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Going Cold Turkey

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"Thirty six hours, groanin' in pain
Prayin' to someone, free me again
Oh, I'll be a good boy, please make me well
I promise you
anything, get me out of this hell
Cold turkey has got me on the run."
John Lennon, "Cold Turkey"

In Real Life, recovering from a drug addiction is a complicated process, and none of it is fun. Addiction to most forms of drugs involves a physical dependency that develops over time, so lowering your intake of the drug will cause painful withdrawal symptoms that can even become life-threatening in some circumstances. The phrase "cold turkey" derives from the clammy and goosebumped skin of an addict in the grips of withdrawal. But even once your body no longer relies on the drug to function, psychological addiction typically lasts a lifetime, and recovery is an ongoing process that never truly ends. Even after lengthy periods of sobriety, relapses can occur.

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. This often involve throwing the drugs in the trash or down the drain and then locking oneself up in a room to endure the withdrawal before emerging a new man. Friends may be enlisted to ensure the process proceeds to its conclusion.

See also Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere and Off the Wagon.


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  • TV commercials for Chantix, a medication to help people quit smoking, use the visual pun above to acknowledge how difficult it is to quit "cold turkey", so they help people quit "slow turkey".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". When Toby's under the effects of the Soap Bubble Straw, he says that he'll never smoke again, which implies he'll go cold turkey and immediately stop his habits. However, the effects of the Soap Bubble Straw soon wear off and Toby probably goes back to smoking.
  • Part way through RaButa, Harundo quits smoking. When Fuyu asks him if he's suffering any withdrawal symptoms, he says that he hadn't been a smoker for long enough to really get addicted to it.

    Comic Books 
  • Originally, Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy kicked his heroin addiction after a couple of days of going cold turkey under Black Canary's supervision. Later stories have added in hospital time and detox programs.
  • Batman overcame an addiction to venom by locking himself in the Batcave for a month.
  • In Suicide Squad Werner Vertigo, after a lengthy period in which he was forcibly dosed with several different drug cocktails, managed to escape his captors and had himself checked into a metahuman research institute. While there were several options available, he deliberately elected this one knowing the risks and issues associated. This involved extended medical supervision and a lot of pain, but he was successfully detoxed.
  • Alan Quartermain in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was forcibly made to go cold turkey to kick his opium addiction. The fact that he's locked in a submarine and encounters at least one unpleasant sea creature through his portcullis whilst going through withdrawal symptoms doesn't help matters.
  • Tony Stark recovers from alcoholism by going cold turkey in the Iron Man storyline "Demon in a Bottle".
  • Victor Mancha from Runaways developed a vibranium addiction to cope with the chronic pain from his many battles. This led to tragedy in The Vision (2015). As a result, in the 2017 Runaways series, Victor won't go anywhere near vibranium.

