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How to Get Over Your Addiction Cold Turkey

Updated on February 11, 2014

What is Addiction?

Addiction is where you get so dependent on a person, substance, object or activity that it causes painful withdrawal symptoms when you have to go without it. It is extremely unhealthy to be so attached to anything that it causes pain when you have to go without it.

The danger in having an addiction lies in the fact that it makes you more prone to do insanely dangerous, stupid, risky things in order to satisfy it. For example, someone with a meth addiction is likely to break into other people's houses or rob them at gun point for money to get their next fix. Someone with an addiction to adult websites finds the irresistible urge to always be viewing them at home, work or wherever else he is. This causes him to run the risk of either being discovered by his boss, wife or family members which can lead to him losing his job or family.

You can even have unhealthy addictions to completely healthy things! For example, I have gotten to the point where I am clinically addicted to lifting weights. I know it sounds silly, but it is very serious. The pleasurable chemicals released in ones brain while doing activities such as athletics, fitness and working out are extremely addictive. Many people have gotten to the point where they actually feel depressed, aggressive and moody when circumstances keep them from getting their daily work out.

This article isn't about just one addiction in particular though. This article will help you out by shedding light on your addiction whether it be a porn addiction, masturbation addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, lying addiction (yes, many people are pathological liars) or even in my case, a fitness addiction.

Addictions are not completely psychological. People who have never had an addiction seem to think you can just 'snap out of it' and be completely done. That is nonsense and here's why. The addiction is only 50% psychological and the other 50% is chemical. When you partake in pleasurable activities such as any of the above mentioned things that can become addictions, your brain releases hormones and chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. The types of chemicals released depend on which activity you are involved in. Obviously some activities can be more addictive than other. For example, a heroine addiction would be much more addictive than a pornography addiction, because heroine actually is an external substance that induces your brain to sporadically release insanely large quantities of pleasurable chemicals. However, porn would be more addictive than say a video game addiction, because view undressed people gives your brain a huge release of dopamine, whereas video games only give your brain a slight buzz. I didn't mean to go off on TOO much of a tangent, but my point is that addictions are 50% chemical. The other 50% is composed of your thoughts and mental and emotional cravings that accompany the buzz your addiction gives you.

So now that we are clear on the fact you can't just 'snap out' of an addiction cold turkey, without almost always being bound to relapse, we must face the question how DOES one overcome addiction?

What is Addiction
What is Addiction

How to Overcome Addiction

The strategy presented here is a sure fire way to get over just about any addiction. It is the same strategy you can find being used at rehab centers across the country and that is because it has the highest rate of recovery, without relapse into the addiction.

  • Step 1 - Admit You Have a Problem

Chances are that the whole reason you are reading this article is because you've already taken this first step. If so, congratulations! This is one of the hardest parts on the path to recovery -- taking the first step. When you admit that you have a problem, you then are much easier able to realize that you need to do something to fix it.

  • Step 2 - Talk to Your Family About It

This can be very uncomfortable, depending on what your addiction is. If you have small children, you probably shouldn't trouble them or yourself by telling them about it. Young children do not need that kind of worry. However you should talk to your parents about it and, if you don't have parents, talk to your partner. If you are single, find a good friend who you deeply trust and share your problem with them.

This step is important, because it gives you the opportunity to finally share your frustrations with your addiction with someone else who can listen and possibly help you. Also, because you can ask them to hold you accountable for recovering. Ask them to constantly ask you how you are coming along the recovery process with a detailed report. Having someone to hold you accountable like this is a very effective way of overcoming addictions.

  • Step 3 - Seek Professional Help

If possible, you need to seek professional help. If you have a pornography addiction, go to a counselor who specializes in that field. If you have a drug addiction, go to rehab. Drug addictions are extremely dangerous and should not be taken lightly. If you are addicted to serious drugs, you absolutely NEED to get professional help or else you run the risk of death through overdosing or other scary possibilities.

Seeking professional help adds a second source of someone to hold you accountable for your recovery. This is a vital step in breaking any addiction.

  • Step 4 - Begin Lowering Your Doses of The Addictive Activity

This is exactly what they do in drug rehab. It makes it much easier to get over the addiction without ever having a relapse. I suggest you use this same strategy to overcome any addiction.

Is it an over-eating addiction? Begin eating less and less, gradually, each day. Is it a sex addiction? Cut down the amount of sex you have from several times a day for one week, to once a day the next week, to once every other day the week after that to finally only once or twice a week. No matter what the addiction is, this strategy can be figured into it.

This strategy works and it works well. It makes it much easier to stop on a scientific level, because you're not attempting to suddenly stop the activity that releases all of your pleasure hormones and chemicals in the brain all at once or cold turkey. Your body and mind gradually get used to needing less and less of the stimulation to help you feel good.

The problem with stopping your addiction cold turkey is that it causes major withdrawal symptoms for a long time and ruins your mood. In some cases, such as if it's a heroine addiction, the withdrawals symptoms can actually be so severe that they result in death. When you are suffering intense withdrawal symptoms from deprivation, you run the risk of giving in and falling right back into your addiction. Just remember to take this process slow and you are bound to recover completely soon enough.


Control your addictions.  Don't let them control you.  By using the information above, you will be well on your way to a timely and effective recovery.  Just imagine how it good it will feel to have your self control and freedom back, without always feeling like you have an overwhelming craving you need to satisfy.

One more tip of advice I can give you to help you overcome your addiction is to find a hobby.  Having a hobby not only will take your mind off of the addiction, but it will give you something to start doing whenever you feel the temptation coming on.  As they say, an idle mind is the devil's workshop, so keep your mind active with doing things that you love to do!

Good luck.


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    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 

      6 years ago

      Wow very good article! I love how you talk about the different addictions; I think many people don't realize that you can become addicted to anything or anyone. Have you ever seen the movie "What the bleep do we know" It talks about how our brain makes associations over time creating habits or addictions to those chemicals. Well, thanks for sharing!

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      7 years ago from Southern Clime

      Great article and good strategy!

    • SoberNation profile image


      7 years ago from Boca Raton, Fl

      Awesome hub man. Love the writing style and your expertise in the field!

    • VioletSun profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Jared, wow, I didn't realize that depending on the addiction a certain chemical is released, so that it could be an imbalance in the chemical that could trigger particular addictions. I found this hub very informative and well written.

      Voted up, useful and awesome and shared in twitter!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, I never thought addiction to exercise would be a bad thing, but I guess too much of anything can have negative consequences.

      Right now, I am addicted to Snickers, and I really want to stop eating the two candy bars I've been eating every night. I'm going cold turkey today and will definitely be crocheting a lot tonight. I had only been eating one, but it's up to 2 now. If I go back to one, I'll only want another one, so cold turkey is the path for me on this addiction.

      I recently quit coffee cold turkey which involved 48 hours of withdrawal symptoms, i.e., a headache that just kept getting worse and worse, jittery nerves and irritability. During the second day, I had to take 2 Tylenol and sleep for several hours. But since I've quit coffee before, I knew what to expect and knew how to manage the withdrawal symptoms.

      I also quit cigarette smoking cold turkey back in the mid-80s. I participated in a quit smoking program sponsored by a 7 Day Adventist hospital. I could go cold turkey only because my cigarette smoking wasn't severe - it took me several days to finish a pack. That's one addiction I haven't returned to - cigarette smoke now makes me nauseous.

      I'm not necessarily advocating cold turkey as a method, just saying that it IS possible, but each person has to decide for themselves, along with professional help in the case of severe addictions, the route that's best for them.

      Anyway, this is a very informative hub, Jared. Rated up and useful.


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