Movies about alcoholism and recovery can be extremely intense, and even triggering for some people. Despite this, there have been many award-winning movies on alcoholism, and many that touch on the subject in some way have won awards as well.
In the early 20th century during prohibition, movies were considered a means of entertainment other than drinking. After prohibition ended, early depictions of alcohol in film began to show themselves, eventually being more prominent, like what we see today.
Some might wonder, why watch movies about alcoholism if they can be triggering? Because recovery from alcoholism is an ongoing process, it can be helpful to see that other people are going through the same thing.
There are many famous alcoholics in film history, and some of these celebrity actor alcoholics did not make it to old age because of their alcoholism. Movies about alcoholism can be a good reminder of this. It can also be a good reminder that other people have walked the same path, felt the same feelings, and eventually overcame them.
Different Styles Of Movies On Alcoholism
If you are living with someone who is sober, or simply have a friend who is in recovery, there are specific settings to watch alcoholic movies. Supporting an alcoholic with the film is simple, consider a safe space, such as at home, surrounded by people you trust. These are a few recent movies featuring alcoholics that might be of interest to those in recovery.
Movies Centered On Alcoholic Relationships
- Affliction: Released in 1997, this movie was a film adaptation of a novel. The storyline involves a man who had an abusive father figure. He eventually solves a crime fueled by wanting to avoid the same fate his father fell into.
- Everything Must Go: Starring Will Ferrell, this comedy-drama released in 2010 is about the main character being fired due to his alcoholism. Although it can be seen as a comedy of some sorts, you slowly watch as his life unravels. His wife leaves him, his company car is taken away, and when he eventually goes to AA to get his life back. In this movie, you see him experience serious withdrawal symptoms which might be triggering. Eventually, you see how his destructive drinking ruined his life, but he makes a comeback eventually.
- Clean and Sober: Released a while back, in 1988, this drama is about a real estate agent who has serious substance abuse troubles. After losing his company, having a heart attack, and checking into a rehab center the main character gets sober.
- Betty: This movie is about a woman, a perspective not commonly seen with the theme of alcoholism. “Betty” is a married alcoholic who watches as her family and life are taken from her due to her addiction. This movie was released in 1992 and is considered a psychological drama.
Alcohol Documentaries And Autobiographies
- Barfly: Although it is somewhat of an autobiography, this film was released in 1987 and follows the poet and alcoholic Charles Bukowski. He has an alter ego, lives in a rundown apartment, and works terrible jobs. The movie follows him and his journey where trouble follows him due to his alcoholism.
- When a Man Loves a Woman: This romantic drama was released in 1994 and is regarding a high school counselor with an alcohol use disorder. She lets her alcoholism get the best of her and ends up neglecting her children. She eventually admits to her drinking and goes to a rehabilitation center. The end shows that she and her husband are codependent, and a new, sober, chapter begins.
- Drugstore Cowboy: An autobiographical story based on James Fogle, this movie follows the main character who travels across the United States with a gang of addicts. They steal to support their addiction, and you can see how it negatively affects those who abuse substances. After he witnesses an overdose by his friend, he changes his ways.
Films About Getting Sober
- Trainspotting: This cult film released in 1996 is based on an extremely popular novel. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, and follows a group of addicts. It is about addiction, friendship, and relapse. The primary storyline involves a man who attempts to become sober throughout the film. It is a comedy, a bit dark, but also heartwarming.
- Crazy Heart: This film is based on a novel by the same name. It follows a man who is a singer, but also an alcoholic. He lives on the road, and you can see how he has failed marriages, a son who he forgot about, and a broken life due to alcoholism. After a drunk driving accident puts him in the ICU, it pushes him to rehabilitation and getting sober.
COVID-19 Alcoholism Statistics And Facts
In regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a hard time for everyone in the recovery and alcoholic communities. It was found that 139.7 million Americans use alcohol. This is half the population of the United States. Out of these alcohol users, statistics documented 16 million being heavy alcohol users, and 14.5 million having an AUD (alcohol use disorder).
The stress of the pandemic is known to have made these numbers worse. In a survey by the Recovery Village, mid-pandemic, in May 2020, 88% of people reported drinking alcohol, 55% reported an increase in alcohol consumption, and 18% reported a significant increase.
Abusive Signs Of Alcohol To Watch For
- Drinking although it makes an obvious negative impact on their life
- Being angry when not drinking
- Waking up irritable with the mood lasting until they drink
- Need more to drink in order to feel drunk
- Drinking alone
- Drinking when it should be socially unacceptable
- Being drunk all of the time
- Missing special occasions due to drinking
- Being tired all the time
- Losing license due to drinking, such as with a DUI, and continuing to drink
- Always finding a reason to drink
- Making jokes about their drinking habits to make the situation look better than it is
- Being secretive about drinking or who they associate with
- Lying about how much the drink
Confronting An Alcoholic About Their Alcoholism
It can be extremely difficult to speak to an alcoholic about their alcoholism. In many situations, they may be in denial, or not even realize they are an alcoholic. If you have seen the signs and symptoms in someone you love, the next step is to reach out. There are a few things to consider.
Choose The Right Location
The location should be private and where the person feels safe. You might consider going for a walk or a hike or even sitting at home. Rather than going out to a restaurant where they might want to drink, speaking in their home is a better choice. It can also make them feel more relaxed.
If someone is in denial about their alcoholism you will need to bring up specifics. They truly may not realize they have a problem. Showing them photos, videos, or just bringing up times when their drinking was a problem is a good start. Highlight how their drinking has negatively impacted your life and those around you. Try to be as non-judgmental as possible.
Do Not Be Accusatory
Although you might be angry with your loved one, the best approach is a calm and non-accusatory tone. If you can be compassionate, then they may be more receptive to what you have to say. Although this is not always the case, it is usually a good starting point.
It can be easy to label the person as an alcoholic, but this is usually not the best idea. Instead, focus on using words like “difficult to control this behavior.” You should use positive and neutral language when you can. By having an open conversation, you may be able to convince the person to get help more easily. This should always be the goal.
Supporting Someone You Love And Movies About Alcoholism
Because many of the movies about alcoholism are intense, it can be difficult for someone in recovery to watch. Sometimes they come from a place of personal experience, while other times there is a moral to the story.
If you or a loved one suffer from alcoholism, it is important to get help. Sometimes movies about alcoholism can help alcoholics realize that they need this. For others, a movie about alcoholism can be triggering. It is essential to take a look at how these movies might affect you, or someone you love, before watching them.
Alcoholism affects many different people from all different economic backgrounds and parts of the world, if you need help, contact us today at Circle of Hope Treatment. We can get you the information you need to get healthy and start on the road to recovery.