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Cold turkey quitters

Old 12-15-2012, 11:30 AM
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Cold turkey quitters

In the interest of full disclosure, I did just literally eat a cold turkey sandwhich (with provolone cheese) for lunch so it is something I know a little bit about...

I am almost a month into quitting alcohol. I don't know if my approach counts as cold turkey since I'm trying to be an active member of the SR community, but I am trying to do this without a program.

Well, I noticed that most of the threads in here deal with AVRT or RR or whatnot, but I was wondering if anyone else (esp. atheist/agnostic) is having success with the old fashioned approach. By that I mean without any programs, meetings, counseling, etc?

When I first decided to quit I thought I was going to need AA or something like that. I looked up the 12 steps, read through them and I decided that it wasn't for me. I came on here and looked at the secular recovery threads, and I still haven't quite found somebody who's got the same mentality as I do when it comes to addiction and recovery.

The thing is I want to live the rest of my life sober, but I am not looking for some kind of holy grail spiritual epiphany. I feel like I can do this sheerly by way of my own will power. I want to be who I am, believe the things I believe, just without being a drinker anymore.

So, I am trying to commit to lifelong alcohol abstinence, without AA or any alternative to AA. And the thing is, I think this is the only way for me. It's hard to explain, but I think my point of view when it comes to things like life and death, and meaning in life, and morality and how to live, it all has nothing to with alcoholism or addiction. Nothing at all. Alcoholism is genetic, it's bad luck. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's something you have to struggle with, but that's life- its just a constant fight for survival. That's how it's meant to be, that's how it is for everyone, alcoholic or not.

One thing to be clear about-- I'm NOT looking to criticize other people's approach to sobriety or quitting drinking/drugs. I am just looking to discuss sobriety with people like me who want to be cold turkey quitters. I think it's possible and for me at least, its working out so far. I would especially like to hear from people who have been sober for years without any programs or meetings or counseling, etc.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:15 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, there is no one best way to get sober.

If something works, it works.

Regarding the genetics, that is just one risk factor of many.

I do however believe that if someone is addicted to alcohol, simply quitting drinking and not working on the 'self' and not changing ones lifestyle will likely not work for the long term.

The statistics do seem to support a much higher long term success rate for those who seek help, as opposed to those who go it alone.

With help - approximately 38% relapse rate over three years.

Without help - approximately 57% relapse rate over three years.

Good luck.

Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:30 PM
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It was my pattern to always quit cold turkey and without any outside help, with one exception. The exception was when results became more important to me than methods.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:45 PM
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I quit with 'just' the help of SR (I say 'just' because the support here was simply invaluable).

I was ready to quit tho - I'd nearly destroyed my life and myself.

Acceptance was the key for me.

I tried before - lots of times before - with willpower...but part of my will still wanted to drink...I wanted to be that guy who could drink, not lose control, and not have to carry on for a week afterwards...

But I was never that guy - and I needed to accept that.

I needed to accept my relationship with alcohol was a toxic one and always will be.

I had to commit to a future without booze - however rough that may be in the short term, I trusted the people here at SR who said it was the best decision they ever made.

They were right

D
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by pkrma View Post
Alcoholism is genetic, it's bad luck. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's something you have to struggle with, but that's life- its just a constant fight for survival. That's how it's meant to be, that's how it is for everyone, alcoholic or not.
Well, life is absolutely not a constant fight for survival for me, okay?

Alcoholism as genetic bad luck? Perhaps. And perhaps not. Alcoholism is not so easily defined, and there are several schools of thought still seeking a finalised universal definition.

I don't struggle with alcoholism either. That particular struggle ended very quickly when I quit drinking and my alcoholism morphed into remission.

It won't matter much really how you quit drinking at the end of the day. You'll be much more concerned about your own happiness and quality of life then how you finally quit, you know? Quitting isn't the big deal. Living a life alcohol free is the prize.

Nobody gets extra points for having the best quitting model or method or nothing around here. We simply quit, and we get on with our lives. How we choose to live our lives is our own business, and our choices mean everything to us and very little to others, is my experience.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:18 PM
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Pkrma, like you, I have quit alcohol cold turkey and also without the use of any defined program methodology. I am at 6 months sober. Most of the reasoning you specified in your decision to use no outside program mirrors my thinking. I have found that my thoughts about the effects of alcohol on my life and thought process are evolving as the length of time sober increases. I realize that lots of things about the way I perceived life were skewed by my immoderate and habitual use of alcohol. So I am finding that in my personal journey, reading and practicing mindfulness is very helpful in digging out of the old alcoholic debris. There is a journey here, one of self discovery, if you have spent most of your adult life drinking whenever emotionally charged issues surfaced. I totally agree it does not have to be done according to some existing dogma.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:08 PM
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I quit, cold turkey as you say, without benefit of a sandwich too. Mind was made up, not drinking any more, period. Now, some might say that I am a lazy sort of person, but I think I'm just highly efficient. I started looking for the easiest, laziest way to stay sober. The way I did it was to say I didn't drink anymore, and those thoughts I had about drinking were just physical or emotional weaknesses that I had developed along with my addiction. I separated my goals for myself for the future from these urges, and proceeded like this for a couple of weeks, further developing this separation in my mind. When I read about AVRT, I learned that was what I had been doing all along. Did I imagine a beast, or a parasite? No, not really, but I did choose to make the thoughts of drinking 'ego alien', that is to say that they weren't my thoughts but the thoughts of that weakness that I would overcome.