    Fan Works 
  • Addicting is a Sumire/Lucia-themed 'Venus Versus Virus fanfic where Sumire makes Lucia quit cigarettes by going cold turkey. Lucia quickly begins having cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • In the Harvest Moon oneshot Cream Soda, Ellen's alcoholic father tries to quit cold turkey. Ellen mentions that, during the following weeks, her dad often feels nauseous and gets frustrated easily.
  • In Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness, Suika all but states outright that this is the type of fate she'd prefer to avoid. As the battle with Coop begins and wears on, she becomes increasingly sober, understandable, and able to think more clearly. Since she absolutely loves her booze and started the fight without it, she becomes desperate enough to pull out one of her higher-tier attacks to try and get things over with.
    Suika: "The more I drink, the stronger I become. Sobriety is not a pleasant feeling to me, and you've pushed me very close to that point."
  • In How the Light Gets In, Dean ultimately admitted he was an alcoholic and decided to give it up when Laurel was pregnant. At first he tried to slowly wean himself off it, but he then decided that was taking too long and just went cold turkey. It was brutal eventually causing him full-on hallucinations, and he finally had to be hospitalized. It did work though.
    • Laurel eventually also went cold turkey for both alcohol and prescription drugs. It was just as brutal (Sara remembers a time when she saw Laurel in a Troubled Fetal Position sobbing that she couldn't do it), but still successful.
  • In the It Matters collection of Death Note fanfics, Matt has done this several times over the years, due to his ongoing struggle with opioid addiction brought on by having been separated from Mello. It puts a strain on his marriage to Mello.
  • The short Buzz Lightyear of Star Command fic Just Breathe deals with Mira's recovery from energy addiction. One month later, she's gone cold turkey but is still dealing with crippling withdrawal symptoms.
  • In Laying Waste To Halloween Annabeth tries this with her anxiety medication that she's addicted to, but gets sick. Percy convinces her to slowly come off of them.
  • Superpower example in Mauling Snarks: It's established that powers desire to be used, and capes that repress or cannot use their powers end up suffering for it.
    • After Taylor inadvertently knocked Vicky's powers out, her fear of it happening again and her difficulty in reactivating them put her off patrolling for three weeks, keeping her from using her powers and building up stress. When she finally met Taylor, and Taylor admitted she was the cause of the bad reaction, the stress boiled over and she delivered a Megaton Punch to the person identified as the cause.
    • It was established that Amy was slowly going insane as she restricted her biokinesis to healing until she helped Riley with the Tinker fugue for Taylor's enhancements.
    • During Taylor's stint in the hospital, she was discouraged from having visitors to allow her to heal, but the lack of snarks to communicate with started to wear on her. Miss Militia and Assault pay a quick visit to her after that.
    • A brief conversation with Squealer's snark made it picky for better quality materials and refused to let the Tinker make anything with her usual "crap". Squealer got so pent up that she went to find Taylor and pulled a Heel–Face Turn just to let her Tinker again.
  • Their Bond: Shad, who himself is a recovering alcoholic, decides to force his boyfriend Link cold turkey without his knowledge by throwing away all their liquor. Link refuses to even believe he has a drinking problem (or a drug problem either). It doesn't work and Link is ultimately sent to rehab again.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Trainspotting: When Renton tries to come off heroin, his cold turkey involves a long period shut up in his childhood bedroom, hallucinating about his parents appearing on a TV game show about Aids and a dead baby crawling across the ceiling. The trope is subverted in the fact that Renton has such a authoritative routine for going cold turkey that it's obvious that he's done it several times before and eventually relapsed.
  • The Good Thief: Bob (played by Nick Nolte, who has himself struggled with drug addiction in Real Life), overcomes his heroin habit by chaining himself to a bed.
  • The Man with the Golden Arm: Ol' Blue Eyes has a rather harrowing one of these, especially for a film made in 1955. His girlfriend Molly locks him in his apartment to break his heroin habit.
  • Norman Lear's comedy Cold Turkey has an entire town attempting to give up smoking this way in order to win a multimillion-dollar prize from a tobacco company.
  • Spoofed in Airplane!, where McCroskey has apparently gone cold turkey on every drug of note at the time of the film's making... in the same week.
  • In Frequency, Frank Sullivan finds out from his son from the future that he will die of cancer from his smoking. Frank initially protests this but near the end of the film manages to kick the habit and survive to arrive in the present and save his son's life 30 years later.
  • In the sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn one of the main characters, when offered a cigarette, says he quit smoking by going cold turkey years ago.
  • In Candy, the lead couple tries to break free of their drug addiction by locking themselves up in their home. Suffering ensued.
  • In Christiane F. (German: Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo) the two kids try this and end up squirming with pain on the floor.
  • H: The film centres around a junkie couple. One day the man wakes up and decides they're going to kick (without discussing it with the woman). It doesn't last, however, and their resolve is tested when he finds one last hit.
  • In Lady Sings The Blues, Diana Ross portrays Billie Holiday going through this - a real-life event when Billie was sentenced to the Federal facility in West Virginia to an early form of "rehab" in the late 1940s.
  • In Kongo, Evil Cripple Flint needs Dr. Kingsland to perform surgery to relieve pain in Flint's paralyzed legs, but Kingsland is a wreck of an Addled Addict, unable to function due to his dependence on "bhang root". So Flint has him tied to a post in the swamp and puts leeches on him for good measure. It works.
  • Three on a Match: And not by choice, either. As the kidnappers hole up in their apartment with police crawling over the neighborhood, Vivian can't get her heroin fix. She is heard crying and moaning from the bedroom.
  • In Evil Dead (2013), the story starts with the characters isolating themselves in a cabin to help Mia quit her heroin addiction. It isn't too long before she steals a car to drive back into town (manipulation by evil forces didn't help), then she's possessed by a Deadite, and withdrawal becomes the least of her problems.
  • The Odd Way Home: While staying with Dave, Maya decides to flush the prescription medication to which she is addicted down the toilet. Dave helps her through withdrawal.

