If you've recently decided to cut back on your drinking, challenge yourself to a 'dry' month or two, or perhaps you've decided to quit alcohol altogether, you may well be feeling the desire to read, watch and listen to other people's stories and journey's to gain a better overall understanding of addiction.
So we've done our research and rounded up the ultimate top ten relatable and inspirational movies about alcohol addiction. Some are based on true stories, some are fiction, but all offer an insight into the darkness of alcohol and addiction...
1. 28 Days (2000)
Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock) spends her nights in a drunken haze with her boyfriend, Jasper. She ruins her sister's wedding by showing up late and disheveled, delivering a drunken, rambling speech, and knocking over the wedding cake. Intoxicated, Gwen steals a limousine from the reception, tries to locate a cake store, and winds up losing control of the car and crashing into a house. She is given a choice between jail time or 28 days in a rehab centre.
She chooses rehab, but is extremely resistant to taking part in any of the treatment programs they have to offer, refusing to admit that she has an alcohol and drug addiction. After getting to know some of the other patients and struggling to stay sober, Gwen gradually begins to re-examine her life and see that she does, in fact, have a serious problem. The path to recovery will not be easy, and success will not be guaranteed or even likely, but she is now willing to give it a try.
Download or Buy the DVD: 28 Days
2. Smashed (2012)
A Special Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Smashed, follows the life of Kate Hannah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an alcoholic elementary school teacher who is married to a fellow alcoholic. After one particular night of drinking (and spontaneously smoking crack for the first time), Kate comes to work too hungover and vomits in front of her kids. She decides to attend AA meetings and quit drinking. Kate starts to piece her life back together, but as her husband continues to drink, her marriage suffers. In the long run, the story has a hopeful message — especially for alcoholics who have loved ones holding them back from sobriety.
Download or Buy the DVD: Smashed
3. Crazy Heart (2009)
Otis “Bad” Blake (Jeff Bridges) went from a country music superstar to a washed up alcoholic who can only book gigs in small-town bars and lives between his Suburban and cheap motels. When Jean, a young journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal), enters his life, Bad Blake begins to get his life back on track, but seems to continue failing. Finally, after Jean leaves him, Bad Blake decides once and for all to sober up, but never gets her back. Crazy Heart is ultimately a tale of loss and redemption.
Download or Buy the DVD: Crazy Heart
4. Trainwreck (2015)
The movie starts with Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) at age 9, when her father tells her that monogamy is not realistic. Twenty-three years later, Amy is a writer for a men’s magazine and a huge party girl whose main joy in life involves abusing two things: alcohol and men. But when she meets Aaron, a sports doctor (Bill Hader), and accidentally falls in love, she has a whole new set of issues to work through. Trainwreck follows the ups and downs of a relationship between two people not willing to commit, and the many poor, alcohol-induced decisions that Amy makes.
Download or Buy the DVD: Trainwreck
5. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Leaving Las Vegas shows the incredibly unfunny side of alcohol. After being fired from his job, Ben (Nicolas Cage) moves to Las Vegas to literally drink himself to death. He falls in love with a prostitute named Sera (Elisabeth Shue), who quickly becomes concerned about his drinking habits and urges him to see a doctor. After he refuses, their relationship spirals out of control, ending with a final encounter on Ben’s deathbed. The tragic love story is a reminder of alcohol dependency’s darkest hours.
Download or Buy the DVD: Leaving Las Vegas
6. Home Run (2013)
Star baseball player Cory Brand (Scott Elrod) has it all together on the baseball diamond, but off the field, he's spinning out of control. Memories of his past haunt him and when he suspended from the league following a DUI, his agent sends him back to his home town in an effort to save his career and reputation.
As part of his probation, besides spending eight weeks in the town's only recovery program, he's forced to coach a kids' baseball team. Cory hates the prospect and can't wait for his suspension to be up so he can return to his old life. He's surprised when through the enthusiasm of his young players, he experiences the joy of the game again and finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.
Download or Buy the DVD: Home Run
7. The Spectacular Now (2013)
High-schooler Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) has it all: looks, charm, a job, and a beautiful girlfriend. His motto is to live in the moment, until it all comes crashing down. After his girlfriend dumps him for having no direction in life, he wakes up on the front lawn of Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley). As you can probably guess, one thing leads to another and they fall in love. But Sutter has a painful past with his father and some serious drinking habits. The Spectacular Now is about a guy who seems like the cool party kid, but who, with Aimee’s help, begins to come to terms with his alcohol issues.
Download or Buy the DVD: The Spectacular Now
8. Flight (2012)
Commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) has a problem with drugs and alcohol, though so far he's managed to complete his flights safely. His luck runs out when a disastrous mechanical malfunction sends his plane hurtling toward the ground. Whip pulls off a miraculous crash-landing that results in only six lives lost. Shaken to the core, Whip vows to get sober -- but when the crash investigation exposes his addiction, he finds himself in an even worse situation.
Download or Buy the DVD: Flight
9. When A Man Loves A Woman (1994)
A wife and mother of two daughters, Alice Green (Meg Ryan) has developed a severe drinking problem. While her husband, Michael (Andy Garcia), has been patient in dealing with this issue, it soon becomes clear that he has been enabling her alcoholism. When her addiction threatens her children's safety, Alice decides to enter a rehab clinic. Upon returning home, she finds that her new lifestyle causes an unexpected rift with Michael, leading to some soul-searching for the couple.
Download or Buy the DVD: When A Man Loves A Woman
10. Days of Wine And Roses (1962)
Days Of Wine And Roses is an award-winning film about the horror of addiction that inspired Bill Withers’ hit ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. It stars the great Jack Lemmon as a problem drinker who falls for teetotaller Lee Remick. Of course, Lemmon soon gets Remick hooked on the drink and the two slowly turn from casual drinkers to raging alcoholics. After a failed attempt at getting sober, Lemmon is committed to a psych ward where he finally begins to realise he needs help. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Remick, who continues to get loaded, leading to the two becoming estranged. In the final heartbreaking scene, Remick tells Lemmon to give up on her as she walks off into the night.
Download or Buy the DVD: Days of Wine and Roses
I've also created a Top Ten List of Best Books to Read When Giving Up Alcohol which you can read here...
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