Did I get quit by using a program, or not? I don't think I used a program, I just quit the same way that many have used before me. Some of those ex-alcoholics contributed to the collected lore of success that became AVRT, but I wasn't one of them.

I say that I quit by using AVRT, but that is because I am lazy (see para. 1). That way, I don't have to type it all out every time.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:30 PM
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Wow thanks a bunch everyone for contributing to the discussion it's certainly made me reflect on my original post. One response that really stood out to me was this:

Originally Posted by hamabi View Post
It was my pattern to always quit cold turkey and without any outside help, with one exception. The exception was when results became more important to me than methods.
... I'm not sure, but it sounds a bit like "the ends justify the means."

And that's the thing for me that I sometimes worry about. Because, as much as I do want to quit drinking forever, I am not sure how far I would go to get sober. The thing is I'm just skeptical of programs, associations, clubs, collectives, ideologies etc. There is alot of rhetoric out there, sometimes it can be difficult to keep a level head. I think as a person trying to get sober, there's always the danger that the desperation to quit could lead me to deluding myself into believing in things that aren't true.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pkrma
The thing is I want to live the rest of my life sober, but I am not looking for some kind of holy grail spiritual epiphany. I feel like I can do this sheerly by way of my own will power. I want to be who I am, believe the things I believe, just without being a drinker anymore.
So do it. I do.

I have been to therapy and have done some reflection on my life. I've made changes so that my life is the way I want it to be. I believe very strongly in personal responsibility. I also believe in personal growth. Let me be clear though, none of that "got me sober or is keeping me sober". I am a non-drinker and have been since the moment I made that very purposeful decision.
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:31 PM
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i use smart, but mostly go at it on my own. i think a commitment (like youve said) is all it takes. although, a serious one on a deep level. if i cant keep that important commitment to myself, what can i do? anyways, its good to know that there is help out there if and when i need it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:33 PM
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members are reminded 12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed.

Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.

D
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:24 AM
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I feel somewhat silly pointing out the obvious here, but since no one else has...

Originally Posted by pkrma View Post
I am almost a month into quitting alcohol.
This just doesn't add up with a cold turkey approach. You are a month "into quitting" alcohol? What does that mean, exactly? Do you mean that you haven't actually quit drinking? That you might drink some more? How long do you reckon this cold turkey quitting thing is supposed to be dragged out for?

When someone quits smoking 'cold turkey', they just knock it off, kind of like ripping a bandage off in one fast motion. If you're a month "into ripping off the bandage," then you haven't actually ripped it off. Similarly, if you're a month "into throwing a ball," then you haven't actually thrown it.

You might still be swinging your arm, but you haven't actually let go of the ball yet. It is the same with quitting the alcohol. You can either play the "being into quitting" game, leaving the door wide open for more drinking, or you can finally let go of that last bottle.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalek View Post
You are a month "into quitting" alcohol? What does that mean, exactly?
Sorry, I guess I should have said "I quit a month ago."
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:18 PM
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3 weeks here, I'm using the Allen Carr Easy way method so not using any willpower. It's working good so far.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pkrma View Post
Sorry, I guess I should have said "I quit a month ago."
RE your secular approach. I follow no religion yet I keep an open mind relevant to cosmic possibilities. In other words I am a secular and spiritual ponderer.

I haven't been to A.A. for years. I like their higher self concept; this doesn't involve Buddha, Jesus, Yahweh, Brahmin or any other God; quite simply, as I see it, there is a bit of idealism involved metaphysically.

Good luck.....I am 33 days today.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pkrma View Post
Sorry, I guess I should have said "I quit a month ago."
OK. Yet, you wrote the following in your subsequent post to the one I quoted, in response to hamabi's clear suggestion that just quitting doesn't produce results, and that you need something else -- "outside help" -- to get the job done.

Originally Posted by pkrma View Post
... I'm not sure, but it sounds a bit like "the ends justify the means."