  • In Dan Simmons' The Terror the main character does this with alcoholism and nearly dies in the process.
  • Eddie Dean in The Drawing of the Three (the second book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series) involuntarily kicks heroin cold turkey after being drawn into Roland's world (which is a very painful process for him, and once drives him close to suicide). Admirably, he does not pick it up again after gaining access to Earth, and by extension, the drug.
  • At one point in the Lensman series, Kimball Kinnison needed to go undercover as an alcoholic drug addict ... and the Boskonians would know exactly what he was drinking/taking, so Frothy Mugs of Water are out. After several spectacular binges, he heads back to base with the information he was after. By the time he arrives, he's completely eliminated both the physical and psychological cravings via cold turkey. Granted, if anyone can willpower the psychological part of addiction away, it's a Second Stage Lensman.
    • The book even outlines his thought process when choosing the drug he's going to become "addicted" to; he considers several and rejects them for various reasons before settling on one that's not tremendously debilitating (something like chewing tobacco or betel nuts, but with soporific properties) and cheap enough that his asteroid miner persona could afford it. The alcohol more or less isn't a problem, because while he buys drinks by the bottle to promote his reputation as a hard-partying lush, he shares them generously so that he actually isn't drinking much himself.
  • In The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls describes how her father attempted to break his alcohol addiction this way, complete with tying himself to his bed. He spends several days screaming and hallucinating. He does stop drinking for a while, but before long picks it up again.
  • Mischa in the Second Sons trilogy goes completely cold turkey off of opium, which he was intentionally addicted to as a child to keep him under control.
  • Christiane F.: the book on which the above-mentioned film is based is about a group of teenage junkies. The term "cold turkey" is used not just for the process of getting clean, but for the feelings of withdrawal that signature the person needs their next hit. In addition to the scene described above, the narrator describes some of the terrible things they do while trying to avoid "cold turkey". The narrator also withdraws, gets clean, and goes back to drugs several times throughout the text.
  • In Vampire Academy, this is Rose's way of dealing with her dependency of the endorphins released by being bitten and drank from.
  • In Go Ask Alice, Carla tries to get clean from drugs several times by randomly quitting. She ends up relapsing most of the time. She seems clean throughout the latter half of the book but the final page mentions that she relapsed again and died of an overdose two weeks after the last diary entry.
  • Cryptonomicon: Crazed World War 2 soldier Bobby Shaftoe breaks himself of the nasty morphine habit he acquires over the process of his adventures by locking himself in a room and enduring the withdrawal, causing him to rave and hallucinate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 heroin 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 heroin. He finally manages to get rid of that, too, though.
  • Subverted in Kenny vs. Spenny: Kenny had to act like he was going cold turkey because he pretended to be seriously addicted.
  • 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.
  • My Name Is Earl: Earl forces an old woman (and himself) to quit nicotine cold turkey.
  • Leverage: subverted in the first season's "The Twelve-Step Job" when, after a forced stint in rehab and a fair amount of withdrawal, Nate ends the episode with the line "I'm ready for a drink." Averted in season two when it's clear that even though Nate has quit drinking, he's still an addict and trying to control everything.
  • When Daniel Jackson becomes addicted to the sarcophagus in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Need", he goes through a painful and nearly fatal withdrawal when he's prevented from using it again. In a variation, his detox stage isn't one that he enters voluntarily, and he's strapped to an infirmary bed until the worst of the symptoms are over. Or at least that was the plan; he gets loose and injures multiple people before Jack talks him into rejecting the sarcophagus. After this episode, sarcophagus addiction never comes up again except for a brief mention in seasons six and seven. No one from the SGC ever uses a sarcophagus again either, except for when Ba'al uses one to torture Jack.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Wraith worshipers are given the gift of life, reversing the effects of the typical Wraith feeding process. This also floods the worshipers body with the Wraith enzyme, an addictive substance that increases strength and stamina, but leaves the user paranoid. When Ronon briefly became a Wraith worshiper, he had to go cold turkey to let the enzyme exit his system. It was not a pleasant experience, with Ronon begging to be let free or killed, and struggling against his restraints, screaming. Though he did eventually make a full recovery.
