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The Teetotaler
The Kerrek is a teetotaler and is offended by your offer. He pounds your head into the ground. You dead.

Teetotalism refers to either the practice of or the promotion of complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices (and possibly advocates) teetotalism is called a teetotaler.

Often, a Badass character with a Dark and Troubled Past will curiously abstain from drinking with the rest of the characters, usually indicating that

A common prank is to trick this guy into drinking a "Long Island Iced Tea" (which is an alcoholic drink).

See also Straight Edge, Smug Straight Edge, Straight Edge Evil, and the Dry Crusader who is the more militant and self-righteous version of The Teetotaler. Unrelated to I Do Not Drink Wine. Direct opposite of The Alcoholic. These guys often prefer a Spot of Tea — though that's not where the "tee" in teetotaler comes from, common myth to the contrary. It's from "T-Total Abstinence."

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comics — Books 
  • Bruce Wayne is a teetotaler in the comics (and most adaptations outside of comics, including the Nolan films). Though his public persona is a borderline alcoholic.
  • Spider-Man never touched the stuff; in fact, in one episode, where he was tricked into drinking it, he proved a very serious case of Can't Hold His Liquor.
    • In fact, after Doctor Octopus became the Superior Spider-Man, one of the things that made Mary Jane suspicious of him when he claimed to be Peter was the fact that he was drinking.
  • The titular character Scott Pilgrim attempts at being this. However, his friends usually end up coercing him into drinking anyway, and he's doesn't seem to enjoy it.
    • It's slightly hinted that it's because his dark side tends to manifest itself when he's drunk. While we never see or hear of him doing anything bad while drunk, it was his being drunk that led him to spark the argument between him and his then girlfriend Natalie 'Envy' Adams that causes the end of their already-shaky relationship (due to her usurping control of their band and changing it against the wishes of the others as well as she may have been cheating on him.
    • It's also suggested that due to his Never My Fault attitude and belief that he is the hero of his own story this is a lie he tells to make himself look better. Most of the time he doesn't drink simply because he can't afford to.
  • Joshua Carver of No Hero never drinks, smokes, and is a vegan.
  • Billy Butcher from The Boys.
  • Matthew from The Sandman, and he stopped drinking the hard way — as in, he died while drunk-driving in his previous life.
  • Jay Garrick, the original Flash. Mostly as a result of him being an old-fashioned elderly man.
  • When we are first introduced to Dwight in Sin City, he abstains from alcohol. He soon Takes A Level In Bad Ass but seemingly continues not to drink, as evident when he is shown visiting bars but doesn't drink. Granted, he's typically working in those scenes but that doesn't stop other characters.
  • After recovering from his drunken fall from grace, Tony Stark abstained. However, it remains to see if it stuck after he sacrificed it to get Odin's attention.
  • Tintin, who holds himself up to Boy Scout-like standards—making him the perfect foil for his companion Captain Haddock. (Tintin was shown drunk once or twice, but never by his own fault—one time, he and Haddock got locked in a room full of wine and were affected by the fumes, for instance.)
  • The Phantom is teetotal, which appears to go in the family. He is at one point revealed to have a drinks cabinet filled with 300+ years' worth of various vines and other spirits that have been gifted to the Phantoms over the years, still unopened because neither he nor any of his forefathers have ever touched any of it. His trademark Drink Order is milk — which, no matter how seedy the bar he walks into is, they always have a bottle of somewhere.
  • Henry Hellrung, the leader of The Order, California's official superhero team after the Civil War, is a former drinking buddy of Tony Stark. Apparently, he also helped bring Tony to AA. He himself has been sober for at least two decades.
  • Richie Gilmore, better known as Prodigy of the Slingers, became a drunk after his team fell apart, and ended up getting his ass handed to him by Iron Man as the first superhero to be arrested under the SHRA. He later got sober and apparently redeemed himself enough to be recruited to lead a team during the events of Fear Itself.
  • After his extreme alcoholism resulted in the death of close friend Manitou Raven, Major Disaster tried to kill himself. When that failed, he decided to get sober instead. He presumably stayed sober until his death during Infinite Crisis.

