August 19, 2014

Recovery on Screen: Films (and books) that place recovery center stage

In early recovery especially, it may be easier to stay in with good friends than testing yourself in the bar scene. Grab some popcorn and a cozy blanket, and spend an evening with these movies that are sure to entertain and inspire you.


Recovery Movies

1. My Name Is Bill W. (1989): In this made-for-TV, Emmy Award-winning film, James Woods gives an unforgettably moving portrayal of Bill Wilson, a successful stockbroker whose life fell apart after the stock crash of the 20s. Wilson, with the help of his famous friend Dr. Bob, founded Alcoholics Anonymous.

2. When A Man Loves A Woman (1994):On the outside this family with a pilot dad, school counselor mom and two beautiful little girls looks perfect. On the inside, their lives are being shattered by the wife's dependence on alcohol and her husband's enabling reactions. Stars Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan.

3. 28 Days (2000): Sandra Bullock is a newspaper columnist who is quickly descending into the depths of alcoholism. The film follows her from her wake-up calls to her stay in a treatment center.

4. A Woman Under the Influence (1974):Gena Rowlands stars as Mabel, who is struggling with addictions and mental illness. As her sanity unravels, her husband (Peter Falk) tries to understand and yet loses his patience and objectivity. The film is credited with challenging conventional representations of addiction and mental illness in cinema.

5.Days Of Wine And Roses (1962):This winner of five Academy Award nominations stars Jack Lemmon as a failed public relations flack and Lee Remick as his wife. This couple drinks together to stay together—until it stops working.

6. The Lost Weekend (1945):A classic and winner of the 1945 Academy Award for Best Picture, The Lost Weekend is the story of an alcoholic writer whose self-destructive binges are ruining his life and deeply affecting his relationships with his loved ones.

Comedic Movies

7. Bruce Almighty (2003): A guy (Jim Carey) who complains about God too often is given almighty powers to teach him how difficult it is to run the world. As it turns out, it's not easy being God (but you're not).

8. Click (2006): A workaholic architect (Adam Sandler) finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to overrule his choices. And what was that they said about not regretting the past or controlling the future?

9. Groundhog Day (1993): A weatherman (Bill Murray) finds himself living the same day over and over again. Sounds a little like the definition of insanity, eh?

10. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001):A British woman (Renee Zellweger) is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary. She's kind of, um, compulsive. Sound like anyone you know?

11. Anger Management (2003):Adam Sandler plays a businessman who is wrongly sentenced to an anger-management program, where he meets an aggressive instructor (Jack Nicholson). Anger problem? What anger problem?


12. Addicted: Notes From The Belly Of The Beast (first edition 2001): This powerful book of essays includes contributions from writers who have been on both sides of addiction. It's a great read with pieces contributed by the likes of David Adams Richards, Peter Gzowski, Molly Jong-Fast, Susan Cheever and many more.

13. Alcoholics Anonymous (first edition 1939): “Crack open The Big Book. Yes, again,” says Johanna O'Flaherty, Ph.D, CADAC II, CEAP, vice president of Treatment Services at the Betty Ford Center. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the classics of recovery, as well as a great piece of American literature. It is not designed to become dusty on a shelf. Originally published in 1939, The Big Book is forever new.

14. The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment (1999):This No. 1 New York Times bestseller by Eckhart Tolle has sold millions of copies for a good reason: It really can change the way you think and the direction of your life. Tolle teaches readers to leave their analytical minds, false selves and ego behind to observe their thoughts and actions from a whole new perspective. His opening message: “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”

15. Addict Nation: An Intervention for America (2011): Jane Velez-Mitchell and Sandra Mohr pose that Americans are being lured into addiction to everything from pills and beverages, to fast food, the internet, gambling and televised violence. In a strong argument against consumerism and mindless buy-in, Velez-Mitchell asks, “Do you really want to be a slave, existing just to make someone else rich and powerful?” And then she offers a blueprint for change.

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