  • In Stargate Universe the main cast are sent on a one-way trip to an ancient ship galaxies away. As a result, they now find themselves lacking a lot of amenities, like coffee. Thus, all the coffee drinkers were forced to go cold turkey and experience caffeine withdrawal. Dr. Rush has it even worse, as he was also a habitual smoker and had to go through nicotine withdrawal as well.
  • This is what Starsky & Hutch do after a criminal forcibly hooks Hutch on heroin in the episode "The Fix".
  • In Supernatural Dean and Bobby hold an intervention to try and break Sam's addiction to demon blood this way. Due to the nature of his addiction, it involves him hallucinating numerous people as they harangue, torture, or make excuses for him, spasms, hallucinating dark marks appearing on his skin, and actually being telekinetically hurled about the room.
  • In one episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert advised heroin addicts to break their addictions the same way he did, chaining himself to a radiator for two weeks with a supply of chocolate bars, warning them that during that time they may hallucinate a bat eating a baby.
  • House does this four times. The first time he stops taking his beloved Vicodin, he has rather strong withdrawal symptoms and ultimately admits to himself that he is an addict, but decides to keep it that way because he doesn't see it as a problem. The second time, he simply doesn't need the medication because he's pain-free for several weeks. This happens between seasons, so withdrawal is not addressed. The third time he doesn't have any symptoms whatsoever, but in the next episode it turns out that it was a hallucination and that he was on Vicodin the whole time. The fourth time is during a stay in a rehab clinic, which made him abandon his drug addiction.
  • In My Hero (2000), George attempts to go "cold porky" from pork scratchings (Which gives his alien brain super-intelligence, but turns him into a jerk).
  • Orange Is the New Black: Tricia goes through a painful withdrawal in the episode "Moscow Mule". Nicky is sent to tell her Red won't forgive her for a second infraction.
    • Nicky herself has gone through this when she first arrived at Litchfield; Red helped her through it. When she goes through it again in Season 4 (after relapsing due to stress and isolation while in max), Pennsatucky (who has also been through it) supports her through it.
  • The Slap-Ass Guy from Key & Peele goes through treatment to stop slapping his teammates' asses. It doesn't work.
  • Rome. Cleopatra's personal slave Charmian snarks at how she's unable to give up her opium pipe. To prove otherwise Cleopatra orders her to throw the pipe out the window of their carriage. She regrets this the following night, naturally.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Hellgramite Method", The Alcoholic Miley Judson decides to go cold turkey in order to force the Hellgramite worm in his stomach into a dormant state. He sends his wife Frannie and their son Chad to her parents' house for several weeks so that he can isolate himself. Miley's attempt is made all the more difficult because starving the worm of alcohol causes him excruciating pain and is potentially life-threatening. One day, he frantically searches for any trace of alcohol and eventually finds a small bottle in his gym bag. Although Miley strongly considers drinking it, he is able to resist the temptation and finally manages to go sober after many failed attempts.
  • Trust: Shortly after he's initially kidnapped John Paul Getty III starts going into withdrawal and begs his captors to get him some cocaine, pointing out that he won't be of any use to them if he dies before they can ransom him. They refuse and, after a brief attempt to escape, he's forced to spend the rest of his time in captivity without drugs.
  • Happened twice on M*A*S*H:
    • In Tea and Empathy, B.J. discovers that a patient of his, Private Johnson, became addicted to morphine painkillers as a result of the last time he was wounded and stayed at M*A*S*H 4077. B.J. forces him to undergo this trope and he is cured of his withdrawal symptoms in just one night.
    • In Bottoms Up, Margaret's oldest and dearest friend Captain Whitfield is revealed as an alcoholic after she almost gave a patient a wrong blood type and later when Klinger caught her blackout drunk in the supply room. After Margaret confronts Whitfield over her drinking, Whitfield tries to go completely cold turkey. Unfortunately, not even Whitfield realized how bad her drinking problem was so that after a few days without any alcohol at all, Whitfield has a delirium tremens induced meltdown in the mess tent.

