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Bob likes his booze. A lot.
He may be a recreational alcoholic, or drinks to escape remembering
his Dark and Troubled Past
. Fate, being a cruel and fickle mistress, has other ideas. Alice drags Bob (usually shambling and slurring rather than kicking and screaming) somewhere without liquor of any kind. The reasons vary; Alice may be doing an intervention, she may be trying to save his life from people out for his blood, or Bob (all by his lonesome) stumbled onto a bus
to a place where the only spirits are of the figurative variety.
Effectively, Bob has been nailed to the wagon
and will be forced to go sober against his wishes. He'll whine, complain and take every opportunity to get a drop of booze. (Oddly, he will seldom see Pink Elephants
, although in Real Life
, they are the consequences of withdrawal rather than drunkenness.) However, once he's over a rather epic hangover and finishes his physical withdrawal, he'll do the emotional equivalent of curling into a ball in a corner because now he can no longer avoid facing his life. If he can resolve whatever emotional hangups were leading him to drink the sadness away, he may decide that being sober is better, and it will stick. If he's fundamentally unchanged, he'll jump Off The Wagon
into the nearest vat of beer.
Despite the use of beer in the description, this trope also applies to other forms of drugs. Notably caffeine
. Compare Going Cold Turkey
, when the sudden withdrawal is a voluntary decision on Bob's part.
Compare No Matter How Much I Beg
, where the character makes the decision to shut himself away from temptation, with friends enlisted to enforce that decision after the fact.
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Anime and Manga
- El-Hazard's Mr. Fujisawa: He hates being sober, but he gains super-strength from it, so the other characters enter a conspiracy to keep him off the bottle. He doesn't take it well. And while El-Hazard does have native alcoholic beverages, in the OAV at least, Fujisawa is also a smoker and El-Hazard has no tobacco equivalent. Fujisawa runs out of smokes about half way through the last episode and the nicotine cravings kick in just in time for the finale. Good thing it turns out that it turns his sober level super-strength Up to Eleven.
- Tintin and the Picaros has Captain Haddock getting slipped a drug by Professor Calculus that makes him extremely nauseated whenever he takes a sip of liquor. He's none too pleased when he finds out.
- Red Rackham's Treasure has all his whisky onboard replaced with the pieces to Professor Calculus's submarine; he's none too pleased when he finds steel plates instead of his beloved whisky. Thankfully (for him) he doesn't have to wait too long after the discovery that his beloved alcohol has gone missing; once the wreck of the Unicorn is discovered, they find it's full of bottles of rum, which are (surprisingly) still drinkable with only the usual effects.
- In Bloom County, Opus hid Steve Dallas's cigarettes. This might not have been his best idea.
- "Even with nicotine IN his bloodstream, Steve is a maniac!"
- Steve: "WHERE'D YA HIDE 'EM?! ... POUND! POUND! POUND!"
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, when Elizabeth and Jack are dropped off on a remote island by Barbossa, Elizabeth is annoyed to discover that, rather than being as remote as Jack led people to believe, it was actually a hideaway for rumrunners. Jack plans to get piss-drunk, and does so. After he passes out, Elizabeth take the opportunity to use all the rest of the rum as fuel for a honking huge signal bonfire. It works, but Jack is more hung up on the fact that all the rum is now gone.
- Jeff Portnoy, Jack Black's character from Tropic Thunder.
- Nathan Algren in The Last Samurai. A chronic alcoholic for almost a decade after being forced to slaughter an innocent Indian village, he takes a job in Japan to train Imperial conscripts and is subsequently injured and captured during their first real battle. While he's on the mend, Taka gives him sake at first, but then withholds it after seeing how desperately he needs it. Algren asks for sake, then screams for it, then screams period at the guilty memories he can't drown in booze anymore.
- Renton's parents in Trainspotting lock him in his room to force him through withdrawal. In his case, he does see Pink Elephants. Specifically, a baby crawling towards him on the roof. It gets worse, but it sticks eventually.
- In Cornered!, the storeowner forces his junkie nephew, who is craving for a fix, to stay in the apartment above the store every night until he's well.
- To make sure he's sober before his hearing, Denzel Washington in Flight is confined to his hotel room with a security guard barring exit and entry, with a mini-bar stocked with nothing harder than Diet Coke. The unlocked adjacent room, however, has a fully stocked mini-bar.
- In Resolution, our hero chains his friend to the wall to make him get straight. This turns out to be a very bad idea.
- Long Joseph in Otherland, who was the father to one of the heroes, drank to avoid responsibility for his children and sadness over his wife's death. He's forced sober when they hole up in an abandoned government base to escape assassins.
- In Ships of Merior, Asandir makes sure that Dakar (a well-established drunk, glutton, and lech) keeps a hastily-given promise (which he fully intends to break) by cursing him so that the finest alcohol tastes like turpentine, the tastiest food tastes like shit, and the thought of getting with a woman gives him sharp pains in his groin, until he gets off his stubborn duff and catches up with Arithon.
- Later, in Warhost Of Vastmark, Arithon ensures that Dakar remain sober by pitching all the alcohol over the side of the ship while Dakar is passed out.