    Fanfiction 

    Film 
  • Played with in To Be or Not to Be:
    Colonel Ehrhardt: You know, I never quite trust a man who doesn't drink or smoke.
    Jozef Tura: (as Professor Siletski) You mean, like our Führer?
    Colonel Ehrhardt: Yes... NO!
  • While it wasn't directly referenced in L.A. Confidential, Russell Crowe asked the writer and director whether his character, Bud White, ever drank alcohol. They told him no. Because he does Method Acting, Crowe did the same during the entire shoot. He's Australian, and he was miserable.
  • Nicholas Angel from Hot Fuzz was this in the beginning, drinking only Cranberry Juice. However he decided to drink beer later.
  • Léon, the eponymous character of The Professional, usually opting for milk instead. However, he does have one glass of champagne to celebrate his apprentice's first hit.
  • Aldous Snow of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However, he does revert back to alcoholism in Get Him to the Greek. Russell Brand, who plays Snow, is actually a teetotaler.
  • Bert Gordon in The Hustler makes his living gambling in pool halls and bars, but his preferred drink is milk.

    Literature 
  • Sir Lancelot became one during The Once and Future King, and Sir Galahad, of course.
  • In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace's parents were teetotalers.
  • There are numerous teetotallers in the works of G. K. Chesterton, who almost always turn out either to be fools or thoroughly bad lots (one example is the Rev. David East in "The Man Who Shot the Fox").
  • Ibram Gaunt of Gaunts Ghosts became an alcoholic at one point. He gets clean and becomes this trope.
  • Discworld
    • Commander Vimes stopped drinking entirely around Men at Arms, because he's a recovering alcoholic and doesn't want to get back onto that slippery slope at all. Although his body doesn't make enough natural alcohol, leading to him being in a constant state of knurd. Being knurd means you can't block out all the imperfections and failings of the world around you and constantly see everything at its worst. One time, he listed forcing him to tip away an entire bottle of single malt whiskey to be worse than murder.
    • Captain Carrot (surprisingly, given he was raised by dwarfs): In Guards! Guards! he was "persuaded to try a small shandy, and didn't like it much", and in Men at Arms he drowns his sorrows in milk.
    • Magrat Garlick, although she's been a victim of Intoxication Ensues once or twice.
      Nanny Ogg: I said to the man, "What kind of fruit drinks do people drink around here?" and this is what he gave me. Made from bananas. A banana drink. You'll like it. It's what everyone drinks here. It's got bananas in it.
      Magrat: It's certianly very ... strongly flavoured. Has it got sugar in it too?
      Nanny Ogg: Very likely.
  • Charlie Chan is a teetotaler, but in a bit of double irony he is no fan of a Spot of Tea; he prefers sarsaparilla (a nonalcoholic root beer-like drink).
  • The residents of Ennett House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (sic) in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, being required to join AA or NA, are of course therefore required (theoretically) to be recovering alcoholics, but Don Gately eventually comes to be an honest one (it's important).
  • Sir Raoul in Protector of the Small is the "recovering alchoholic" type.
  • Gussie Fink-Nottle in P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories. Until his nerve snaps right before he officiates at that grammar-school prize-giving ceremony.
  • Coach Flynn in Gordon Korman's Bruno and Boots series is a health nut who never drinks, smokes or eats fried foods.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffyverse: Angel, after a fashion. Word of God states that Angel's abstinence from human blood is a metaphor for this.
  • Deadwood:
    • Seth Bullock. In contrast to the frequent use of alcohol by other characters (Doc Cochran, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock, Al Swearengen and his men), Bullock rarely drinks at all. He only does so once during the first season, and it's done with Swearengen as a toast at the end of their conversation.
    • Also of Deadwood, A.W.Merrick, who is the recovering alcoholic type, save a couple episodes where he falls Off The Wagon
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Detective William Murdoch doesn't drink because his distant father is The Alcoholic and he wants to keep his head clear for his investigation. He drinks only very rarely for special occasions or For Science!; that's what he stated when he wanted to find out the effect of drinking a bottle of absinthe on two people.
  • Mr. Garibaldi on Babylon 5 starts off as recovering alcoholic. He slips into drinking for an episode when he's framed in Season 1. In Season 5, his alcoholism became Off The Wagon.
  • In Rumpole of the Bailey, Sam Ballard seems to be one at first, being a goody-two-shoes who only ever drinks mineral water...but then we learn that he isn't, but really ought to be.
  • Neil Burnside of The Sandbaggers wants to keep his wits about him — shortly after being promoted to section chief, he had to resolve a crisis while extremely drunk, and resolved that he was never going to be in that situation again.
  • Sam on Cheers, who interestingly owns the bar. He's also a recovering alcoholic.