  • John Lennon's song "Cold Turkey", about heroin withdrawal. (Lennon had gone cold turkey to kick a heroin habit earlier in 1969).
    Thirty-six hours/Rolling in pain/Praying to someone/Free me again
  • DT Jesus from Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera goes cold turkey in an attempt to salvage his career.
  • Sixx AM's song "Girl With Golden Eyes"
  • Johnny Cash's When Uncle Bill Quit Dope tells the story of an uncle locking himself in his bedroom until he's over his cocaine addiction.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Bloom County: Opus quits smoking, going "Cold Puffin" as he calls it. He is later corrected by Milo.
    • Steve Dallas tries to do the same, for medical reasons, with Opus' assistance. He lasts 37 minutes tied to a chair without a problem. Come minute 38, he loses it and goes full Shining on poor Opus, chasing Opus with an axe in his teeth while his limbs are still tied to a chair. Eventually, Opus subdues Steve with Hostess Zingers jammed into his mouth— but months later, he has to go to the Betty Ford Clinic for a Zingers addiction, only to be thrown out of there as well.

  • This is averted in the film version of RENT. Although Mimi's attempt to quit cold turkey is treated in only one song, it's shown as a difficult and painful process. She also fails, and goes back to her dealer at the end of the song.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Appears in the Followers of Set clanbook in Vampire: The Masquerade. After spending the last five years addicted to meth, Maria Kenyon ends up being selected as a future member of the Setite cult; however, the Setites want her off the drugs once and for all, and force her to go cold turkey from the moment she arrives in their temple - and they press the matter by chaining her to a slab and leaving her to suffer through withdrawal over the next few hours. For good measure, Maria's new "mentor" makes it abundantly clear that doesn't really give a damn if the process of going cold turkey kills her; after all, Maria cost a grand total of fifty bucks and one dose of meth - she's only worth more to the cult if she can survive long enough to be formally recruited.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cullen stopped using lyrium after the events of Dragon Age II and by the time of the game is secretly going through withdrawal symptoms, even telling Cassandra to relieve him of his duties if he ever ends up compromised. The Inquisitor can either encourage him to weather through it or go back to taking it to stop the symptoms. Withdrawal is tough - as he says, those who are cut off suffer and some go mad, others die. An interrogation technique he suggests using on captured addicts is to not supply them. But being on lyrium is terrible too, and if you encourage him to take it again, his memory starts going.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, it is the only way to get free of a drug addiction. It takes between one and two weeks to do so and incurs a heavy stat penalty until you get over it. Jet is the only drug you can't quit (Even Psycho addiction can be fought going cold turkey).
    • In Fallout 3, addiction can only be cured by a doctor or your home chemistry set.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas your addictions are permanent until you are treated by a doctor or take a dose of Fixer. Fixer was originally meant to be temporary—holding off the withdrawal symptoms for five or ten minutes at a time, in exchange for Interface Screw to represent nausea—but a mixture of buggy coding inherited from 3 and poorly labeled effects resulted in Fixer becoming a cheap and permanent addiction solution with only minor, easily avoidable downsides.
    • In Fallout 4, the companion Cait has a Psycho addiction that cannot be kicked or cured by normal medicine, and you have to take her to a special detox facility in the heavily guarded Vault 95 to get her clean. It works but does not look like a pleasant process.
  • Heavy Rain: One of the protagonists is addicted to Triptocaine. You can choose to either quit cold turkey or support his habit. Going without it is an incredibly painful process for him (even though it manages to span only four days). As it turns out, the triptocaine actually helped offset the real problematic thing he was using, namely his VR glasses which can potentially kill him in the last segment you use them. So perhaps going off it wasn't the best idea.
  • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, Tony Montana has apparently dropped his cocaine habit according to a brief piece of dialogue. He still has no problem selling it by the truckload, though.
    "Yeyo — that shit make you crazy, man. Never again."
  • World of Horror treats Nicotine Withdrawal as a curse, making combat actions slower until you light up again. Seeing as a successful game session takes about a week in-universe (and an unsuccessful one even shorter), there just isn't time to shake it off when the fate of the world is at stake. One character, Haru, starts with both N. Withdrawal and a pack of cigarettes...except in the Cold Turkey challenge, where he automatically throws out any cigarettes in his inventory, sticking him with it. Even he remarks on his unfortunate timing for trying to quit.