- During the Gulf War, P.J. O'Rouke was sent by Rolling Stone to join the war correspondents in Saudi Arabia, and recounted that because the strictly Islamic nation was dry in more ways than one, some of them sobered for the first time in years (himself possibly included), and found that "what they thought was the pain of genius was actually a hangover".
- Upon the announcement of the Quarter Quell in Catching Fire, Peeta dumps all of Haymitch's liquor, much to the latter's dismay. This is in spite of the fact that Haymitch had previously had a rather terrifying withdrawal when he ran out of liquor, but the sobriety doesn't last long anyway.
- As apparent revenge against Maladict (a vampire), a soldier in Monstrous Regiment steals Maladict's coffee machine and beans, resulting in a vampire getting more and more insane and willing to revert to drinking blood as the book goes on. It turns out Strappi's just a bastard, and it helps that he hates Mal. Though attempted murder-by-proxy was maybe not the best way to show it.
- Eddie of Stephen King's Dark Tower books gets nailed to the wagon when Roland kidnaps him into a heroin-less Mid-World through a magic door in The Drawing of the Three. Notably, the nailing is permanent.
- Also happens to Jack in King's The Shining, since all liquor was removed from the Overlook during the hotel's shutdown for the winter.
Live Action TV
- In Eureka, Doctor Grant (who is from the late 1940s and believes Smoking Is Cool) is injected with nanobots that hurt him when he smokes.
- Supernatural: Dean and Bobby lock Sam up in the panic room to "detox" from demon's blood.
- Stargate Universe: Dr. Rush. Involuntary caffeine and nicotine withdrawal (he was a heavy smoker and coffee drinker on Earth but they could only grab emergency supplies and they didn't include coffee or cigarettes) was amongst the reasons why he blacked out in the middle of a rant.
- In an episode of Mash, Hawkeye and Trapper are forced to remain sober after their beloved still is confiscated by Frank Burns. They are disturbed to discover just how dependent they have become on their rotgut gin.
- In another episode, one of BJ's patients turns out to have a morphine addiction. When BJ finds out, he turns to this trope, and after an agonizing (for the patient, at least) half an episode, the patient seemingly kicks the habit.
- One episode of Frasier has him attempt to counsel his agent Bibi into quitting smoking. He ends up holing her up in his apartment for three days, but in the end all the encouragement she needs is to be reminded that her "84 year-old and on his third pacemaker" fiancÚ won't marry her unless she quits.
- Charlie from LOST is a heroin addict until he crashes on the island, where he has no access to drugs. Or so he thinks.
- Bloom County: Binkley once forced his father to quit cigarettes cold turkey by disposing of all of those in their house and hiding his wallet and his car keys so he couldn't go out and buy more.
- A smoker was on a long distance Coach bus—that didn't allow smoking. When she just couldn't take it anymore, she got up and exited the bus while it was on the highway, dying in the process.
- Very much Truth in Television, as any medical professional working in a holiday destination can testify. A nice family vacation in some remote mountain village, and daddy cut off from all his usual secret sources of booze, makes for an exciting trip to your local hospital to treat withdrawal symptoms. Which can be life-threatening, so Don't Try This at Home.
- Also Truth in Television for people looking for rentals. In many places, even outdoor off-property smokers are refused or evicted, so the choice often comes down to quit smoking (or lie about it and hope to never be caught), pay far more for a less controlling roommate, or be homeless. Also extends to alcohol for some roommates/living situations - there are some that will evict people for as much as having a can of beer in their room.
- This happens to Liriel, aka "Blueberry" in Drowtales, notable for her being a teenager by drow standards (but chronologically in her thirties). She's forced sober because Ariel takes her (she's Ariel's slave) to the overworld to look for a friend and her alcohol stash is destroyed in an attack. She grows increasingly loopy as time goes on and at one point attempts to eat some grass, taking Kyo'nne's earlier reference to there being "herbs" on the surface that can get you high a bit too literally. Liriel's reason for alcoholism? She was trying to suppress the pain of Diva'ratrika's Aura Possession, and being forced off the wagon finally lets Diva break through fully.
- Phillip from Goats during the whole multiverse arc. He's kept prisoner in a "dry dimension" where there's no beer.
- Rumisiel from Misfile is forced to stay sober while living with Ash and her dad. It's a work in progress for all of them.
- Tanked gets Nailed To The Wagon in Bear Nuts chapter 29: "Tanked Goes Dry", when one of Evil's pranks causes the zoo to lose it's liquor license, cutting off Tanked's supply. None of the other bears are particularly happy about this since Tanked starts throwing tantrums all over the place. The following chapter (":The Origin Of Tanked") reveals that, thanks to a particular childhood experience, going sober might be legitimately bad for Tanked.
- Gamzee Makara from Homestuck gets nailed to the wagon when he runs out of sopor slime to make pies from, which the slime is known to have degenerative effects on troll's brains. To say "shit hits the fan" is putting it lightly, considering that He murders Equius, Nepeta, and attempts to off Terezi.
- One Metalocalypse villain's Start of Darkness resulted from his legally mandated sobriety.
- Life's A Zoo: Happens to the entire cast in "Self Helpless" when all the housemates are forcibly deprived of their addictive vices.