Josh Chandler | December 10, 2021

Top 5 Films About Addiction and Recovery

Finding Inspiration in Recovery

In this day and age, the power of mainstream media plays a significant role in how individuals face the world and affects how each person sees themselves. With so many negative images in the media giving off conflicting and self-deprecating messages, there is still hope to find inspiration for recovery within films about addiction and recovery. For those living with an active addiction, it can seem like the only images of addiction shown in the media are the worst-case scenarios with little to no stories of regaining your life and achieving sobriety. In fact, many movies highlight the courageous steps it takes to maneuver through addiction and the stories of hope and resiliency for those who work their way back up from the depths of addiction.

At times, it may feel hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel through your addiction and sobriety. This is often because it can be hard to imagine something unknown. Additionally, when you live under a cloud of addiction, the ability to think and imagine outside the box can often become dimmed and jaded. This often leads individuals to look elsewhere for motivation and inspiration to change the future. Turning to the big screen to see stories of hope, survival, and transformation within characters facing addiction can assist you to see that there is an opportunity to overcome addiction and find yourself on the other side. Keep reading to learn about the best films about addiction and recovery to inspire your addiction treatment journey.

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Beautiful Boy (2018)

Beautiful Boy is one of the films about addiction and recovery based on the best-selling memoir about a father and son experiencing the trials and tribulations of supporting a son who is in active addiction and trying to get clean. Steve Carrell stars as the father, David, to son Nic who is battling an addiction to crystal meth. While David and his wife begin to notice that their son’s behavior is changing dramatically, they are left feeling helpless with how they can help their son get out of the cycle of addiction. Struggling to understand the nature of addiction, David goes to any length to understand and reach his son again, who has been on the streets with his active addiction, including trying drugs such as cocaine and talking with individuals living on the streets experiencing addiction. As the story progresses, you see how David begins to reach out to drug rehab programs such as Al-Anon to find his healing path and continue supporting David through his addiction.

What is captivating about the movie is the unique perspective of how addiction can have a ripple effect on the loved ones around you as you battle through the ups and downs of addiction. For many who live in the depths of their addiction, it often feels like no one understands the struggles you are experiencing and that you have no one to turn to. This movie demonstrates that when you need support, people around want to help you find your way to sobriety and care for you unconditionally. It gives a message of hope that long-term sobriety can be achieved through a strong feeling of belonging and love from others around you.

Ben is Back (2018)

Another story that demonstrates the power of love and connection in aiding a person to overcome an addiction is the movie Ben Is Back, starring Julia Roberts. This movie follows the story of a teenage son, Ben, who is amidst a drug addiction who returns home on Christmas eve. While his mother is happy to welcome Ben back into the family with no questions asked, the rest of the family members have concerns about Ben’s sobriety. The story follows the journey of the next 24 hours with mother and son, who are trying to rediscover their relationship and communication with one another while learning more about the extent of Ben’s addiction. As Ben is fighting to stay sober, he is faced with many temptations and roadblocks along the way.

The powerful message of letting the person experiencing addiction know that they will not be alone anymore and that you will always have the love and support of your mother demonstrates that connection is critical for a healthy recovery. Addiction can impact the ability to communicate and maintain a level of trust with one another. Regardless of what has happened, there is hope that relationships and trust can be rebuilt, creating a solid recovery support foundation.

28 Days (2000)

Sandra Bullock stars as Gwen Cummings in the movie 28 days, released in 2000. This movie follows the story of a newspaper columnist who is battling an alcohol addiction. After attending her sister’s wedding drunk, Gwen ends up ruining the wedding through her drunken antics by wrecking the wedding cake and making a scene at the wedding. After stealing a car to get a replacement wedding cake, she crashes that car due to drunk driving. Gwen enters an alcohol rehab program where she is placed in an addiction treatment program for 28 days.

This movie depicts the day-to-day life within an alcohol rehab by highlighting the different walks of life that addiction can enter into and the various personalities of individuals that enter into recovery. As you watch Gwen go through the daily therapeutic sessions, which initially she was highly reluctant to partake in, you begin to see the power of transformation that can happen within an alcohol rehab program. Gwen can maintain her sobriety, and the viewers can witness the difference that a life in sobriety has.

This movie displays the hope and happiness that can come when you commit yourself to a new life of sobriety and heal from the wounds of your past that have impacted your alcohol use. Viewers can get an inside look at the daily occurrences within an alcohol rehab program and the emotional ups and downs that ensue for patients each day. Through the group and individual therapy sessions portrayed, the power of addiction treatment and finding connections with other addicts is the most effective tool for healing from addiction.

A Star Is Born (2018)

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper star in this drama that focuses on a country singer’s rise to fame and the fall he encounters due to his alcoholism. As the two begin to fall in love and collaborate on music, the enticing scene of fame and fortune takes over as Bradley Cooper’s character, Jack, begins to drink heavily more and more. As Lady Gaga’s character, Ally, continues to try and support Jack, you see that although there is love and support for him without the proper intervention and alcohol treatment, it is an uphill battle for Jack to overcome his alcoholism. Jack begins to lose everything he worked hard for, including his career, his wife Ally, and those close to him. As Jack starts to spiral more into his alcoholism, he ultimately cannot bear where his life is and takes his own life.

While this film shows the grim reality of alcoholism and what can happen if not treated properly, it does have a message of hope. Intervening early and getting the necessary treatment will provide you with support for your addiction as well as any co-occurring disorders. For those who have entered into recovery, it can serve as a good reminder of how far alcohol can bring someone down and how you do not want to return to the desperate, lonely place of your addiction.

Recovery Boys (2018)

Recovery Boys is a documentary on Netflix that shows the story of four men who are battling opiate addiction and is one of the best films about addiction and recovery. As they enter into Jacob’s Ladder rehabilitation program, the four men begin to take down their hard exteriors and look within at the emotions influencing their addiction. The documentary follows the men for 18 months, and viewers can see the ups and downs of living in recovery and going through drug rehab. The men learn emotional processing and regulation tools while also incorporating holistic treatment methods such as music, meditation, and art therapy. The men go through moments of emotional breakthroughs, newfound successes in sobriety, and some face the genuine threat of relapse. Recovery Boys demonstrates an accurate depiction of the highs and lows that come with early recovery and addiction treatment.

Start Your Recovery Journey at Muse Treatment

It may feel that these stories of hope and inspiration can only be depicted in films about addiction and recovery when you are living amid your addiction, but Muse Treatment’s rehab center can support you in finding and discovering your own recovery journey that will be inspiring within itself. We offer patients a truly holistic approach to treatment that will help free them from the emotional ties of addiction while giving them the necessary tools for relapse prevention and positive life skill development. Through evidence-based therapy methods, patients can understand the root causes of their addiction and transform their life from one of active addiction to a life of sobriety and freedom. Call us at (800) 426-1818 today to learn more about addiction treatment Los Angeles.

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Josh Chandler
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