What The Queen’s Gambit Teaches About Overcoming Substance Abuse

TV shows and movies nowadays love to include addiction in their plot. Characters suffering from addiction to opiates, downers, alcohol, or cigarettes are sprinkled throughout the story. Caricatures of junkies and “meth-heads” plague our TV screens and give us a bad image of substance abuse. Furthermore, due to its popularity as a character’s defining attribute, shows often depict addiction in the worst light possible. It’s important to remember that substance abuse is real, and people worldwide suffer from it.

Thankfully, here comes The Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix Original TV series that gives substance abuse an invigorating representation, leaving viewers on the edge of their seat. How does the show do it? Read on to know how Beth Harmon, the main character, changed the game of addiction.

 

How The Queen’s Gambit Adds Realism to Drug Dependence

No Matter How Smart You Are, You Aren’t Off the Hook

Drugs and alcohol choose no man (or woman). Substance abuse can affect you, no matter who you are. Whether you’re the CEO of a company or a rank-and-file worker, addiction can still grow within you. In Beth Harmon’s particular case, she’s a high-functioning addict.

People suffering from high-functioning addiction can do their jobs generally without a hitch. It’s often hard to spot high-functioning addiction because they can maintain an everyday life while struggling with addiction. In the show, Beth Harmon shows no sign of substance abuse even when participating in chess tournaments.

The Environment Fuels Substance Abuse

Often, people struggling with substance abuse can’t find a concrete reason why they found themselves on the path to addiction. However, as with Beth Harmon, most drug addicts came from an environment that forces them to turn to substance abuse as a form of escape from reality.

As kids, Beth Harmon and the other children at her orphanage are given tranquilizers to ease their nerves. Through these unfortunate circumstances, we can see that Beth Harmon had little choice but to grow up with substance abuse in hand due to her tragic past. Drugs were given to Beth starting from her pre-teen years to her teenage years. Furthermore, she also started drinking alcohol heavily at a young age, considering that her adoptive mother was also a heavy drinker who later on succumbs to what seems to be alcoholic hepatitis.

 

How The Queen’s Gambit Shows Recovery Is Always Possible

Substance Abuse Isn’t a Defining Character Trait

We’re all used to TV shows that depict substance abusers as junkies and scum, but not in this TV series. The Queen’s Gambit shows a refreshing take on people suffering from addiction by portraying Beth through the lens of her greatest obsession-chess.

Gone are the stereotypical portrayals of addiction, such as tweaking on the side of the road or bumming money off from strangers. In this TV series, we can see that they’re more than a person suffering from addiction. In fact, Beth’s excellence in chess overshadows her substance abuse problems by letting us see her venture through the world of competitive chess games.

The Culmination of Dependence Comes with Regret, But There’s Still Time to Change

It’s never too late to turn substance abuse into a nurturing, healthy habit. Remember, the day a person stays sober or chooses to enroll in opioid dependence treatment is the day they realign their path to recovery. With Beth Harmon, she discovered that her skill in chess wasn’t reliant on drugs. She recognized that her substance abuse hindered her throughout her life and didn’t help her win chess matches.

 

The Aftermath of Obsession: Appreciation

After the petrifying climax of the series, we can see the new way Beth treats her life. The show highlighted how she overcame addiction and removed drug dependence from her life. Beth no longer uses drugs or alcohol before playing chess. She has recognized her full potential of playing chess without the need to resort to substance abuse to be “better.” After all, it’s terrifying how addiction can easily control a person’s life, but one can stop substance abuse with support and medical help. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

The series has encapsulated the suffering that constant substance abuse can give to a person. It’s incredible how the show can combine the drama with the naturally dark subject of addiction. Throughout the series, we are greeted with superb acting, beautiful cinematography, and witty writing. This TV series, in our opinion, has depicted high-functioning addicts the same way Bojack Horseman did. The show never ridiculed the main character about their addiction, and The Queen’s Gambit never made substance abuse Beth’s signature trait. It’s all about the characters, their problems with life, and how they deal with it.

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