Best Documentaries About Addiction and Alcoholism

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 1/16/2022

Alcoholism (alcohol abuse disorder) is defined as a dependency on alcohol. People who become alcoholics suffer from withdrawal symptoms, sudden and powerful urges to drink, and binge drinking tendencies. Documentaries about alcoholism discuss alcohol abuse disorder and provide insight into what the condition does to people. 

1). Addiction

Addiction is a documentary on addiction that doesn't pull any punches. The documentary follows 9 different stories to see how alcoholism and addiction affect people's lives. Each story shows a new side of addiction and follows how damaging it can be. The documentary's main idea focuses on how addiction leads to depression, death, violence, and other mental health conditions. 

Addiction is a popular documentary that critics like the Washington Post consider "chilling." The film has an IMDB score of 6.5 out of 10 and was nominated for several awards. Addiction won an Independent Satellite Award in 2007 for its characters and in-depth analysis of drug addiction and alcoholism.

2). Drinking to Oblivion 

Drinking to Oblivion was filmed in 2016 and follows Louis Theroux as he meets with people who suffer from alcoholism and those who treat alcoholism. The documentary is based on four stories in London and how patients who are suffering from the condition handle alcoholism. Drinking to Oblivion's main idea is to show viewers how dangerous alcoholism is for the mind and body.

The documentary was popular when it was released and is still popular today. It has an IMDB score of 7.7 out of 10 and 84% of people who watched it on the Google Play store liked it. Drinking to Oblivion was also nominated for an Independent Satellite Award and won it. Its main themes help with alcoholism treatment by encouraging people to seek help and by focusing on prevention.

3). The Anonymous People 

The Anonymous People is an alcoholism-related documentary that focuses on providing solutions to the many alcoholism problems we face today. The documentary focuses on how alcoholism can be solved instead of listing the problems like many other types of media that relate to alcoholism. The main theme of the documentary is to show people who suffer from alcoholism and addiction that recovery is possible.

The Anonymous People was released in March of 2014 and has an IMDB score of 7.4 out of 10. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 43%, though, which makes it less popular than some other alcoholism documentaries. Critics claimed that the documentary listed more problems than solutions for alcoholism treatment.

4). Recovery Boys 

Recovery Boys tells the story of four men who suffered from alcoholism. While the four men were alcoholics in the past, the documentary focuses on recovery instead of addiction. The story follows how the four men manage their recovery and support each other during recovery. Some themes in the documentary include friendship and teamwork. That said, the main point of the documentary is that recovering from addiction is possible but that it's best to have some support. Recovery Boys is one of the most popular alcoholism documentaries around. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% and an IMDB score of 6.6 out of 10. While Recovery Boys focuses more on opioids and other drugs instead of alcohol, the main ideas are the same. The documentary was filmed in Morgantown, West Virginia.

5). My Name is Bill W. 

My Name is Bill W. is a documentary about William Griffith Wilson and his struggles with alcoholism. Wilson was a war veteran who slipped into alcohol addiction after the war. While he amassed a fortune as a stockbroker, Wilson ended up losing his fortune because of his addiction. The main theme of My Name is Bill W. is that addiction can ruin your life and cause you to lose your life, money, and family.

My Name is Bill W. is an older documentary. It was released in 1989, so it's not too popular today. That said, critics liked the documentary and that's reflected in the IMDB 7.3 out of 10. It was also popular during the 1990s as the HIV and AIDS epidemic became more well-known. It also maintains a Google Play score of 92% and a 5 out of 5 on eBay.

6). Intervention 

Intervention is a series about Hollywood and how many celebrities check themselves in and out of rehab centers. Many Hollywood celebrities find themselves in these programs with little or no success. The film series focuses on how addiction affects the lives of the people who suffer from the addiction. Intervention also shows viewers the Intervention process, which occurs when people sit down with someone and explain how the addiction is harming them. That makes the main point of this film about how addiction can strike without people noticing.

Intervention maintains a high score from most critics. The film has an IMDB score of 7.8 out of 10. According to Google users, 85% of them liked the film. It was popular when it was released and ran for a total of 23 seasons. There were 333 episodes in total, each with a focus on new people and their experiences.

