Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jack Lemmon

Today I was cleaning and polishing my wood floors (no small feat, but they look really good) and I was watching "Grumpy Old Men", one of my favorite movies. I love watching Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau work together. They were lifelong friends and did many movies together. Being nosy and always curious about Hollywood people I did a Google search on the cast and was surprised at what I found out about Jack Lemmon. It makes sense given a film he did in 1962 which defines the insidiousness of alcoholism for me.

I said a while ago to someone who isn't an alcoholic that the best movie I'd ever seen about the reality of the obsession of every alcoholic is "Days of Wine and Roses". It was directed by Blake Edwards. There is a scene that moves me every time. Jack Lemmon's character and Lee Remick's character are at her father's house and drinking, and her father has had enough and forces her into the shower to try and "sober her up". Jack Lemmon's character runs to the greenhouse where they had hid some booze and tears the green house apart because he knows it is in there but can't remember where because he is so sloshed. The movie does a beautiful job portraying the decent into addiction and the absolute insanity that every alcoholic I know goes through. I said to this person they had to have talked to an alcoholic, because non-addicts couldn't do such a realistic portrayal without being in the mind of an alcoholic.

Well...Jack Lemmon apparently admitted many years ago that he was an alcoholic. There was the information needed right there in authentic form. Someone who had descended to the depths of hell and lived to tell about in on the other side. The end of the movie is equally as moving. His character finds Alcoholic Anonymous through a character portrayed by Jack Klugman, and he begins to heal by putting down the bottle. Lee Remick's character decides she's not ready and walks away from a meeting at the end of the movie. That is the battle we face every day. I am sorry that people decide to relapse, but through their experience I stay sober. And I realize each and every day because I am walking the path of sobriety I now have choices I never had while drinking. Again, I end the day grateful for another day of sobriety and as a result, I also have serenity.

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