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In our last blog that shows us the things we learned from TV shows of the 90’s, we focused on specific episodes that were aired about addiction. By the time it was the 2000’s, it was becoming much more well-known and talked about in TV series’ and it wasn’t just specific episodes but on-going problems with alcoholism and addiction issues. I’ve created a list of 10 popular shows from the 2000’s and the lessons they taught us about addiction.

10 Things 00’s TV Shows Taught Us About Addiction…

#1. Substance abuse can change your personality.

In the show Freaks and Geeks there was an episode that focused on the changes that occur when smoking pot. Lindsay fears that Nick is addicted to marijuana. They get along well when he is required to stay clean for a few days, but he instantly drops everything when a new supply comes in. Nick snaps that Lindsay has no right to judge him, as she has never smoked pot. Lindsay tries smoking a joint and gets totally wasted. Smoking the pot causes a personality change between both Nick and Lindsay – which shows you that when you are using substances, you aren’t yourself.

#2. No matter how talented you are, addiction will take you down.

The loved show Friday Night Lights has a lot of episodes in regards to alcoholism. The football star, Tim Riggins, struggles with alcohol abuse throughout the show. It shows him coping with all the difficulties of his life through drinking. He is raised by his older brother because his father is out of the picture, due to his own alcohol troubles. There are scenes in episodes where it shows Lyla Garrity questioning his alcohol abuse and he goes small periods of time trying to stay away from drinking. He is a successful football player, but his alcohol addiction takes him down everytime.

#3. Addiction isn’t a matter of will-power.

In the hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there is a lot of issues with substance abuse shown in season 6. The arc involved Willow using dark magic which was used as a representation for drug-use, as she gradually headed down a route to self-destruction, becoming addicted to the highs linked with magic and doing whatever she could do to get her hands on it. The costs of her actions involved her personality changing, her relationships becoming tremendously tense and her actions hurting others. It shows that addiction isn’t a matter of will-power because despite the consequences, Willow continues to chase the high of dark magic.

#4. When under the influence, you can be unpredictable and out of control.

In the comedy series The Office, there is a specific episode in season 4 about drug addiction called Night out. In this episode, Michael and Dwight travel to New York City to party with Ryan. Ryan starts acting unpredictably, and it is exposed that he is under the influence of drugs. Inside the club, Ryan’s dancing becomes erratic and forceful, and he unintentionally hits a girl, provoking her friends to attack him. Michael and Dwight bring Ryan back to his apartment, where he tells them that he thinks his “friend Troy” has a drug problem, and asks what he should do about it. When he says Troy, he means himself.  In any situation, being under the influence can get out of control and end badly.

#5. Prescription pain pills can become a problem, even if you start using them legitimately.

For the first few seasons of the TV show House, it appeared as if the drugs were more of a help than a hinder. Then the story line changed and the realities of what comes along with drug abuse and the consequences of stealing drugs, and lying due to addiction was scripted in. This was the responsible thing to do because by no means is drug abuse enriching someone’s life. House did have pain in his leg from a brutal accident, but it was easy to see that the Vicodin, which was his choice of drug, was used for other reasons like getting away from emotional pain. It shows that even though he was using them for real pain problems, it became an issue and he was using them not as prescribed.

#6. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.

One of my favorite shows Grey’s Anatomy has a lot of episodes that focus on the chief of surgery’s alcoholism. Richard Webber has been sober for many years when it comes to the attention of the staff at the hospital that he has started drinking again. He is required to either retire or go to rehab, he chooses the latter. It shows the difficulties he goes through in this time period and his struggles to stay sober. It shows us that anyone can have a problem with addiction; even a doctor. No matter if you are a skilled doctor or just an everyday person, addiction doesn’t discriminate.

#7. Addiction can lead to being in trouble with the law.

In Law & Order: SVU, the show goes through many different stories of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gambling addictions, sexual abuse, eating disorders and all different kinds of problems. They are usually helping victims with sex-related crimes and there ends up being other issues going on in the case, such as addiction. Captain Donald Cragen is a recovering alcoholic in the show and the newer detective Amanda Rollins suffers from a gambling addiction, which gets her into a lot of trouble. In many cases, addiction can end up leading us into lives full of crime.

#8. Addiction isn’t just about drugs and alcohol.

The series Californication is about a man named Hank Moody and his sex addiction problems. In the show, he swears off sex and it shows him triumphs and tribulations with this. He is a writer who drinks a lot and has a complicated relationship with his ex-lover Karen and his daughter Becca due to his drinking and womanizing. This character is supposed to be similar to Charles Bukowski. It shows us that problems with alcohol and drugs aren’t the only ones people have; people also suffer from sex addiction, eating disorders, and many more diseases of addiction.

#9. Money can’t buy sobriety.

The show Gossip Girl was a very popular show among the female population. It shows the lives of Manhattan teenagers and socialites and their everyday issues. The show focuses on Serena Van Der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, who are best friends. Serena has a lot of problems with drug use and alcohol throughout the series; there are even episodes where she is put in rehab as a result of her drug use. She ends up being a party girl turned good girl by the series finale, but the show really opens up your eyes to the fact that it doesn’t matter how much money you have – sobriety isn’t about money.

#10. Sometimes, we have to hit a bottom to get better.

Focusing on the lives of a group of guys in California, the show Entourage had a part of the show focusing on Vince and his problems with cocaine. In Season 7, Vince suffered a near-death experience that left him longing any kind of highs which ultimately resulted in him developing a drug addiction to cocaine that caused in him being arrested and as such, Vince entered rehab for three months to get clean. It really shows you that hitting a bottom can really help to inspire change. If it wasn’t for hitting a bottom, Vince may not have ended up getting help and treating his addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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