    Web Animation 
  • In volume 6 of RWBY, Qrow quits drinking thanks to support from his niece Ruby. He doesn't show any physical signs of withdrawal, but he is tempted by alcohol more than once.


    Western Animation 
  • CatDog: To make preparations for a dancing competition, Cat puts an overweight Dog on a diet so he will be fit enough for the competition. This was often met with many setbacks whenever Dog kept hidden stashes of food, which he ate while exercising. Eventually, under threat of disqualification, Dog relents and loses enough weight for the competition. This backfires when a starving Dog finally breaks and proceeds to devour not only the buffet but the entire theatre!
  • In the Futurama episode "The Butterjunk Effect", in order to break Leela and Amy from addiction to a steroid-like drug, they're handcuffed to a bed in order to go through the withdrawal effect for an undetermined amount of time (but implied to be no more than a couple days). After that, the two of them are good as new and never show symptoms of relapsing.
  • In the 1951 Goofy cartoon "No Smoking," Goofy tries to quit smoking after finding that the smoke irritates his eyes, makes him cough and wheeze, and results in shortness of breath. But a few puffs from some well-meaning co-workers results in him dashing out the workplace desperately seeking a smoke.
  • Harley Quinn: Lampshaded during the second season. Jim Gordon (who's become an alcoholic slob after the fall of Gotham and the rest of the Gotham PD deserting him to work for the criminals controlling the city) realizes how far he's fallen and decides to kick the habit. He asks Barbara (who he's been living with) if she wants to have a montage that skips all the issues of actually trying to clean yourself up from alcoholism and the two of them proceed to pour all his booze down the drain and get him sobered up in roughly one afternoon.
  • King of the Hill: When Hank catches Bobby smoking a cigarette, he punishes him by forcing him to smoke an entire carton. The plan backfires when Bobby instead becomes more addicted, while the situation makes Hank and Peggy take up smoking again for relaxation. After days without a cigarette, Hank, Peggy, and Bobby are cranky and ready to kill one another, until they discover one stray cigarette in the house. After they fight over it, Luanne, having had enough, locks the three of them inside Hank and Peggy's bedroom until they finally beat their addiction. In the morning they all thank Luanne for helping them through it.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: "Two Feet High and Rising" — To prevent King Julien from banishing Mort, Marlene brings him to the penguins to help him overcome his crazed obsession over King Julien's feet. Using conditioning to equate the touching of feet with electrical shocks, Mort gradually becomes "100% lemur foot-phobic". However, for the sake of status-quo, this is all undone towards the end of the episode.
  • On Rugrats, Angelica attempted to give up her favorite food (cookies) after getting a stomach ache from eating too many at one sitting. She was not successful.
  • Star Trek: In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis", the Enterprise discovered a system where a civilization is exploiting a neighboring planet with an addictive drug and seeing what it has done to the Ornarans. Picard opted to follow the Prime Directive and refused to repair the Brekkian's only spaceworthy freighter leaving the Ornarans with no more supply of the drug. The aftermath of Picard's decision was shown in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Trusted Sources", where the Cerritos visited planet Ornara 20 years after Picard's visit and learned that after Picard's decision, the entire population went through 10 to 14 years of chaos and violence over their painful withdrawal, but eventually they overcame their addiction and are now devoted to a lifestyle of fitness and healthy diet.