And that's the thing for me that I sometimes worry about. Because, as much as I do want to quit drinking forever, I am not sure how far I would go to get sober.
So, you say that you've quit drinking, but it also sounds like you seriously doubt that you have actually quit, and you even mention "trying to get sober", when you have, in fact, been "sober" for a month. Where is all this doubt coming from?

Why did Hamabi's response stand out so much? It suggests, and dare I say, even predicts, a lack of success at quitting cold turkey, so don't casually dismiss being drawn to it. What is so very interesting about his suggestion of not being able to just quit drinking?
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalek View Post
Why did Hamabi's response stand out so much? It suggests, and dare I say, even predicts, a lack of success at quitting cold turkey, so don't casually dismiss being drawn to it. What is so very interesting about his suggestion of not being able to just quit drinking?
I wouldn't be willing to lie to myself to quit drinking. If accepting reality meant accepting a certain undesirable fate, so be it. And if in your mind that predicts a lack of success in my sobriety, good for you, it has no bearing at all on my choice to not drink.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:03 PM
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Hi,

I'm a 99.99999% Atheist leaning Agnostic who's perceptive to occasional Animistic Whisperings. That said, I quit cold turkey almost 2.5 years ago.

Ten years before trying to quit drinking, I had an absolutely horrible experience trying to quit smoking cigarettes. Try as I might, I somehow always found myself close to a store with the money in my pocket, or repeatedly planned ahead how I would fail next.

Then I read about addiction and the physiological reasons for feeling all those confusing emotions, thoughts from nowhere, and unstoppable urges.

I don't know if my interpretation is correct, but it worked for me. What I learned was that deep in the brain, in the Limbic System and lower, my brain had in essence produced a garden of extra Dopamine receptors to greedily consume compounds in the cigarettes which brought short term bliss and happiness to my brain.

When not getting what they want, they use every single evolutionary trick in the book to get that feeling again. Back in the mists of time, well before we became Human, this was a good thing as it gave us those feelings we feel when we fall in love, consume delicious food, or have sex.

Withdrawal is what we experience when those receptors don't get what they need.

Urges and unplanned for decisions that have you standing outside the store with the money in your hand..."It was like I was on autopilot"...are those receptors guiding and manipulating the rest of your conscious, thinking brain into doing exactly opposite of what it knows is harmful to it.

Crazy, or what?

What I learned quitting cigarettes gave me a roadmap of success to beating addiction that I could apply to my drinking way too much alcohol.

I had learned that urges come as bell curves; slowly first, then building in intensity, and gradually fading away. Knowing this you can ride them out, breathing deeply, because you know they'll fade away and also become less frequent with time. They will disappear in time as the garden of receptors shrinks in size and regain their balance, but there are other insidious tricks coming...

Even years later you have to be ready for the quietly sneaky, subversively logical, but most dangerous tricks of all...the intrusive little thoughts which make it seem that it would be a most sensible idea to have just one sip, or just one drink. These are actually very strong...the sort of elemental urges that push birds or whales for thousands of miles of migration.

You must remember, always, that one drink will always equal many, many, many more!

(Do some google searches for articles on the physiological reasons for addiction, but stick to peer reviewed scientific articles...not the ones from places or people who have something to gain from them).

Hope this helps in some small way, but know it is possible. Again though, just one drink will fire up those latent receptors and you will crash and burn worse very single time...just read all the relapse stories here on SR with cold dread.

Hope you find your own way

Murray
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:08 PM
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Here's something I wrote on day 364;


Originally Posted by Murray4x5 View Post
Hi all you newcomers,

Today is day 364 without a drink for me, and I thought I would drop in and share a few things with you.

- Long, slow deep breaths can quieten urges.

- One single drink will equal many, many more.

- Writing down and sharing your feelings here on SR helps you straighten out your thoughts.

- Alcoholism is a one-way downward slope anybody can choose to step off of.

- Long walks are good for the spirit.

- Being really hungry throws gasoline on urges.

- Stay hydrated, with water.

- It took years or decades to do the damage; give yourself time to give recovery a chance.

- As bad as early recovery is, each sober day gets you further from it.

- As weird as it sounds, choosing to never drink again, ever, is easier than trying to stop for a while.

Take care everyone, and I hope your days get better and better as time flows on
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:09 PM
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Cold turkey over here as well. Joined SR about a month into recovery, but other than that I did it by maximizing will power and putting faith in God. But I agree, in order for it to be 100% effective your lifestyle has to change and you really have to work on yourself. Alcohol affected many areas of my life, I'm learning how to socialize without booze, have fun without booze, and develop new interests outside of drinking. I've also become really spiritual, and as corny as it sounds I feel like I've become a better person and general.
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