6 Inspirational Movies about Addiction & Recovery

One thing people in recovery need is new activities! Keeping free from boredom may very well be life-saving if it means avoiding relapse. Movies are a great way to pass the time. And what better movie than one with a message of hope about recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction?

These movies also serve those who have family or loved ones in a treatment program or recovery, so that they can better understand the experience of addiction and sobriety. Make some popcorn and settle in!



My Name is Bill W

This inspirational movie is required watching for anyone who has heard of Alcoholics Anonymous or a 12 Step program. Follow the story of Bill Wilson (James Wood), the founder of AA,  in his life and through his harsh decline into alcoholism. The movie shows how fate brought him together with Dr. Bob (James Garner), the co-founder of this world-wide, life-changing program that has helped save millions of lives from alcoholism and addiction.

Clean & Sober

Michael Keaton stars in this classic story about addiction and reluctant recovery. He plays a hotshot businessman whose world crumbles due to cocaine addiction. Running from the law, his work, and his conscience, he “escapes” into rehab. There he experiences what it means to live clean and sober. Many people in recovery may identify with not wanting to become sober, but the changes that occur in life when recovery begins to happen.

Basketball Diaries

Leonardo DiCaprio depicts a young athlete in this true story of addiction. After becoming addicted to heroin, the star’s life quickly becomes unmanageable and he becomes homeless and a male prostitute. The movie depicts his recovery from his low bottom and demonstrates to addicts that no matter how far you have fallen, there is always hope of recovery.

28 Days

Recovery movies don’t always have to be heartwrenching! This lighter-hearted fare starring Sandra Bullock shows a self-absorbed alcoholic wreaking havoc in the lives around her. After destroying her sister’s wedding, she enters a 28 day rehab program. Like Michael Keaton’s character in Clean and Sober, she had no intention of actually changing her behavior, but in rehab she sees a new way of living.

Days of Wine and Roses

Alcoholism and an unhealthy relationship take center stage in this drama starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Rennick. His alcoholism triggers unhealthy drinking in her, until both their lives have come crashing down. A heartbreaking depiction of how alcohol destroys marriages, this movie ends with him finding recovery and her continuing on the path of addiction.

When a Man Loves a Woman

A romantic drama starring Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia, this movie shows the reality of an alcoholic wife and mother. An interesting aspect of this film is it also showcases the role of an enabling and co-dependent  partner of an alcoholic. The first half of the movie shows Meg Ryan living as an alcoholic, and the second half shows her living in recovery and how her life changes. It initially impacts the husband in a negative way, as his role as the “strong” one has changed, and he has to cope with the changed dynamic in the relationship.

Please remember that movies CAN be triggers for drug and alcohol use. If you feel uncomfortable or have urges to use, stay away from visual images of people partying. It’s just not worth the risk! If you or a loved one needs help, contact the Pat Moore Foundation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



Pat Moore Foundation teams up with D’Amore Healthcare. D'Amore Healthcare specializes in treating mental health and behavioral illness along with the wide variety of addictions such as alcoholism, opiate addiction, cocaine addiction, crystal meth addiction, and prescription drug abuse.

Our caring, qualified staff is here for you. If you have any questions regarding help for yourself or a loved one please contact our us anytime 24 hours a day at 714.375.1110 or fill out the contact form.

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