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6 Inspirational Films for People in Addiction Recovery

Movies for Substance Addiction, Relapse and Recovery

The journey to recovery takes hard work, commitment, and dedication. Watching movies about substance addiction, relapse, and recovery can provide inspiration and motivation. It is also a great way to fill downtime in early recovery.

6 Inspirational Films for People in Addiction Recovery

Below are six films about alcohol and drug addiction, relapse, and recovery.

  1. Flight (2012)
    Airline pilot William “Whip” Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. A crash landing goes terribly wrong, forcing him to seek treatment for his addiction. Facing his demons, Whitaker begins to heal. The movie, which is based on a true story, follows Whitaker’s recovery as he learns to heal himself, rebuilds damaged relationships with his son and others, and finds his new purpose in life without alcohol and drugs.
  2. Ben is Back (2018)
    Ben is Back deals with addiction and family relationships. On Christmas Eve, Ben Burns, played by Lucas Hedges, returns to his family’s home unexpectedly. Although his mother, Holly, played by Julia Roberts, is happy and relieved to see her 19-year-old son, she is worried and concerned about his drug addiction. Over the next 24 hours, the love between a mother and son becomes tested as Holly tries to help Ben stay clean. During that time, new revelations come to light, and the relationship between parent and child reaches extreme highs and lows.
  3. When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
    Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia star in this romantic drama as Alice and Michael Green. Michael, an airline pilot, and Alice, a school counselor are deeply in love. But when Alice gets drunk, she is reckless and often neglects her children. After returning home one day drunk, Alice has an accident. She falls through the shower door, lands on the bathroom floor, and loses consciousness. In the hospital, Alice realizes she must get help for her alcohol addiction.  Successful in recovery, Alice begins rebuilding her relationship with her children, leaving her husband feeling lost and neglected. He seeks the support of Al-Anon, sharing that he didn’t realize his wife’s sobriety would affect the dynamics of their relationship and family as much as it did. As Alice and Michael struggle to rebuild their relationship, the movie shows the commitment and deep love a spouse can show as they support their loved one in their journey to recovery.
  4. 28 Days (2000)
    One of the most difficult things for many people struggling with addiction is to admit they have a problem. In the drama/comedy 28 Days, Gwen, played by Sandra Bullock, is in denial of her alcohol addiction. A newspaper columnist, Gwen gets drunk at her sister’s wedding and causes major problems. After she crashes a car while driving drunk, she is court-ordered to spend 28 days in rehab or 28 days in jail. Gwen reluctantly chooses to spend 28 days in rehab. At first, she is still in denial of her alcohol addiction and does not take the program seriously. Gradually Gwen accepts her addiction and becomes serious about her recovery.
  5. A Star Is Born (2018)
    Starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, this romantic drama shows how careers and relationships are impacted by drug addiction. Ally, a struggling young female artist, is discovered by Jackson Maine, an older alcoholic musician. As Ally’s career rises, Jackson’s deteriorates as addiction takes over. Ally and Jackson’s other loved ones successfully help him through his recovery. Although he goes through difficult times, Jackson heals from his drug addiction. This film from 2018 is the fourth remake of this iconic film.
  6. Rocketman (2019)
    A musical biopic, Rocketman is based on the life and career of Sir Elton John. One of the most successful musical artists of the 1970s, Elton John experienced the falling apart of his personal life as his musical career took off. The film tells of his years of addiction to alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. Sir Elton John has been in recovery for over 28 years.

You Are Not Alone

Drug or alcohol addiction can affect anyone. It’s a chronic brain disease. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, we can help. At Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, our skilled professional staff will help you take back control of your life. Take the first step on the path to recovery. Contact us today.


About the author

Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.

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