  • Captain Jack Harkness in the first season of Torchwood only has one drink: to raise his glass to a fallen soldier. Otherwise he's always drinking plain water while whoever he's drinking with has something alcoholic. This becomes even more conspicuous if one considers his original Doctor Who characterisation which included a habit of heavy drinking. He much prefers good coffee over a Spot of Tea, being space American, though.
  • Spock in Star Trek doesn't drink, so when he decides to in one episode, McCoy asks Kirk if they can handle him drunk.
  • In Legend, Nicodemus Legend is a Teetotaler. However, Ernest Pratt, the writer who portrays him, is an alcoholic. Because everyone in Sheridan thinks of him as Legend, the only way Pratt can get his whiskey is to drink it out of a teacup.
  • Arnold Rothstein in Boardwalk Empire doesn't drink, despite being a bootlegger.
  • Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 once flatly stated that "I do not consume alcohol" when offered a glass of wine, and in a later episode he ordered ginger ale at a bar. Though it's unknown whether alcohol could even affect him.
  • The First Doctor in the Doctor Who serial "The Gunfighters" repeatedly insists that he never touches drink, refusing even to accept a slug of whisky as anaesthetic before having a broken tooth pulled in a time before the invention of anaesthetic. This forms an important plot point, as it is used throughout the serial to contrast his personality with the very heavy-drinking Doc Holiday. He insists this again in "The Smugglers" when offered alcohol in 17th Century Cornwall, although this time he's willing to drink wine offered to him by a pirate captain he's trying to prove his harmlessness to. This is strange since he'd previously been seen enthusiastically drinking (judging by his expressions when drinking it, very strong) mead in "The Time Meddler". Later incarnations of the Doctor have no such scruples, the Third Doctor's fondness of wine in particular being a major motif of his characterisation, the Fourth Doctor's enjoyment of getting drunk forms a plot point in the Sixth Doctor story "The Twin Dilemma", and the Ninth Doctor's fondness for heavy drinking sessions in general being mentioned a few times for the odd gag.
  • Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory almost never drinks; if the others are having alcohol with their dinner, he'll have a glass of milk or perhaps water (likely Depending on the Writer). On the rare occasions he does get some alcohol, he absolutely Can't Hold His Liquor and turns into a stumbling, slurring mess willing to ramble about anything or climb on a table after a single sip.
  • On Hawaii Five-0, Max Bergman is never shown drinking, even when celebrating with the rest of the team (he also doesn't eat shrimp, but that's due to an allergy). The reason is never stated or called attention to, though since Max is incredibly meticulous and has an Ambiguous Disorder (he's "some kind of savant"), it may simply be that he finds the taste objectionable.
  • Randall from The Hour never joins in when everyone else is drinking and talks about his alcoholism in the past tense.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Unlike you scum sucking pea heads, Freddie Blassie refused to touch alcohol, much less drink it.
  • Jerry Lawler, is basically Straight Edge and would be seen driving off while all the other baby faces in Memphis went to bars...but his "cool" guy supposed "King" gimmick means he almost never admits to being a teetotaler.
  • CM Punk is Straight Edge. Which also makes him this trope, in addition to no other kind of recreational drug and no promiscuous sex.
  • Paul London honestly doesn't drink but he and Spanky have drunk as part of angles while working for WWE. Then again, it became quickly apparent that neither of them should drink alcohol.
  • Soda is about the strongest thing AJ Styles will usually drink. Bad Influence tried to destroy this reputation by having Claire Lynch spike one of his drinks to make him look like a drunken fool.
  • Triple H, as part of a short mini-feud between D-Generation X and CM Punk's "Straight Edge Society" unit, once claimed humorously that he also lived a clean lifestyle but without the need for any of the cult-like theatrics involved in SES. (though Triple H wasn't always an example and even after he was in his personal life his WWE persona still was a drinker until DX reunited and WWE.com put up an article about how much DX had changed)
    • Speaking of D-X, Shawn Michaels says he pretty much abandoned all his vices overnight the day he immersed himself in Christianity.
  • John Cena seems to be an embodiment of clean living and good morals in his character. Out of character, John Cena is a pretty hard drinker, but never in front of the kids. WWE had a problem with Ric Flair talking about John Cena's real life drinking habits during an IGN press conference.
  • Molly Holly and Su Yung are a couple examples on the women's side. WWE let go "Anti Diva" Serena Deeb for letting it slip that she was not living up to CM Punk's Straight Edge Society ethos off the clock.
  • Tara is a not just a teetotaler, on TNA Impact it was revealed she did not even know what beer was, was visibly disgusted by its taste and only agreed to drink more because she was in a feud with ODB and Kevin Nash would not allow the two to have a match unless they both drank a six pack immediately before hand.
  • Pepper Parks and Cherry Bomb in CZW, though they don't take kindly to soda either, or much of anything for that matter.