7). Prescription Thugs 

Prescription Thugs is a documentary that focuses on the prescription drug industry. The documentary focuses on pharmaceutical companies and how their prescription drugs cause drug addiction. Filmmaker Chris Bell makes it his mission to see why so many people end up addicted to things like Percocet and other prescription drugs. Bell discovers that the big companies don't care about the consequences as long as there is profit.

Prescription Thugs' main idea is that addiction isn't always the fault of the individual. While there are individual things that play into it, becoming addicted to substances can be induced by bad circumstances. Prescription Thugs is well-received by critics and maintains an IMDB score of 7 out of 10. It also has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 69%.

How do Addiction Theme Documentaries Help for Alcoholism Treatment?

The addiction themes in documentaries help with alcoholism treatment by bringing awareness to the issues. Documentaries bring attention to alcoholism issues and themes in society by following stories from individuals or by looking at the general alcohol-related statistics. Bringing awareness to these issues gets more public attention focused on solving the alcoholism epidemic.

Alcoholism documentaries are also useful for helping people understand the addiction treatment and alcoholism cures. Addiction treatment comes in many ways and some methods work better for some than others. Documentaries like Intervention reflect this well. Some themes in alcoholism documentaries are also relatable, which is good encouragement for people who need it.

Who are the Sober Celebrities? 

Several sober celebrities don't drink alcohol or use drugs. One of the most prominent sober celebrities is Bradley Cooper. Bradley Cooper struggled with alcohol throughout his 20s and has been on several podcasts about his addiction struggles. Cooper was interviewed by GQ in 2013 and spoke about how if he continued down the path he was going he would have lost himself to the lifestyle.

Another sober celebrity is Elton John. John was someone who partied a lot in his 20s but he's been sober for the last 28 years of his life. Music legend Elton John decided to get sober in 1990 after seeing what the HIV and AIDS epidemic took a toll on society. Ever since John has remained sober and doesn't experiment with drugs or alcohol. He got sober by stopping drinking.

Demi Lovato is another celebrity who remains sober. Lovato rose to fame from songs and her voice but she struggles with mental health conditions like self-harm, bipolar disorder, and bulimia. Lovato has been through rehab programs and support groups to help her remain sober. She's been sober since 2012.

Some other notable sober celebrities include Dax Sheppard, Tyer, the Creator, and Zac Efron.

Are There any Award-Winning Alcoholism Documentaries?

Alcoholism documentaries have won awards for bringing awareness to the alcoholism epidemic. One example is Drinking to Oblivion, which was noticed for an Independent Satellite Award for its detail and portrayal of alcoholism. Documentaries win awards because of the themes and emotional impact they have on viewers.

What are the Other Artworks for Alcoholism Besides Documentaries? 

Besides movies, there are other types of art and literature that you can use for alcoholism. These include:

  • Podcasts

  • Songs

  • Memoirs

  • Books 

What are the Alcoholism Related Podcasts Besides Movies? 

Alcoholism-related podcasts are long-form types of entertainment based on conversations between individuals. Podcasts are a raw form of entertainment that makes them relatable and great for recovery.

The Bubble Hour; by Jean McCarthy, is one of the best podcasts for alcoholism because it uses personal experiences to convey the message of sobriety. This is accomplished through Jean McCarthy having special guests on the show to share their experiences. It's a popular alcoholism podcast and the length of each podcast lasts for about 1 to 2 hours.

Another alcoholism-related podcast to consider is the Sober Guy Podcast. The podcast is hosted by Shane Ramer and each episode runs for about an hour or a little over an hour. Shane Ramer speaks to his audience about alcoholism recovery and speaks from personal experience as he's in the recovery process. He also has special guests to speak about their experiences with alcoholism. Some special guests are celebrities.

The last podcast to look at is Breaking Free: Your Recovery, Your Way. This podcast focuses on helping individuals recover from alcoholism on their own terms. The podcast brings together real-life experience, evidence-based treatment modalities, and other forms of alcoholism treatment. It's hosted by Liv and Tiffany and the podcast runs for about 2 hours.

These podcasts have hours of content and personal stories you can listen to about alcoholism.

What are the Alcoholism Related Songs Besides Documentaries? 

