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The consumption of alcohol has many effects on a person, one of which is the lowering of inhibitions. It can make a person feel more confident in their abilities, eliminate self-consciousness and doubt, and just plain make things seem less frightening. As a result, some people will consume alcohol in a deliberate attempt to bolster their courage before doing something they consider scary or intimidating.
The fearsome event can be anything from relatively minor (giving a speech) to life-altering (proposing marriage) to life-threatening (actual combat); the key to this trope is that someone (usually the drinker) feels the anticipated event warrants the alcoholic aid. Occasionally, the booze is provided by someone else who thinks it will be helpful.
Contrast Drowning My Sorrows
(in which a character drinks to forget something that makes them feel sad or depressed), I Need a Freaking Drink
(in which a character consumes a stress-reducing drink after
the event, not before) and In Vino Veritas
(in which a character speaks their thoughts a little too
openly when drunk).
- In Darling Lili, Bill and Lili discuss the perpetually drunk pilot T.C.:
Lili: Why does he drink?
Bill: Because he's afraid to fly.
Lili: Then why does he fly?
Bill: Because he likes to drink.
- In the film Detroit Rock City, the character Hawk enters an amateur competition at a male strip club in an attempt to win money to buy concert tickets. Because he has stuch horrible stage fright he drinks several cocktails before going on stage... and subsequently pukes all over the place.
- In the film version of Return of the King, Samwise Gamgee chugs an entire mug of ale before asking Rosie to dance with him.
- In The Dark Knight Alfred Pennyworth offers "liquid courage" to Harvey Dent face the crowd in his own party.
- After the bar brawl in Serenity, Jayne was freaked out by River even in her confinement. He wouldn't have confronted her if he was sober, especially considering that was close to the mistake that almost got him thrown out of the airlock during the TV show.
- In the book of The Wizard of Oz, the "courage" that the Cowardly Lion is given is in a liquid form.
- P.G. Wodehouse loves this trope. Several of his books feature timid young men having a slug of brandy or the like when nerving themselves up to propose to their dream girls. A particularly notable example is in Right Ho, Jeeves, when both Jeeves and Bertie separately spike Gussie Fink-Nottle's orange juice before he has to make a prize-giving speech at a local school. They each intend to give him a little extra "courage" without his knowledge, but it leads to Gussie showing up completely plastered.
- Discworld. In Carpe Jugulum, Nanny Ogg tells Agnes that vampire hunters get roaring drunk before setting out, both to encourage themselves and to prevent Mind Control (if their own minds are muddled, the vampire can't control the person entirely). Leeroy Jenkins when drunk.
- The Smart Guy Matthew Berdishevsky in Pelagia and the Red Rooster (spin-off of the Erast Fandorin) is usually prim and proper to a fault, but when The Power of Love hits him, he starts drinking and suddenly goes all James Bond on the baddies.
- In the board game Red November, gnome sailors on a prototype submarine have to survive 60 minutes until they get rescued while the ship is struck by all kinds of disasters and a colossal Kraken is lurking outside. When a gnome wishes to enter a burning room, he has to either use a fire extinguisher or drink a bottle of vodka to brave the flames.
- In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) the actor playing Romeo is about to drink the poison, kiss the actor (note: actor) playing Juliet, and die. He swigs, looks at the man lying down in front of him, pauses with disgust and indecision, then takes another swig of "poison" as if he needs it to deaden his senses for the kiss ahead.
- In the game Eternal Darkness, Edward Roivas starts off his level with many doses of a drink called "Liquid Courage"- which refills your sanity meter. Though it's not explicitly stated to be alcohol, rather than some psychiatric potion made by him.
- Krasovsky was fired from the government-backed cable network that he had helped launch within hours of the broadcast.