    Radio 
  • Douglas Richardson in Cabin Pressure is revealed to be teetotal (a recovering alcoholic, eight years sober) at the end of the first series. He hides it to maintain his reputation as a work-hard play-hard sky god, swapping whisky for apple juice or vodka for water as part of his elaborate schemes.

    Video Games 
  • A lifestyle choice in Kingdom of Loathing. Choosing to be incarnated as a teetotaler will block your ability to drink alcoholic beverages for the entire run in favor of a greater ability to consume food (which you can unlock halfway in the run). There's also the "boozetafarian" path, which is this reversed, meaning that you may not consume food, while alcohol is completely fine, and finally the oxygenarian run, in which you may consume neither, although you can consume things that don't count as food (these are called spleen items and like the prior two, you have a limit of consumption and in this run, a way to to consume more spleen items). Needless to say, the oxygenarian run yields greater rewards than either two, but it is not advised unless one has a means to access adventure-producing spleen items (i.e. familiars).
  • Blaise in Rune Factory 3 openly hates alcohol. Apparently something happened when he had "a glass of wine at a party", but he doesn't remember and no one will tell you what!
  • Jackie Estacado, a.k.a. The Darkness, doesn't drink alcohol. And honestly, are you gonna rag on him for it?

    Web Comics 
  • Kittan of DOUBLE K was one of these. But a few panels of hanging out with Kamina, and a certain word starting with a p and rhyming with fussy changed that real quick.
  • Gabe from Penny Arcade doesn't even take aspirin or those vitamin boosts at Jamba Juice, and was too nervous to take his prescribed anxiety medication. Compare to the often-drunken Tycho.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons episode, Duffless, Homer has to become this for a month after he's arrest on drunk driving. Marge points this out and he makes a promise to her. Guess how long that lasted.
    • Being a Straw Political and Foil to Homer, Ned Flanders is portrayed as this in later episodes, though prior to Flanderization, he was shown to own a bar within his home.