Music can help you feel better, improve your mood, and even get help for alcoholism. Several alcoholism-related songs share personal experiences and have themes about alcoholism and what it does to someone's life. While there are dozens of songs, some are better than others.

One of the best songs for alcoholism is Breaking the Habit, by Linkin Park. Linkin Park created the song to speak out about alcoholism. The song goes over the band's experiences with alcoholism and focuses on getting sober. It was released in 2003 and has a runtime of three minutes and sixteen seconds.

One Day at a Time, by Joe Walsh, is another excellent song about alcoholism. One Day at a Time is about Joe Walsh's personal experiences with alcohol and other drugs like cocaine. Joe Walsh sings about his recovery and the steps he had to take to get his life back and get clean. The song was released in 2012 and is part of Walsh's Analog Man album. The song has a runtime of three minutes and forty seconds.

Piano Man, by Billy Joel, isn't directly about alcoholism but the sad tone and focus on drinking in a dive bar negatively displays alcohol. Piano Man has many lyrics about how people could have been successful but got trapped drinking in a dive bar. The only bright spot about the people in the songs' lives is that they don't have to drink alone. Piano Man was released many years ago and has a runtime of five minutes and 39 seconds.

Music touches every aspect of life and affects us. Songs composed on topics such as alcohol addiction and recovering are listed below.

What are the Alcoholism Related Memoirs Besides Documentaries? 

Memoirs are pieces of art that feel more personal to those who read them. One of the best memoirs about alcoholism is Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr. Lit: A Memoir is a story about Mary Karr's struggle with alcoholism and how she fell into the cycle of drinking every day. The memoir also explores Mary Karr's revival. The memoir was published in 2009 and had a positive reception among most critics.

Another alcoholism-related memoir is Dry, by Augusten Burroughs. Dry explores the life of Augusten Burroughs and his struggles with alcoholism. The memoir explores how it happened to him, what it did to his life, and how he was able to escape from alcoholism's tight grip. Dry is a great memoir because it's personal, raw, and doesn't hold back. It was published in 2003 and there are several follow-ups that Burroughs created. Some examples are Magical Thinking. Running with Scissors is another work by Burroughs that preceded Dry. 

The last alcoholism-related memoir to look at is Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa F. Smith. In her book, Smith talks about her story with alcoholism. Tell her experiences as a young adult with anxiety, her stress from the workload, and her recovery process. She faces all the harm alcohol gives her in the detox facility and changes her life. The book is 219 pages long and has a Goodreads score of 4.2 out of 5.

What are the Alcoholism Related Books Besides Documentaries?

Alcoholism-related books are one of the best methods for finding help with addiction in art and literature alcoholism-related books include:

Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola: Hepola herself has a history of alcoholism that she drinks wine from her parents' glasses secretly. And when she is an adult, her drinking turns into blackouts. In her book, she tells her story with self-deprecating humor. The book is 209 pages long and has a Goodreads score of 4.5 out of 5.

We are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura Mckowen: Mckowen, who defines people who drink casually as lucky during the process of trying to quit drinking, realizes that when she quits drinking, she is the lucky one because she can experience her feelings honestly and as she wants. The book is 252 pages long and has a Goodreads score of 4.4 out of 5.

The last book to look at is The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, by Annie Grace. In this book, Annie Grace focuses on how someone can control alcohol and prevent it from becoming an addiction. She uses her background to explain how addiction works and how you can overcome it. For alcoholism prevention and treatment, it's one of the best options. It was released in 2015 as a self-help book that's 274 pages in length. It maintains a 4.3 out of 5 Goodreads score, a 4.7 out of 5 Google Play score, and a 5 out of 5 from Barnes & Noble.

If you're looking for treatment advice or treatment for alcoholism, reading books is one of the best ways to get started. Books work better than other types of media because you can reference them at any time and relate to the words.

Author
author
Thomas Roth
Lead Editor

Thomas has been working in the substance abuse industry for over 3 years and he's made it his mission to help those in need. Tom started out by writing content to help people find addiction treatment centers near their location. Once he understood the value in the words he wrote Tom shifted to outreach, editing, and content creation. If nothing else, Tom wants to see those who struggle with Alcohol abuse disorder recover.