THE MEANING OF LIFE IN MOVIES
By MICHAEL LISTER
November 16, 2012
I’m not much of a drinker, but most of my friends and many of the best people I know are.
Alcohol, like most things in life, makes for a good servant but a terrible master. Unfortunately for many the balance is difficult, and what I witness more often than not is way too little of the former and way too much of the latter.
Overuse of alcohol is one thing. Addiction is something another.
Alcoholism is the compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships and social standing.
When I was a prison chaplain, I facilitated the AA program at the institution where I worked, and John Jordan, the chaplain/detective featured in my new novel “Blood Sacrifice” is a recovering alcoholic. In fact, alcoholism in general and addictive behavior in particular play such an important role in John Jordan’s life that over the years I’ve had readers assume I was a friend of Bill W, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I may not be a personal friend of Bill W, but he is a friend to us all.
In all my years of working with and observing people in crisis, of counseling, of studying religion, philosophy, psychology, and art, I have found nothing that works as well for those dealing with addiction than AA.
The protagonist of the new movie “Flight” could’ve had a very different life had he used AA and these steps to climb out of the pit he’s in.
In this action-packed thriller, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and what really happened on that plane? “Flight” tells a harrowing story about one man’s amazing, heroic feat and how, in the process of defending himself, he discovers his true grace and valor.
AA works because the 12 steps work. And you don’t have to be an alcoholic for them to work in your life. Substitute “alcohol” with whatever you struggle with.
Here are just a few of the steps:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
It all begins with the recognition and admission of step one. If we, like Whip, are not honest, we are without hope of help.
“Flight” is thrilling and dramatic — as much on an emotional level as a disaster one. It’s a well-made, profound and heartbreaking character study of a man who refuses to admit he’s powerless over alcohol and that his life has become unmanageable. See it today, and whether your dark night of the soul involves addiction or not, start the 12 steps today. We can begin with this simple prayer that says it all: “God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
© 2012 Halifax Media Group
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