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Question by Smile!: Where does the phrase “going cold turkey” come from?

Best answer:

Answer by Monty
“”Cold turkey” is an expression describing the actions of a person who gives up a habit or addiction all at once. That is, rather than gradually easing the process through reduction or by using replacement medication. Its supposed advantage is that by not actively using supplemental methods, the person avoids thinking about the habit and its temptation, and avoids further feeding the chemical addiction. The supposed disadvantages related to the abuse of drugs such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and heroin are unbearable withdrawal symptoms from the total absence, which may cause tremendous stress on the heart and blood vessels and — in a worst case scenario — possible stroke or heart failure.

The etymology derives from the phrase talk turkey, in which someone deals matter-of-factly with a subject. Some, however, believe the derivation is from the comparison of a cold turkey carcass and the state of a withdrawing addict — most notably, the cold sweats and goose bumps. It is often preceded by the verb “to go,” as in “going cold turkey.” Yet another suggestion of origin is that cold turkey is a dish that needs little or no preparation. “To quit like cold turkey” would be to quit in the same way a cold turkey is served, instantly just as you are without preparation.

Answer by –>The Reverend
Cold turkey refers to the clammy, cold, sweaty and goose bumped state of the heroin addict that is trying to “kick” the habit. This happens when the junkie decides to give up heroin without any sort of support mechanism – such as methadone – to take the place of the heroin. The body reacts by turning cold, clammy, sweaty, and the skin resembles that of a cold turkey.

‘Without preparation’. First used in correlation with withdrawl from an addictive substance in the 1920s with regards to heroin addiction. The idea being that “cold turkey” is a food that requires little to no preparation to eat – hence doing something “cold turkey” means the action will be done without preparation & immediately. Also connected to the notion that the symptoms of withdrawl from many substances include cold sweats (moisture), and sallow skin – much like that of a cold, dead, turkey.

Immediate, complete withdrawal from something, especially an addictive substance; also, without planning or preparation. For example, My bad shoulder forced me to quit playing tennis cold turkey, or I’d never done any rock climbing, but decided to try it cold turkey. This term may have come from the earlier expression talk turkey (for blunt speaking). At first used strictly for abrupt withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, it soon was transferred to quitting any habit or activity.

By 1922, cold turkey was not always a leftover from Thanksgiving dinner. For an addict, it was quite the opposite. “This method of sudden withdrawall,” explained a writer that year, “is described in the jargon of the jail as ‘the cold turkey’ treatment,” It meant “to immediately and completely give up a substance, such as narcotics or alcohol, to which one was addicted.”

The shock to the system was such that few addicts voluntarily chose it. “Mention of the ‘cold turkey treatment’ gives a chill of horror to a drug addict,” said Newsweek in 1933. “It means being thrown in jail with his drug supply completely cut off.” And Mickey Spillane wrote in I, the Jury (1947), “I doubt if you can comprehend what it means to one addicted to narcotics to go ‘cold turkey’ as they call it.”

This use of cold turkey is an outgrowth of a previous sense, attested as early as 1910, meaning “extreme plainness and directness,” going back to talk turkey, attested in 1830. Carl Sandburg used the term this way in a 1922 letter: “I’m going to talk cold turkey with the booksellers about the hot gravy in the stories.”


Of course, the term ‘cold turkey’ in the literal ‘cold meat’ sense appears many times in recipes – ‘cold turkey salad’ etc. Neither of the meanings above appear to have any allusory link back to that though.

The most common use of the term is now in relation to drug withdrawal. The earliest reference I can find to that is from the Canadian newspaper The Daily Colonist, October 1921:

“Perhaps the most pitiful figures who have appeared before Dr. Carleton Simon..are those who voluntarily surrender themselves. When they go before him, they [drug addicts] are given what is called the ‘cold turkey’ treatment.”

The 1936 edition of American Speech gave a definition of the term:

“Cold turkey, treatment of addicts in institutions where they are taken off drugs suddenly without the ‘tapering off’ which the addict always desires.”

The ‘plain talking/getting down to business’ meaning of the term is largely limited to the U.S.A. The English newspaper The Daily Express explained that for an English audience in a January 1928 edition:

“She talked cold turkey about sex. ‘Cold turkey’ means plain truth in America.”

There are many uses of the term in U.S. citations from the early 20th century. For example, this from The Oakland Tribune, August 1915:

“This letter talks cold turkey. It gets down to brass.”

In the state of drug withdrawal the addict’s blood is directed to the internal organs, leaving the skin white and with goose bumps. It has been suggested that this is what is alluded to by ‘cold turkey’. That seems doubtful. It is much more likely that the allusion is to the direct, no nonsense approach indicated by the earlier ‘plain speaking’ meaning of the term.

