TV Shows About Substance Use Worth Watching
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It’s important for everyone, but especially for those in recovery, to avoid watching television shows or listening to music that glorifies substance misuse. This is not only unhealthy but can trigger one’s relapse. These types of songs and shows portray a false reality of what drug and alcohol misuse is really like. There is nothing cool or glamorous about addiction. 

However, there are some shows about substance use that do a nice job of portraying the truth. They show you the pain and heartbreak that addiction can lead to. These shows don’t water down or make light of what addiction really is. It can help those in recovery to watch these shows as a reminder of why they made the decision to get sober in the first place. 


Intervention is perhaps one of the most compelling shows about addiction out there. This is because it follows the lives of real people. The show starts by taking a look at how much addiction has taken over a person’s life and how those around them have suffered as a result. Later on, the family and friends of the individual stage an intervention. Altogether, they confront the individual about their substance misuse. They share how the individual’s substance misuse has affected them personally and encourage them to seek treatment. In the case that they are willing to get help, it then follows their journey to sobriety. 

This show doesn’t shy away from the grisly details of addiction. It shows the raw emotions of not only the individual struggling but their friends and family as well. 

‘Nurse Jackie’ 

Nurse Jackie is a medical drama that was actually created by two women who once struggled with addiction themselves. Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem are both in recovery from alcohol addiction. Because of their first-hand experience, they know the real-life challenges of trying to make it through a day while struggling with substance misuse. This show follows a knowledgeable and successful nurse. At first glance, she seems to have it all together, but she’s actually battling drug addiction and hiding it from everyone around her. 

Her efforts to keep up with her fast-moving job and continue to engage in substance misuse land her in all sorts of problems. This show makes a point to demonstrate the great lengths someone with an addiction will go to in order to obtain and use drugs. 


While Mom is a comedy, it doesn’t make light of addiction in and of itself. It focuses on the relationship between a woman battling a substance use disorder (SUD) and her daughter, a sober single mother. While the pair are estranged, they both show a desire to try to reconcile with one another. The show depicts the toll that one’s addiction can take on those closest to them. It also shows how difficult it can be to earn back the trust that was broken as a result of substance misuse.


The show Shameless also has a comedic element to it; however, it does feature plenty of very serious scenes. It follows the Gallagher family. The family includes six children, an absent mother, and a father who has an alcohol use problem. Because her parents do very little to support the family, the eldest daughter, Fiona, raises her younger siblings herself. In many cases, they are barely just getting by. Even the younger children do their part to help put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Sometimes, they opt to do less than moral things to make money due to necessity. 

The father, Frank, often puts his family in precarious situations because of his alcohol misuse. But, every so often, he does something to make him appear redeemable. Whenever he seems to finally get his act together, the younger children get their hopes up that things will finally change. But when he ends up disappointing them again, they end up devastated. This show does a good job of portraying the way that alcohol misuse by parents affects the lives of each one of their children in different ways. It also shows how a child who grows up with a parent struggling with an alcohol use disorder may grow up to one day struggle with addiction themselves. 


Euphoria is one of the most popular shows today and covers some really heavy topics like mental illness and substance misuse in teens. Rue, the main character, is a high school student who struggles with drug addiction. Despite different people in her life trying to help her, she has no desire to get sober. Her drug addiction gets her into plenty of trouble and causes her to lose the trust of many people in her life, including her own mother. This show does a good job of showing that anyone can struggle with substance misuse, even those who are still very young.

There are some shows and songs out there that profit off of glamorizing drug or alcohol misuse. These shows are dangerous because they paint a false picture of what addiction really is and how dangerous it is. These shows can be very triggering to those in recovery. However, there are some shows out there that portray an authentic depiction of the dangers of substance misuse. They show the way that one’s substance use affects the lives of everyone around them. If you’re struggling with substance misuse, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more about our services. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.