Nothing ends a night like a big bowl of popcorn and a good movie. If I get to pick the movie, then nine times out of ten, it is going to be about recovery. These last few years, my obsession with addiction recovery has quadrupled. I work, write, read, and watch movies about it. It is my passion; it is my life. I want to learn everything there is to know so I can use my knowledge to help others escape the grasp of an addiction. Recovery movies are one of those powerful tools that can be used to inspire and motivate people to change. There are many beautiful stories, but here are my favorite nine movies about recovering addicts.
The Basketball Diaries (1995)
Since it’s the first on my list, you can probably guess that The Basketball Diaries is my favorite recovery movies. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio makes the movie even more enjoyable, but it is the storyline about his character, Leo, that will have you hooked from the very first minutes. In the beginning, Leo is an athlete with high standards and big dreams, but slowly, his life spirals downhill when he starts playing with drugs. He has to overcome them along with a lifestyle that destroys and hurts lives.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This is one of the most depressing recovery movies you will ever watch, but it will also leave the biggest impact. A family takes their drug addictions to the lowest level. They essentially give up their souls for one more high. The reality of drugs is painful to watch, but I love that the producers didn’t lace it with pretty bows; drugs are ugly. The end is shocking, and the choice to recover is no longer an option for two of the characters; sometimes recovery is forced when a person is mentally gone.
Half Nelson (2006)
Ryan Gosling plays a character who fights the inner battle of good intentions mixed with addiction. It reminds me of many of my clients; they want to do good things, but their addictions get in the way. As a teacher, he lives a double life and fights to defeat his personal demons.
My Name is Bill W. (1989)
I don’t think I could create a list of recovery movies about recovering addicts without adding the one that started it all. Bill Wilson is the most famous ex-alcoholic out there and is the mind behind AA. His story is what inspires other alcoholics to change, and if by some reason you haven’t seen it, you’d better buy a copy and keep it around for the long haul.
28 Days (2000)
With Sandra Bullock living it up in rehab, this storyline is full of good humor and positive vibes. Her days in rehab are reflected in the title, but they run more smoothly than reality actually proves. It has been on and off of Netflix, so it might be an easy watch if you need a convenient movie about recovery.
Clean and Sober (1988)
After getting into trouble with the law, Daryl Poynter, played by Michael Keaton, checks himself into rehab for reasons that aren’t quite ethical. He uses the anonymity factor as a way to hide from officials, but he slowly realizes that rehab is really where he needs to be.
I love the filming of this movie; the action takes place at AA meetings. Instead of learning the story of one or two main characters, you get the chance to see how addiction realistically affects the lives of everyone at the meeting. The raw emotions capture what recovery is like for so many different people.
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
A happy couple seems to have it all, but when the husband begins flying frequently as a pilot, his wife turns to alcohol to fill the void. It isn’t until their daughter begins to suffer from neglect that he realizes his wife’s addiction. When they turn to rehab for help, a sober life develops new emotional obstacles.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Don’t let the age of this movie turn you away; it portrays the control alcohol can have on a life. Joe Clay is an alcoholic who can’t manage to keep a steady job but somehow convinces a woman to join his drinking lifestyle. As their lives begin to crumble, he gets the help he needs, but she is unwilling to change. The story will tug at your heart and is a great reminder of what recovery truly means.
There are many more movies out there about recovery, but these are definitely my favorites. Movies can inspire and be the extra push an addict needs to choose to get help.
Recovery Movies Can Help You Find Treatment
Recovery from addiction isn’t just Hollywood magic, it can also be your reality. To learn more about alcoholism rehab and cocaine addiction rehab, call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135. Be the main character of your own recovery movie and find the treatment you need today.