the person so that your faith in him will fuel him to do better and recover with flying colors.
  11. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Well, maybe it would work for some people, but it feels like many people use the "cutting back" way for the precise purpose of having some "free room" as well as some flexibility. If they were the kind of people to sign a contract to document and abide strictly to a process, then I don't think they'd even start out with vague phrases like "I'll slowly cut back!"
  12. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    Perhaps you're right. I think you're right in so many ways, but does it actually apply to all though? I've always thought cutting back slowly was bad, because you're either all in or you're not in if you know what I mean.
  13. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I don't know. I mean, if you can successfully cut back, then all the best for you, you know? There was this guy Alton Brown with food, for instance, he had four list: the eat every day, eat three times a week, eat once a week and never eat/avoid at all times. Which looks pretty sound for creating good habits, because you can make sure that on your daily list, you have plenty of good stuff (green veggies and beans, for instance) and that on your never list (or your "Once in a blue moon" list) you have the stuff that makes you fat/addicted. But "once in a blue moon" and "cutting back" are not clear instructions, so you have a lot of room for interpretation in them. If someone smokes two packs a day and say they'll just smoke 4 smokes a day, it is of course an improvement. But if there is no strong commitment from this person to him/herself, then there might come a point when they can go the opposite direction (from what I observed), where they add to this "just a few", specifically because it's still less than they used to, so what's the harm?
  14. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    Maybe that's right. Also maybe they don't have to cut it at all if they can do well with just a few because if it harms them to try to cut completely and go back to it massively, then what do you think could be the problem if they say, I'll just lessen the amounts? I'm interested in your thoughts about this.
  15. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    You have to be a good friend and make sure that you support them, but truly believing that they will actually do what they say they are going to do is a completely different subject that does not really have anything to do with whether or not you are friends.
  16. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Look, if they have not done anything yet and are still in the process of doing something, then how can you, as someone who isn't in that person's shoes, just judge him or her outright that he won't be able to cut back? You have to give them a chance. Intervene only if after a period of time, all efforts have been for naught.
  17. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I am speaking from experience whenever I say that if they mess up, it is going to be difficult to trust them again. I did not say that if they haven't done anything to not trust them. That's not what I said at all.
  18. GenevB

    GenevB Community Champion

    There's no such thing as slowly cutting it back. There is only one option to do so, you either find another addiction (maybe an emotional one, you get attached to talking or spending time with someone or just another substance) that your desire is diminished to the point that you don't take it anymore (I know one case when one person stopped smoking without even realizing it). Those who are stating they are slowly cutting it back are simply lying to themselves without even realizing it.
  19. Smarty

    Smarty Active Contributor

    In my view, it is possible both ways but much harder if you do it gradually. Perhaps it sounds counter-intuitive, right? I mean, cutting off completely looks much harsher and more cruel... but actually, in the long term I think it's better. Otherwise the thing you are addicted to is still in your life and it would take an incredible amount of control to not go deeper into the addiction again. Maybe if someone is constantly watching you... I can give you an example with jumping. When you jump, you either jump or don't. If you try to half-jump, you are stuck and you really don't know what's going on. You have to be certain that you want to jump. Same thing with cutting off something.
  20. lgdg090596

    lgdg090596 Senior Contributor

    I don't. My mother tried e-cigs once, ended up falling back to real cigs.