New Addiction Helpline in Manorville, NY Assists Troubled Teens Suffering From
The Alcoholism Treatment Manorville Helpline is (631) 693-6821. Teenagers can call this helpline to find a drug detoxification treatment center that can best help them surpass their addiction problems. Once admitted into a teenage rehab facility, they …
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South Jersey short on treatment sites for drug addicts
Atlantic County has about 180 beds between the Lighthouse in Mays Landing and the John Brooks Recovery Center in Atlantic City, while Ocean County has 38 beds at Sunrise Detox in Toms River. Years ago, when she still used drugs, Bacon had little …
Read more on Press of Atlantic City

New Addiction Helpline in Chenango, NY Provides Substance Abuse Recovery
The helpline gives information on the treatments and programs available at teen rehabilitation facilities. Some of the common programs at rehabs consist of group therapy, individual therapy, drug detox, and education programs. The answers to tons of …
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'We're all paying:' Heroin spreads misery in US
Fitzgerald knows that many of the clients he sees at 25 may be back in rehab at 35, but he tries to remain optimistic that some of what they learn at Central City will, ultimately, make a difference. “That's about all you can do,” he says, “hope some …
Read more on Chronicle-Telegram

Heroin Use Rising in Corpus Christi
Many of the calls range from people wanting to get on a detox program or wanting to join a 12 step program. … If you know someone who is struggling with Heroin addiction there are a couple different recovery centers in Corpus Christi that can help.
Read more on KRIS Corpus Christi News

Cork treatment centre trains addicts in resuscitation skills in effort to
A Cork treatment centre is training people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol in resuscitation skills in a bid to prevent death from overdose. The quality improvement initiative at Arbour House, a non-residential centre for people with alcohol and …
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Campbell County jail to treat for heroin addiction
The offices of the Campbell County District Court at 600 Columbia St., Newport, will be converted to house a 108-bed facility to treat inmates with substance abuse addictions with a focus on heroin. (Photo: Chris Mayhew/The Community Recorder ) …

5 things to know about heroin use, getting help
FILE – In this Monday, May 6, 2013 file photo, a drug addict prepares a needle to inject himself with heroin in front of a church in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong). 1. Tuesday, April 8, 2014. PrintEmail Comments … helpline …
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Drug company sues state over painkiller ban
Patrick has called Zohydro a significant risk to drug addicts and the public at large. “Every opioid medication is addictive,” Galer said. “We are not alone. We should not be singled out. … Our goal is for the governor to remove the ban and to be …
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Passages Malibu Marks Alcohol Awareness Month
“In our clinical experience at Passages, young people with unresolved traumatic experiences or mental health issues are particularly at risk for becoming dependent on alcohol,” said Pax Prentiss, CEO of Passages Addiction Treatment Centers. “As a …
Read more on PR Web (press release)

Study shows important parallels between epidemic of HIV/AIDS and opioid
These are the findings of a comparative review of HIV/AIDS and addiction by researchers Josiah D. Rich, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, based at The Miriam Hospital; Traci C. Green, Ph.D., MSc, Department of …

The scourge of heroin addiction
The governor's directives, which include public health advisories to educate the public about opioid addiction treatment options, will hopefully demystify common misperceptions, such as crime increases when there is a treatment center in one's …
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How Pakistan succumbed to a hard-drug epidemic
The explosion of heroin addiction and the rise of Afghanistan-Pakistan jihadis are inextricably linked; significant elements of the mujahideen Taliban fund their holy wars against the kuffar through the drug trade. Afghanistan produces an estimated 60 …

Freiberg is Circuit Court judge candidate
In accordance with the law, offenders must also be required to complete a drug rehabilitation program to break the cycle of addiction. “As judge, I would seek to expand our existing drug court program and seek to increase participation in local, faith …
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Esperance one of the worst places for prescription drug abuse: rehab doctor
Dr George O'Neil runs drug rehabilitation clinic Fresh Start in Perth and says Esperance is one of the worst affected areas he has encountered through the clinic. Print page; Email this · Permalink. Share. Dr O'Neil said opioid abuse is rife in …
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Our view: Opioids' ruinous grip
The local prosecutor urged continued tough penalties for heroin and cocaine convictions, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported, and dismissed a 28-day drug rehabilitation program the courts often divert users into as "a waste of time." But, more …
Read more on Roanoke Times

Question by Sunshine: Does anyone know about “Rational Recovery?” Has it worked for anyone you know?

Best answer:

Answer by NothingToLose
If you are referring to the program created by Jack Trimpey, which refers to AVRT or the “addictive voice”, then yes I know about it and it works. I highly recommend it.

I am a spiritual person, I believe in God and the “higher power” BUT when it comes to addiction, it is terribly important to understand that our brains and minds function on so many complicated levels – if you stop to think about what an addiction is (to drugs, pills, alcohol, nicotine), then the process described by the Rational Recovery method makes perfect sense.

It’s easy to read all of the negative “press” that this guy has received and believe it, but the bottom line is – do you (or whoever the addicted person is) want to continue to give up all control over your life?

It is not for the faint-hearted or weak willed – if you embark on this process, YOU will be accountable to YOURSELF – for some people that is the scariest part of the process.

Hope that answers your question. It works, but YOU HAVE TO WORK TOO. Just like anything else.

Heroin Addiction

Beer to be marketed as post-workout recovery drink
Lean Machine is referred to as a "recovery ale" and supposed to be a healthy alternative to traditional ales. It contains 77 calories, but don't expect to get drunk from it: It only contains 0.5% alcohol — about a tenth of an American pale ale, which …
Read more on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)

The Condition Many Recovering Addicts And Alcoholics Don't Know About
No one said recovery would be easy. And for the majority of addicts and alcoholics, detox is just the beginning. While addiction specialists may know about post-acute withdrawal syndrome (protracted withdrawal syndrome), or PAWS, many addicts and much …
Read more on Huffington Post

Natural recovery from alcohol problems is possible, but more research is needed
drinking Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health hope to learn how problem drinkers quit misusing alcohol on their own, so others with similar issues can benefit from the findings. “The traditional view is that …
Read more on UAB News