    Real Life 
  • American soldier/actor Audie Murphy became dependent on a brand of sleeping pill called Placidyl, originally prescribed by his doctor. To combat his addiction, he locked himself in a hotel room for a week and just endured the painful withdrawal symptoms until they passed. Then he went and gave his doctor hell about prescribing him this stuff in the first place. Of course for him defeating a drug addiction through sheer willpower was par for the course.
  • Jerry Lewis took a rather extreme measure to kick his 12-year addiction to Percodans (oxycodone with aspirin)note  in 1978. Rather than trying to wean off the drug or switch to something less damaging, he had himself placed in a medical coma for several days while his blood was run through a dialysis machine to filter out the opioids in his system. He was consequently featured in People magazine as one of the first mainstream celebs to admit to drug abuse.
  • Note for the harder drugs this is not only a bad idea but could be a lethal one. Heroin Addicts that want to quit, normally have to be addicted to something else (like Methadone) then something else then they can quit. Opioid withdrawal could be considered a Fate Worse than Death.
    • Opiate withdrawal is (very) unpleasant. Sudden withdrawal of sedative-hypnotics (alcohol, benzodiazepine, or barbiturates) can be fatal. Oh, and by some accounts, methadone is even harder to quit than heroin.
    • Theodore Dalrymple's Romancing the Opiates discusses the difficulty of opiate withdrawal. Any number of people have done so without medical assistance. This is not the most advisable route, however, because opiates do build real physical dependency, which will not normally kill a healthy person, however, although the weakening of the body from addiction, the substance, and the great strain induced by withdrawal can weaken sufferers to where it isn't particularly hard for something else to finish them off. The longer-term, heavier users suffer this more severely than those who partake less, and it only gets worse the longer it is delayed and only gets worse each time the attempt is made — all the more incentive to really kick it the first time. Seriously, get proper medical assistance for kicking the narcotics, because if you delay, or fail and have to start again, it'll suck even more.
    • Mike Williams was already in the process of kicking his opiate addiction as a whole (he had quit using heroin and was on a methadone regimen) before Hurricane Katrina hit, but he was arrested, convicted of drug possession, and jailed sometime after. During his stay in jail, he was forced to go without anything; as a result, he was unable to sleep for seven days and barely ate, subsiding only on slices of bread soaked in water so that he would not have to worry as much about vomiting them back up. After being released, he found that he had managed to kick it completely and was no longer addicted.
  • Alcohol is normally harmless to quit cold turkey, not that it's particularly fun — it'll definitely put a damper on you, even if you didn't drink very much to begin with. If you're a bigger drinker, you're liable to feel bored, unfocused, and gain a Hair-Trigger Temper. So one might not want to even start.
    • For true alcoholics, who are actually physically dependent upon alcohol to function, quitting cold turkey can actually be fatal. It's a condition called Delirium Tremens (Frenzy Shaking) and absolutely demands medical intervention because it DOES kill people. Sadly, this has to be treated with booze, and since the types who'd get Delirium Tremens tend to be the kind to not be able to stop themselves, well... going through professional detox is pretty much the only option.
  • A less dangerous detox is for those attempting to get over a caffeine addiction (yes, it's a recognized type of chemical dependency). Its effects are far less insidious than meth or heroin, but anyone trying to quit caffeine by going cold turkey will experience a good few days of headaches, cravings, jitters, and minor flu symptoms. Unpleasant, but ultimately it's less trouble to deal with than the common cold if it must be undertaken.