    Real Life 
  • The pirate Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts was a Teetotaler. By 18th-century terms at least. Given the time and place in which he lived, "Teetotaler" was a relative term. The average 18th-Century pirate would piss away entire fortunes on women and booze at the nearest opportunity, and Black Bart was one of the few who didn't. "Teetotal" could mean anything from "never touches the stuff," to "enjoys the occasional beer but doesn't drink away his life savings once a week."
  • Adolf Hitler was, at one time, a very dedicated smoker (and drinker), and grew to find the habit disgusting. After his entrance into politics he drank very little, stopped at the first glass of champagne or low-alcohol beer. Although his teetotalism, like his vegetarianism, is probably due to his growing gastrointestinal problems.
  • 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt was a Teetotaler. His drink of choice was coffee which he was rumored to have drunk at least a gallon of a day.
  • Former President George W. Bush is in recovery, having been decades ago The Alcoholic and become the trope after experiencing all the evils of hard drinking on himself.
  • Vice-President Joe Biden has a family with a history of alcohol problems, so he swore it off completely.
  • Richard E. Grant. Cue Irony when he was cast as the alcoholic Withnail in Withnail & I. The director got him to go on a drinking binge once to better understand the character. Grant reportedly found it "deeply unpleasant".
  • Possible Trope Codifier: Wyatt Earp was known for drinking tea instead of alcohol. This obviously gave him a useful advantage in reaction time when breaking up (the perpetrators of) barfights.
  • Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Stuka bomber pilot and quite possibly the most destructive man ever abstained from both drinking and smoking.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche saw alcoholism as a method of escaping from reality, which was also the basis on which he rejected religion and mysticism.
  • Gene Simmons states that the reason that he's such a successful rock star was that he never drinks and never does drugs.
  • Angus Young. And it's just as well, given the stage antics he routinely pulls off even as he's approaching his 60's...
  • Russell Brand used to be an alcoholic and a drug addict. He eventually cleaned up and became a teetotaler.
  • Theoretically, Muslims, Mormons, and certain others are supposed to be teetotal. In practice, this varies widely, generally corresponding to the individual's general level of piety. note  This can come as a shock to some, who are so used to the stereotype of Muslims and/or Mormons being Dry Crusader teetotal fanatics that the sight of an otherwise perfectly sincere and decent Muslim/Mormon casually tippling has been noted to set their minds on end.
  • Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench abstains from alcohol, due to his "dark and troubled past."
  • Let's Player raocow is straight-edge. Not that it's possible to tell.
  • Kathy Griffin proudly claims to be one of these, as her response to growing up in a house with many alcoholics when she was a child.
  • Contrary to his portrayal in Zulu, Sgt. Henry Hook was noted as a teetotaler and model soldier. However, after the Battle of Rorke's Drift, he stunned his companions by getting in line for the grog ration. "After all that," he explained, "I feel I need a little something."
  • From Rooster Teeth's Achievement Hunter, Ray Narvaez Jr., which makes him pretty much the only person who doesn't drink in the entire company. Keep in mind that the company's podcast used to be called Drunk Tank. From what he's said on the subject, it's neither a moral standard nor a fear of addiction; he just doesn't like alcohol much.
    • Currently the list of known current teetotalers in the whole production company stands at three people: Monty Oum, Ryan Haywood, and the aforementioned Ray.
  • Dan Castellaneta, in contrast to Homer Simpson.
  • Arin Hanson, a.k.a. Egoraptor, has stated before that he doesn't drink.
  • Daniel Radcliffe became one of these after struggling with alcohol abuse during the later Harry Potter films.
  • Pancho Villa.
  • Cracked columnist John Cheese was once an alcoholic, but swore it off after his doctor told him he'd be dead by forty if he kept drinking. He has written several moving pieces about his experiences.
  • Penn Jillette says he has never had a drop of alcohol.
  • Bobcat Goldthwait said he hasn't had a drink since he was 19.
  • Fred Rogers.
  • J. Michael Straczynski's family history contains a lot of alcohol abuse. Seeing what it did to his family convinced him to swear off it himself. His experiences eventually led him to write these tendencies into the character of Mr. Garibaldi (above).
  • Hip-hop Artist Macklemore, recovering alcoholic whose strongest vice is now hard candy.
  • Tyler The Creator
  • Stand-up comedian Craig Ferguson proudly proclaims that he's abstained from drinking alcohol for more than twenty years.
  • Henry Rollins has been a card carrying Straight Edge his entire life.
  • Voice actor Maurice LaMarche has been clean and sober for over two decades now.
  • Aerosmith were one of the industry's most notorious alcoholics/drug abusers in the past, but their contract rider now prohibits alcohol backstage.


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