Best Movies to Watch During Addiction Recovery

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

If you're currently recovering from substance addiction, there's a good chance that your life is serious movie material. It wouldn't hurt to watch a few films while you are on this journey, so we've prepared a list of the absolute best movies to watch during addiction recovery. All of them are in this way or another related to drug/substance addiction. Also, they all carry a particular message that needs to be heard. Without further ado, let's see the best flicks to watch while you're getting back on your feet!

#1 28 Days (2000)

Here's one of the most obvious choices. Sandra Bullock plays a columnist forced into rehabilitation after she crashed her vehicle while driving under the influence. At first, she refuses to admit she's an alcoholic, but eventually... Okay, let's try not to spoil this one for you. So, why's this move for recovering individuals? Well, because it tackles a good number of issues that they will encounter or have encountered during treatment. Even though the movie portrays a serious problem, it will also give you lots of laughter, almost as if you watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding. However, ensure you've got a box of tissues nearby since there will be a lot of raw, pretty emotional moments you won't forget.

Watching inspirational flicks as a part of recovery is a great thing.

#2 Ray (2004)

Although this flick isn't solely about drug addiction since it covers the life of the great Ray Charles, it's not like it isn't relevant to your case. That's because much of the late musician's life was shadowed by heavy heroin use and addiction. Also, don't think this movie will somehow detail the recovery process thoroughly because it won't. But it's still a fantastic story you should check out. It's an authentic portrayal of one of the 20th century's greatest musicians and a not-so-romantic portrayal of heroin addiction.

#3 Clean & sober (1988)

If you were to check all the lists that start with "best movies about recovery...", you'd see that they all contain this gem. Why Michael Keaton didn't get an Academy Award for his portrayal of a businessman addicted to cocaine will always seem to bug many movie enthusiasts. That's because Keaton was so convincing that you could've easily thought you knew his character in person, either from the street or a business meeting you had last week. This movie isn't a so-called tearjerker; you can watch it without a box of tissues nearby. It's more of an eye-opening flick with authentic storytelling because it shows the audience that drug addiction doesn't have a favorite social class/group. In other words, it tells us that a so-called junkie isn't necessarily a homeless person living on the street.

Get together with some friends and watch Clean & Sober with Micheal Keaton. It’s one the best movies to watch during addiction recovery.

#4 Drunks (1995)

What a direct title! The whole screenplay centers around a single AA meeting. Even though some viewers will tell you this one fails at realistically depicting an AA gathering, you'll want to take that with a grain of salt. That's right, we disagree! This movie shows us what a bad AA meeting looks like. The variety of characters you'll get to see in this movie will probably match most of the folks you've met during treatment. It isn't the best movie on addiction, but it's still a good watch. Also, watching a decent movie is a great way to have fun at home while staying sober during quarantine. Make some popcorn, grab a non-alcoholic beverage, and you're all set for a fantastic movie night!

As we're sure you know, popcorn addiction is pretty widespread.

#5 My name is Bill W (1989)

While we're on the subject of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, let's mention this flick. This one's about a guy called Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholic Anonymous, along with Dr. Bob. Bill is portrayed by none other than James Woods. The movie shows his attempts to get his life back on track by staying sober and, eventually, his decision to found Alcoholic Anonymous with Dr. Bob (James Garner). Since both of them had severe issues with alcoholism, they've worked together and made the world's most recognizable self-help organization.

#6 Drugstore cowboy (1989)

Drugstore Cowboy is Gus Van Sant's brilliant take on drug use and addiction. Also, it's about the need to find a fresher way of looking at things, a new life. The movie revolves around a band of pharmacy-robbing drug addicts and their various adventures. They're portrayed by an unforgettable cast of actors (Matt Dillon plays the main character). And let's not forget that one of the supporting characters is played by the famous Beat writer William Burroughs, who provides the audience with an outstanding performance. Here's why you might like this flick: it shows us that folks around us aren't so keen on believing that we've cleaned up and moved on, a scenario that might be a part of your personal experience. All in all: this is a movie everyone should watch since it might be the Citizen Kane of drug-related movies.

#7 Everything must go (2010)

The last on our list of best movies to watch during addiction recovery is the 2010 flick "Everything must go," recommended by the consultants at Bright Futures Treatment Center FL. In this movie, everyone's favorite goofball, Will Farrell, gives us a prime example of how not to go through a recovery program. There's a good chance that every person that struggled with being a pretty stubborn drunk will have an easy time identifying with the movie in question. 

Final thoughts

That's our suggestions list of the best movies to watch during addiction recovery. Hopefully, you'll find all of them helpful on your path to total sobriety. None of them are meant to patronize you in any way, and all of them introduce a more or less objective approach to the nature of addiction. So, you've got a fantastic movie weekend ahead of you!

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About the Author

Michael Bloomington
Michael Bloomington
Michael Bloomington is a freelance writer from Jacksonville, FL. Besides being a total movie fanatic, he’s a dedicated father of two lovely children and an independent filmmaker.

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