Recovery Matters

Consequence Films – Pertaining to Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Consequence Films – pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction

“Play the movie forward.”

If you have been to rehab or are involved in AA or NA, you are sure to have heard this term. Before your euphoric recall gets the better of you, before you pick up the phone and call your dealer: ‘play the movie forward.’ This will help the relapse to drug and alcohol addiction.

Yes, that initial rush may be exhilarating, but what are the consequences? Think before you act. As they say, rock bottom has a basement.

Speaking of ‘playing the movie forward,’ there are many films available that have captured the true depravity and struggle of alcoholism and addiction. These are known in the recovery world as ‘consequence films’.

Addict Logic

When I was in rehab we had to sit through these films and I never understood why this was part of our rehabilitation. In some weird and warped way I felt triggered by these hard hitting nightmarish story lines. Watching Requiem for a Dream made me want to use!

Let us put this into perspective:

The films lead character gets a gangrenous, rotting infection due to spiking heroin.
The leading lady loses all her dignity to get her next hit, this involves acts of degrading sexual depravity.
The supporting characters end up insane, corrupted and institutionalised.

Oh, how appealing the film was to me! Who thinks like that? Only an addict.

Consequence Films in a Controlled Environment

I now understand why I was told to watch these consequences films pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction. Watching these consequence films in a controlled environment makes the struggle to sit through them easier. It also opens your eyes to the real consequences that come with addiction, and these events are discussed with a group of people all suffering with the same disease.

The first film I watched in rehab was Requiem for a Dream. The next week we were shown ‘Walk the Line.’ My heart sunk watching the film. I was watching a man ruin an amazing life, destroy his talent and obliterate his relationships. I related to the story strongly, the ending hit me the hardest. The icon that was Johnny Cash survived his alcoholism and went on to live a clean and serene life. I realised that I did not want the life that Requiem for a Dream explored – I just wanted a life!

I would not recommend anyone in early recovery watch any of these films. However, if you are strong in your recovery then there are some poignant films out there that reiterate how proud you should be to have survived through addiction, and why you should never go back.

Other Eye Opening Consequence Films

Trainspotting: This visually innovative film, based on a book by the same name, has severe shock factor. The moral: You are not the only one who suffers because of your addiction – and you’re certainly not the only one who could end up dead because of it.

Rachel Getting Married: Every second of this film captures the reality of addiction, alcoholism, rehabilitation, relapse and recovery. The moral: Drug addiction is a disease that festers within the family.

The Fighter: This harrowing film takes a look at the early years of boxer Micky Ward and his spiral into oblivion. The moral: Your talent, your drive and your successes mean nothing in active addiction.

The Basketball Diaries: Jim Carroll is a high school basketball superstar who falls into the dark underbelly of addiction and crime. The Moral: Your moral compass becomes completely distorted in active addiction. Even a young, naive boy can become a homicidal criminal in order to get his next fix.

If you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol please call

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