top of page

Euphoria on HBO Opening the Conversation on Addiction: And Setting Your Own Boundaries

HBO Max’s “Euphoria” Season 2

Season 2 of Euphoria shows the slow build of Rue Bennett coming back from rehab and relapsing. Each episode has a progression of her use and lying to others until her breakdown. Her relationships with friends, family, and her partner all start to change due to her use. It demonstrates layers of recreational use, to addiction, to withdrawal, and recovery. In the most messy and honest way. 

The Conversation on Addiction 

The show does a great job going through the emotions surrounding mental health. Everyone has their own reaction to seeing someone’s life completely shift and a character emotionally break down. The show allows for people to experience emotions that people traditionally hide inside day to day. It also provides insight on how one person’s intention of use can change overtime. Rue went from escaping the emotions surrounding her father dying to completely numbing out her life with drugs. The risk of her use increases to the point of her heart slowing down. Rue faces her friends outing her addiction and her mom intervening to start withdrawal. 

Setting Boundaries

With shows becoming popular, especially like Euphoria that trends every week a new episode is dropped, we have to check in with ourselves. Euphoria is an emotional journey with each of its characters and we have to ask ourselves if we can process it. There’s a fine line between feeling informed from watching something and it feeling intrusive. Euphoria can be powerful for others while it is also deeply triggering for others. Set boundaries for yourself with what’s trending and what might be best for your mental health. 

Recovery and Resources

Several scenes involve Rue going to a meeting and interacting with her sponsor, Ali. It gives insight on how differently Rue shows up to meetings with hiding in the back high to sharing personal experiences. Ali continues to show up for Rue, even when she continues deeper into her use. The most impactful moment is Rue calling up Ali and asking for forgiveness. Ali gives his forgiveness without hesitation and that is the beauty in asking for help. There is always someone there, willing to help, whatever stage you’re at. 

Rue Bennett is played by Zendaya who posted on her Instagram her own thoughts on the progression of her character. Zendaya stated “I think that if people can go with her through that, and get to the end, and still have hope for her future, and watch her make the changes and steps to heal and humanize her through her sobriety journey and her addiction, then maybe they can extend that to people in real life. 

If you can love her, then you can love someone that is struggling with the same thing, and maybe have a greater understanding of the pain they’re feeling, that is often out of their control. So for me, that is the most important thing”. 

The 12-Steps for Recovery:

  1. Honesty: “Admitting powerless over the addiction”

  2. Faith: “Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help”

  3. Surrender: “Decided to turn control over to the higher power”

  4. Soul searching: “Taking a personal inventory”

  5. Integrity: “Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done”

  6. Acceptance: “Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character”

  7. Humility: “Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings”

  8. Willingness: “Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs”

  9. Forgiveness: “Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person”

  10. Maintenance: “Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong”

  11. Making contact: “Seeking enlightenment and connection with higher power via prayer or meditation”

  12. Service: “Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need”

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), via text message: 435748 (HELP4U), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) that follows the 12-Steps and acknowledges a higher power

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) follows the 12-Steps and acknowledges a higher power

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) is scientific foundation and not from a spiritual one

For AWCC flip boxes (4)

Julie Pate, LPC, LCDC

Julie’s passion is working with adolescents and young adults through life transitions, identity exploration, LGBTQIA+, substance use, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. She believes everyone deserves the opportunity to heal and be recovered.


bottom of page