Bob and the Monster is an award-winning documentary that tells the story of musician and addiction counselor Bob Forrest. Director Keidra Bahruth does a masterful job of recreating the frenetic rock and roll lifestyle of her subject with a visually engaging mix of home movie footage, animated sequences and interviews.
This movie is also a snapshot of an era gone by. Bob Forrest came to Los Angeles in the 1980’s as a young man. It was an era where being a junkie was actually seen as something glamorous and “de rigueur” in the world of the hip and artistic. His determination to reach this status quickly led to severe heroin addiction. A promising career in rock and roll was squandered as a result.
However, when recovery finally took hold, his experiences gave him a unique advantage as an addictions counselor. He is able to relate to his clients, especially those in the entertainment industry, in the heartfelt way of one who has traveled the same path. He has become a role model for many of them, demonstrating that one can be creative, productive and cool while living a sober and healthy life.
The film raises several interesting topics for discussion and debate beyond the changing attitudes in popular culture towards addiction. Forest and his colleagues feel that the current model of 30 days of treatment promoted by insurance companies is severely lacking. They prefer a talk therapy based approach that could last a year. They are also against medication-assisted recovery, feeling that pharmaceuticals simply substitute one addiction for another. In their view cost concerns of the insurance industry lead to these totally inadequate forms of treatment.
Bob Forrest is best known to many for his appearances on Celebrity Rehab and Sober House with Dr. Drew Pinsky. However, those seeking the inside story on these shows will be disappointed, as these areas of his life and work are given minimal attention. However, at 90 minutes this film provides a compelling and thought- provoking portrait of how sobriety can be achieved and maintained.