Created By: Cao Cao on November 2, 2009

Going Cold Turkey

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Do We Have This One?? I haven't seen it anywhere.

In Real Life, breaking free of a drug addiction is a lengthy process--it takes months and requires medical supervision. In fiction, however, people routinely overcome their substance habit by going through a single self-imposed (and often painful) withdrawal phase, after which they are no longer addicted. Frequently involves locking oneself up in a room or chaining oneself to a bed.

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • November 2, 2009
    Note that though fiction does make going Cold Turkey look easier than it really is, a great many people have kicked habits by going Cold Turkey. If it never worked, we wouldn't have such a name for it... we'd just call it "trying to quit and failing once again".
  • November 2, 2009
    Subverted in Kenny Vs Spenny: Kenny had to act like he was going cold turkey because he pretended to be seriously addicted.
  • November 2, 2009
  • November 3, 2009
    You can find many examples right here on the Wiki by doing a Google Site Search for "cold turkey". It gives you Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Must Have Caffeine and Artistic Stimulation on the first page alone.
  • November 3, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    What about House? They never even showed the real withdrawel.
  • November 3, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    • Charlie on Lost. When you're trapped on a desert island, going cold turkey is really the only option, but he seemed to get over his addiction to heroine pretty smoothly, considering, and even throws his remaining stash into the fire. Unfortunately, another plane is found by the survivors that just happened to be full of smuggled heroine. He finally manages to get rid of that, too, though.
  • November 3, 2009
    Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere kinda already covers this, really...

    I don't think we really need a separate trope just for when someone is going cold turkey, since 100% of the time it turns into the above.
  • November 3, 2009
    the grene kni3t
    Subverted in Royal Pains: Mr. Bryant insists that he can "detox" from his drug addiction alone, and quits cold-turkey in a painful withdrawal montage. At the end of the episode, though, his son catches him sneaking pills again and takes him to a reputable rehab facility.
  • November 3, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • In Real Life, Audie Murphy did this to shake off an addiction to, I think, heroin. Sadly, due to time constraints and more of a focus on the military aspects of his life, this was left out of his biographical movie.
  • November 3, 2009
    My Name Is Earl: Earl forces an old woman (and himself) to quit nicotine cold turkey.

    See also Off The Wagon.
  • November 3, 2009
    Cao Cao
    @ Drac Monster: I disagree that Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere covers this. That was the first thing I checked--that trope is about experiencing the temptation to get back into a habit and/or addiction one has broken from. It says nothing about the process of breaking from said habit and/or addiction in the first place. What Going Cold Turkey is about, is the fictional depiction of overcoming addiction by going through a self-imposed single extended period of deprivation.