Why Do People Turn To Booze In The Movies When They Are Feeling Sad?

Why is it that people always seem turn to alcohol for comfort in the movies when they are feeling sad? It’s something that’s bothered me ever since I found my way into sobriety and recovery. Don’t people know that alcohol is a depressant and only makes one’s despair even worse the more one consumes it?

Every time I watch a movie now and see someone get fired from a long-time job, or experience a death of a loved one, or go through a terrible break-up, or face any other difficult circumstance in life, I know it’s inevitable that I’m about to watch them head to some bar to get downright drunk or hang out with close friends who proceed to get them downright drunk or go home to get downright drunk all by themselves.

For what purpose does this serve?!

Frankly, getting downright drunk on alcohol only accomplishes one thing. It initially numbs the senses and helps to keep a person from having to face head-on whatever tragedy they’ve just experienced. But what I find is insane about this looking back on the number of times I did this behavior myself is how it never accomplished anything whatsoever, other than delaying my healing process of working through all that despair.

But even more important is the fact that during all those moments I was drowning my sorrows with booze, my sadness simply grew even stronger, and when I was done drowning all my sorrows with booze, the rebound effect usually felt even worse.

So, why does do so many people keep doing this then, when it really doesn’t help in any way to remove their pain? Because so long as people keep doing it, the movies are going to continue portraying it on screen.

Well, the sad reality is this. Most people when they experience any sort of tragedy or difficult circumstance of life that feels totally painful usually allow their ego to seek something to comfort them, rather than face it directly to begin the healing process.

Sometimes I think that’s why our world is so screwed up, because everyone keeps trying to numb the pain they experience from living life by using a bottle of booze or some other mode of comfort time and time and time again.

When my own trail of booze ended decades ago, I continued to numb myself from any of those difficult circumstances of life when they hit me by seeking sex, sweets, caffeine, casinos, relationships, and money. But none ever helped one bit. None helped to heal any of my pain that came from those difficult circumstances of life.

Sometimes I wonder if this is why I’m in so much pain now because instead of dealing with life on life’s terms without numbing myself, I kept piling it all up inside until one day, back in 2010, I opted to finally face it all head-on and boom, this wave of physical pain hit me as soon as I did. And now, as I heal from all those things I tried to hide from with all those modes of temporary comfort, I kick myself seeing how my body is having to go through a process I might never have had to go through if I had just faced it as it happened.

Nevertheless, maybe if people would just start facing their pain as it happens, instead of numbing it with a bottle of booze or some other numbing agent, they might avoid a lot more pain and heartache in the long run. And maybe the more people start doing this, the more I’ll have to stop seeing movies portray alcohol as they answer to all of life’s difficult circumstances…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Frustration I Have With The Netflix Series “Grace And Frankie”

A few months ago, my partner and I decided to start watching the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie”, starring Jane Fonda as Grace and Lily Tomlin as Frankie. While we both have really enjoyed the show overall, there is one aspect of it that truly bothers me and it deals with how gay people continue to be regularly portrayed in the majority of scripted entertainment.

But before I talk about that, it’s probably best I give a quick description of what “Grace and Frankie” is all about. In a nutshell, it’s about two women who forge an unlikely friendship after their husbands of 40 years (Martin Sheen as Robert and Sam Waterston as Sol) come out of the closet and declare their love for each other. And while the chemistry of Grace and Frankie is what makes this show extremely comical and keeps drawing me back, it’s how Robert and Sol’s relationship is depicted and how the rest of their gay friends are depicted that frustrates me greatly.

You see, as soon as Robert and Sol come out of the closet at the beginning of this series, they are immediately illustrated as a very flamboyant couple who like showtunes, cooking, and theater. Essentially, they are portrayed as feminine in nature, as is each of their closest friends on the show as well. And as the series progresses, the viewer learns through one of Robert’s friends, Peter (Tim Bagley), that most male gay couples are in open relationships after a few years of being together because they get bored with each other. I.E. They are no longer monogamous and instead allow themselves to have sexual partners on the side or together, but usually with “rules”.

