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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Taboo Subject

I just watched The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland — again. If you’re too young to remember this film classic, but interested in seeing alcoholism at its grittiest — this is a must see. It is a very chilling honest look at the disease. 

TMC host Robert Osborn talked about the difficulty the studio had releasing the film back in the mid 1940’s. Who would want to see a film about an alcoholic? 

But it was a revolutionary, ground-breaking motion picture — and the first time Hollywood had seriously tackled the taboo subject, creating social awareness of alcoholism as a modern illness. Its release was threatened when the alcohol industry offered to purchase the film’s negative and remove it from circulation, but then praised and supported the film following its popular release and success.

Audiences, critics and the studio (before its release) viewed the film’s subject matter as sensational, controversial, daring, and starkly real. The drab, black and white cinematography of the film emphasized the menacing, warping, and harrowing power of alcohol, as some of the booze-soaked scenes were shot through or in the presence of numerous whiskey bottles and shot glasses. The main character, an alcoholic writer, loses his money, his freedom, and his sense of reality when confined in an alcoholic ward.

I had many a lost weekend, just like Milland’s character. I hid bottles from friends, family and myself. Often I couldn’t remember where they were when drink time came. It was a painful and ugly time in my life. I felt “watched”, “shamed” and “guilty,” looking for a few drops at the bottom of a found bottle. My memories of drinking are still like looking through a foggy glass. 

By the Grace of a loving Higher Power, the 12 step fellowship I call home, the amazing strong, wise and gifted people who have led the way before me — I’m the privileged to live an amazing sober life.
We are not taboo. Our disease is no longer hidden in the shadows. I ask you to continue to fight the stigma associated with drug and alcohol addiction — along with me.