Watching Movies on Addiction and Recovery

Drug Addiction Therapy | LakehouseRecoveryCenter.comSometimes, we need to hear the stories of others. We need to touch upon the dark circumstances they faced in order to have compassion for ourselves. Movies are an easy way to see the intimate experiences of others and how they overcame challenges. One form of drug addiction therapy is to watch movies that mirror the challenges you went through, giving you a sense of hope, strength, and resilience. Below are a list of movies that tell the stories of addiction and recovery.

Words and Pictures

Released May 22, 2014, this is a romantic comedy that at first highlights a flirtatious courtship between two instructors at an upscale prep school and later reveals each of their demons. Dina Delsanto is an acclaimed artist turned bitter art teacher after getting arthritis, and Jack Marcus is an accomplished writer and English teacher whose addiction to alcohol is putting his career at risk. This film highlights the destruction of the addiction cycle as well as the slow progression towards recovery. He attends a men’s sober living program and finally makes amends with not only his son but also Delsanto. The movie includes a very heart-warming scene where Marcus expresses his love for his son and apologizes for the destruction he created in their relationship.

28 Days

This 2000 movie with Sandra Bullock highlights the character Gwen Cummings who has a great career but is forced to enter rehab. In the beginning Gwen is resistant to help, and refuses to participate in the sober living program she is a part of. But over time she slowly became involved in the lives of others at the program and eventually became forced to look at some of the uncomfortable similarities in her own life. Later, she recognizes that her life is indeed messy and that the destruction in her life is due to her drinking. This is a great movie that reveals what happens when someone with an addiction is willing to face the truth.

The Basketball Diaries

You are familiar with Leonardo DiCaprio from the Titanic, but this is a pre-Titanic DiCaprio playing the role of a free-spirited high schooler named Jim Carroll who gets pulled in by the sneaky lure of addiction.  He’s a member of an apparently unbeatable high school basketball squad. Many heavy factors in his life including a friend dying of leukemia, an invasive coach, and a growing unhealthy appetite for heroine cause the addiction to spiral out of control. It gets so bad that he sells his body in prostitution. However, eventually he ends up in prison then an mental health institution, and finally manages to pull his life back together. Although this is a hard film to watch at times, the storyline is inspirational for an addict who has seen tough times like Carroll.

Clean and Sober

Michael Keaton plays a cocaine and alcohol user who is able to keep his addiction in check. He’s got a full time and successful real estate career and manages to hold down his addiction. However, one night he wakes up next to a woman who is unconscious and who apparently overdosed. He also gets a call from his employer saying that money is missing and that they suspect he’s at fault. As a way to avoid his problems, he checks himself into a sober living program. Although he is at first reluctant to change, he eventually decides to face his demons. This is another great film about the reality of an addiction and what’s required to break the cycle.

Other movies that could inspire you toward living sober are:

  • The Lost Weekend
  • When A Man Loves A Woman
  • The Days of Wine and Roses
  • Half Nelson
  • My Name is Bill W.

Drug addiction therapy is necessary during recovery, and this can include traditional forms of psychotherapy to address the underlying causes that might have contributed to your addiction. At the same time, an activity as simple as watching movies can also provide the drug addiction therapy necessary for creating a sober life.


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