Being a gay individual myself, these gay stereotypes are by far the most frustrating part of scripted entertainment, because there are many gay men in this world just like me who aren’t flamboyant, who don’t like showtunes, who don’t enjoy cooking, and tend to abhor most theater-based productions, especially musicals. Just as much as there are plenty of gay men out there like me who are in long-term monogamous relationships and haven’t ever been in an open-based one nor have any desire to ever be in one either. Yet, this is still the way the majority of scripted television entertainment keeps portraying gay men over and over and over again. Thankfully, there have been a few movies though in recent years like Brokeback Mountain and Moonlight that have worked to erode those gay stereotypes and show gay men as being more masculine as well. Unfortunately, I still haven’t seen much of this being portrayed at all on scripted television though.

The very reason why these gay stereotypes on television bother me so much is because of all those people in the world who don’t have any gay friends and have never been around anyone gay in general. It’s they who end up forming judgments, opinions, and projections on what a gay person is like because of what they see represented on TV, which only causes more disunity and damage to our society as a whole. Many of them also tend to be religious people who then tend to form the belief that gay men are nothing more than godless promiscuous individuals filled with nothing but drama. And why wouldn’t they believe this when all they see on television in many of the popular shows is the same gay stereotypes? This is why I honestly wish the tide would change soon in the scripted entertainment industry and begin to show the many facets of gay culture, especially when it comes to gay men. Because not all gay men act or look like what you see depicted on television.

So, the next time you find yourself making a judgment of what you think a gay person is like just because of how one is being illustrated on a television show you’re watching, please know there are many other gay men in this world who aren’t like that and may actually be God-loving, monogamous-minded, masculine-acting individuals…individuals just like me…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

“Alpha”, A Truly Inspirational Film About Survival, Defying The Odds, And Never Giving Up

Inspiration to keep going for a person like me who’s struggling with chronic pain is often hard to come by, but when it does, it tends to arrive in unexpected ways, as it did when I watched the movie “Alpha” in the theater recently.

Starring Kodi Smit-Mcphee as a young man mamed Keda, “Alpha” takes place some 20,000 years ago during the prehistoric past, where men and women live in small tribes, hunt for survival, and fight off the many perils that tend to threaten their very existence at every turn, ranging from the extremes of the natural elements to ferocious wildlife. As part of Keda’s tribal culture, he must go through a rite of passage into manhood by venturing out on their annual hunt for buffalo that takes them many miles from home. It becomes overly apparent from the onset though that Keda doesn’t feel quite up to the task, as he struggles early on in his attempt to start a fire and is unable to finish killing a wild boar for his father either. When he finally encounters the wild buffalo along with his tribe, his struggles continue when one suddenly charges at him, causing him to run in the opposite direction out of fear. As it attacks him, Keda’s clothing gets impaled onto one of its horns, which ends with him being thrown off a cliff in the process. As he lands on a narrow ledge far below and remains unresponsive to the cries of his father, he’s presumed dead and a sacred altar is left behind marking his passage into the next life. But when Keda awakes a day later to find a vulture pecking at his face and a badly injured left ankle and foot, he discovers his tribe is gone and must face the rite of passage into manhood alone, beginning with a very hungry pack of wolves who are hunting him down. When he injures the alpha of the pack and finds safety from the rest of them in the heights of a broad tree, he’s confronted the next morning with a moral decision to either kill the dying wolf or nurse it back to health. Opting for the latter, thus begins a spiritual journey within for a fearful young adult who’s fighting for survival, against all odds, by choosing to never give up, all in the hopes he’ll find his way back home once more.

“Alpha” was truly an inspirational film for me, mostly because I saw myself in Keda’s shoes quite a bit throughout the movie. There have been so many times, especially as of late, where I’ve wanted to give up because the odds of making it through all of my suffering have felt utterly impossible. With pain bearing down on so many parts of me on a regular basis and one thing after another frequently causing me to feel like life is ridiculously upside-down, the desire to keep going just hasn’t been there more than not. Yet, somewhere deep within me something has kept me going, some desire to not give up, no matter how bad things may seem or get. And like Keda, who too fought through the very same feelings along his journey, all to simply make it home, my only desire has been the same, with my home being to reach a oneness and healing with God.

So, in the end, for a movie that had no English-speaking parts and only subtitles throughout, and one that focused solely on a young man and a wolf doing their best to defy the odds of survival on a quest that seemed next to impossible, I became greatly encouraged on my own healing journey to not give up, and that alone was exactly the inspiration I needed and why I ultimately appreciated the movie “Alpha”.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson