You use the phrase ‘Cold Turkey’ to talk about the sudden and total withdrawal from a substance like alcohol or cigarettes, as well as the psychological or physiological effects resulting from that withdrawal. Going ‘Cold Turkey’ means literally stopping such a habit abruptly and completely.
Example in use: “I’m going to quit smoking, cold turkey. It’s faster than stopping gradually and I’ll get healthy quicker.”
The term ‘Cold Turkey’ first recorded appearance was in the early 20th century in a Canadian newspaper. The newspaper, 'The Daily Colonist', used it this way: “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.” This refers to the pale, bumpy appearance of an addict’s skin during withdrawal, when blood is redirected to internal organs.