Alcoholism is a chronic disease distinguished by a person's inability to stop or control alcohol use even when there are adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It involves cravings and physical dependence on alcohol and stopping can result in withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholism can develop gradually over time with increased tolerance and consumption. Maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapse are lifelong challenges. Early intervention and addressing underlying causes are important in managing alcoholism.
Many pop culture portrayals ignore the negatives and promote excessive drinking. While some songs or films may try to show alcoholism's downsides, they frequently still make heavy drinking seem cool or edgy. Overall, pop culture tends to provide an unrealistic portrayal of alcoholism that overlooks its serious medical and social consequences. More accurate and thoughtful depictions are needed to reduce the stigma around alcoholism and educate people on its impacts. Doing so may encourage them to use their tricare rehab benefits and seek help. The following movies are eight films that give an insight into different aspects of alcoholism.
Tender Mercies (1983)
Robert Duvall won an Oscar for playing Mac, a country singer trying to restart his life after alcohol destroyed his career and family. He mentors a young boy at the small motel where he works and finds a second chance at love, but his alcoholism continues to haunt him.
The World According to Garp (1982)
Based on John Irving's novel, Robin Williams plays the eccentric T.S. Garp, whose mother Jenny (Glenn Close) is a nurse who cares for brain-damaged people. This exposure to the results of drunken accidents informs Jenny's feminist manifesto against alcohol. We see glimpses of alcohol's damage throughout Garp's life.
My Name Is Bill W. (1989)
Based on the true story of Bill Wilson, a stockbroker who overcame his struggle with alcoholism to co-found Alcoholics Anonymous. It chronicles his journey into sobriety and the establishment of AA, which has helped millions battle addiction. The film highlights the inspiration and hope behind AA.
Under the Volcano (1984)
Albert Finney plays Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul in Mexico who has resigned himself to a life of chronic alcoholism and self-destruction. Set on the Day of the Dead in 1938, the film follows his final hours as he drifts through a small Mexican town while drinking mezcal, tequila, and brandy. It's a poignant look at alcoholism and tortured relationships.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick star as Joe and Kirsten Clay, a couple whose alcoholism slowly consumes their lives and marriage. As Joe pulls Kirsten into his addiction, they desperately try to quit drinking only to fail repeatedly. The film is an uncompromising look at alcoholism's stranglehold.
Lost Weekend (1945)
This classic film noir stars Ray Milland as Don Birnam, a talented writer whose weekend drinking binges threaten to destroy his career and relationship with his girlfriend. As Don's desperation for a drink mounts, the film offers an unflinching look at the physical and psychological grip of alcoholism.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul star as Kate and Charlie, a young married couple whose relationship is built on a shared love of drinking. When Kate's drinking starts to take a serious toll on her life, she decides to get sober, which strains their marriage. It's an honest look at alcoholism and recovery.
Denzel Washington portrays airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who miraculously crash lands a plane while intoxicated. Initially hailed as a hero, Whip's alcoholism is uncovered as investigators look into the crash. The film provides a nuanced character study of addiction's effects and the denial that can enable it.
These eight films each offer a compelling perspective on different facets of alcoholism, from its all-consuming nature to the damage it inflicts on relationships and careers. While films can't fully capture the realities of this disease, they help shed light on the struggles alcoholics face and perhaps open the door to understanding.