An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the DrugAbuse.com Forums?Join or

When quitting alcohol consumption: Cold turkey or moderation?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by JoanMcWench, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. JoanMcWench

    JoanMcWench Community Champion

    This has always been a tough question to tackle because it seems like a lot of people (whether speaking with a doctor or a counselor) tend to lie about their actual level of consumption. In order to really figure out whether someone can cut alcohol out without weening themselves off of it you need a level of honesty concerning consumption & habits.

    However, overall moderation is a slippery slope. While it may help you continue to cut back as oppose to the system shock of cold turkey you may be unable to control yourself when it comes to alcohol at all. Are there two sides to this coin? Do you feel there is only one way to properly quit?
  2. Auril

    Auril Active Contributor

    If you are a heavy drinker, stopping cold turkey can be very dangerous or even deadly. Alchohol withdrawal can actually kill a person. The safest way to do it is in a hospital, under a doctor's care. It is still dangerous though. In March I spent a week in a psychiatric hospital for depression, there were many people on the unit detoxing. My second night there one of the men detoxing from alchohol went into a code blue (heart stopped beating). Despite their best efforts they couldn't revive him and he died due to his attempt at detoxing.
  3. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I've always said that I think gradually cutting down the intake of any substance is always the best way to go. That way your body doesn't get that initial shock to the system and your mind is also weened off it, rather than having to cope suddenly with a substance not being there.

    A lot of people think the opposite, and they say the only way to quit is cold turkey though, so I guess every situation and person is different.
  4. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    I always thought that cold turkey would be the way to go. In my partner's case he can't stop at having a few. A few would lead to over consumption. He doesn't know his limit. One drink just makes him want more. I guess every individual would be different. Cutting back may work for some people but definitely not for all.
  5. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    For those who are not full blown alcoholics, I think cutting back on consumption does work. For those who drink very heavily, they need to be under medical care. If your routine is to go home and drink 4 glass of wine or a 6 pack, you can gradually wean yourself off of it.
  6. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Alcohol is a trap. You have to tough it out. Make that decision and go cold turkey. It's like anything that is addictive you have to consciously decide and dive out, so to speak. More than likely it is better to not beat yourself up for slipping up here and there when you give in. This makes guilt which in turn breeds more mistakes. Next thing you know you are right back where you started. Acknowledging to yourself that you have come a long way and doing well. A daily journal like a food or beverage journal to track your patterns. Log it down when you slip up and take a look at the rest of that day. The day before it and any stress that was happening. More than likely when you slip up you didn't eat and drink enough of the right things. Something stressed you and you went for it. When your body is hungry or thirsty; stress will dictate your compulsions. When you are full and hydrated you will be more satisfied and in control.
    The thing that amazes me is some people don't have respect for your decision and lifestyle. They wonder why you cut them out too. Like when someone pressures you to drink or shoves it in your face or happily drinks in front of you. Even after you state what you are doing and how you want to quit. It's just disrespectful and so inconsiderate. It's just better to keep the ones that support your changes and the rest out. They will just drag you down if you don't.
  7. BrandonA

    BrandonA Active Contributor

    It depends on the person. Some people are so dependent on alcohol for their daily operation that cold turkey is too much of a dropoff. Alcohol detox is a real thing for a reason. For mild alcoholism, however, self-weaning can be done, but it's tricky. Your mind will start playing tricks on you that it wasn't playing before, in an attempt to maintain even a mild level of intake. A person cutting alcohol should be prepared for that, and have every resource focused on their objective.
  8. Rex

    Rex Community Champion

    Cold turkey. Ones never enough when you have a problem, some will say differently but in my opinion its cols turkey. There will be the addict inside of your head telling you that its ok. But if we are being serious with ourselve the only way to ever be free of drink is by cutting it out of our lives completly
  9. Jane

    Jane Active Contributor

    I think it really truly depends on the person, their struggles, and the overall goal.

    If it's an alcoholic that needs to quit entirely, then it may be better to go cold turkey. For someone who wants to still be able to drink occasionally, but needs to drastically cut back or had a scary experience, etc, then slowly backing off might be better. Going cold turkey may be too hard and they may end up binging instead of being able to stay on track and just not drink quite as much.
  10. Zimbitt

    Zimbitt Senior Contributor

    Well it depends on the person, for some it would be better to go cold turkey and they could handle it both physically and mentally. For some if they just stopped cold turkey they would literally die from having been drunk for so long their body goes into shock, others can't force themselves to drink in moderation there is just one line and that is go hard.
  11. Thejamal

    Thejamal Active Contributor

    Completely agree with this. It depends on what level someone is trying to cut back on their alcohol consumption from, but its always safer to consult a doctor on what the best way is to cut back on drinking. Maybe for some people, cutting out cold turkey is possible. Asking a professional is the best way to know for sure.

    No matter what, I think its important that there are people there to help the alcoholic get through the detox phase, so they don't get tempted into relapse. Family, AA meetings. I have family members who have gone through the process and they greatly depended on those support outlets.
  12. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Much as I don't favor weaning yourself off alcohol I know that for some people that would be the only way to get clean if they want to get overcome their addiction. For those who haven't been abusing alcohol over a long period of time and in large quantities, quitting cold turkey would be the better option.
  13. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    In my personal opinion, cutting back doesn't really work. Because the risk of overindulging in alcohol again, as soon as there are some emotional, psychological, or spiritual difficulties, is very high. I would recommend to completely cut all ties with alcohol, and deal with the consequences of it. Getting the shakes, nightmares, sweats, depression, anxiety, and all the other "wonderful" symptoms of withdrawal, are eye openers in themselves. A lot of people only realize how addicted and ill they are, once they start experiencing those symptoms.
  14. Cheeky_Chick

    Cheeky_Chick Community Champion

    I think that if you know that you have a problem, and you're willing to accept that, you need to try and cut the substance out of your life as soon as you possibly can. The thing is with addiction that a small amount of something is never going to be enough, and you're just going to want to drink more and more - so you're better not getting the taste for it in the first place. This is what I have always though anyway, and it is much healthier for you to do it this way than any other.
  15. JonnyMacdonald

    JonnyMacdonald Community Champion

    I found cold turkey was the only thing that really worked.
    The moderation thing was just a lie I told myself, It would only keep me drinking under the guise of drinking less.
    Thing is once I had that first beer all bets were off, I might only have one or two or I might go overboard.
    I had to stop at once, but everyone needs help. Thanks to God and a great support network I did it.
    Try going cold turkey with as much help as you need, be that spiritual or medical.
  16. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    My biological dad quit cold turkey right after a near fatal accident, and never looked back. He is 75 years old and hasn't even relapsed. I don't see him or talk to him often, but I am pretty sure he is still alcohol free. As for me, well, I also quit cold turkey :) I drink once a year a bit during special occasions, but that is as far as I ever get ;)
  17. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    No such thing as moderation for me. When I start drinking, I can't stop. It start with one, and then I say to myself, "well I might as well keep it going or it will be a waste of alcohol". So I believe in going cold turkey. Just stop taking it and it won't get to that point where I have to take it to the limit.
  18. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    Cold turkey never worked out for me. No matter how much I tried, I just couldn't bluntly quit since the next day I would be back to my old bad habits.
    By gradually reducing how much alcohol I was drinking everyday I was able to reduce the craving feelings to 0, and after two years of being sober I don't even know what alcohol is anymore.