(Disclaimer: This transcript is using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Adina Silvestri 0:01
Hello, guys, it's Adina. And right now the podcast is on pause. I'm taking a pause from August to the end of September to focus on family time travel, self care and tweak a few things with podcast. In the meantime, you may want to catch up on episodes one through 105. Or we listen to a few of your favorites. Don't forget to sign up for the atheists in recovery newsletter and you can find the link in the show notes below. And we talk about many things in the newsletter, from my favorite books, and movies and journal articles on all things related to the podcast. Sometimes they're not related, but also interesting things. We talked about journaling and relationships and how to nourish your soul. Or maybe you're interested in starting a journaling practice and there are ways for you to do that. By subscribing to the newsletter, perhaps even liberating yourself from some of these defeating narratives. journaling will help you do that as well. Okay, well, I will see you soon. Thanks, guys. Bye.
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery Podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 1:39
Hello Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and welcome to Episode 22 of the Atheists in Recovery podcast, when a man Loves a Woman, so today starts our series on movies that move us and I'm taking a little break from having guests on. Well, there might be one guest on in December, but the majority will be solo episodes this month as I prepare for other things in the in the business. And so just kind of taking a little reprieve from getting guests on, which is altogether more labor intensive. Although I love it, it's it's just more labor intensive. So we will be back with the guests starting right after the New Year's. Okay, so our first movie that we are going to review today is as I said, when a man Loves a Woman, why this movie, you know, I loved this movie, and that to me, this was the first movie that talked about addiction and the impact that this disorder has on on the family unit, and what it means to be codependent and how the roles shift and how relationships shift as one moves through the progression of alcoholism, and then to sobriety. And so the first scene is when it's a good one very, very interesting, very kind of cliche, I guess, in a way but you see Meg Ryan's character, Alice sitting at a bar, and she is being hit on by some random guy. And, and then Andy Garcia, which is this character's name is Michael jumps in and basically humiliates this guy in a very funny light hearted way, and then they end up making out. So you can see that there is affection and there is just chemistry and just like a light hearted playfulness between the characters, which is just very apparent and scene one, then you see the couple going in, going on a trip. A lot of it is settled drinking, actually, even before they go on the trip, they go out for their wedding anniversary, and Ellis is drinking too much. You can see it when they get around there on the dance floor. You could see it when they're leaving the house. I think she has a beer in her hand, she's leaving the house. So she's always holding a drink and those first couple of scenes and so just kind of reminded me of you know how subtly drinking can turn into something that you just weren't planning on. And we've talked about this in previous shows where you know, no one plans on becoming an alcoholic. And so I thought that they did a really good job of portraying the gradual habit forming addiction from the very beginning. So then we start with, with Michael just sort of rescuing her. There are many themes and what scenes in which Alice is drinking too much and then she has a hangover the next day. I think one An episode I'm thinking of specifically or one scene specifically is when Alice is trying to discipline her two daughters. And Michael comes in and says, you know, I'll take care of it undermines everything Alice has done. As far as parenting and says, I think all you can handle right now as your as your cup of coffee and your little spoon or something like that, you know, again, just trying to take care of everything, you know, you have a hangover, you can't handle much, I'm going to jump in and kind of save the day. And so that's sort of those are the roles that are being cemented from the early on in the movie where, you know, Alice strings, too much screws up, Michael comes in and saves the day, I think there's actually even one scene where she is taking out a bottle of vodka from a cabinet that she's hidden. If she's, you know, she's hitting this bottle, she takes it out of the cabinet, it's like, in the middle of the night goes outside is about to throw the bottle of vodka in the trash and actually does so but then immediately picks it up and gulps it down. I guess she needs one more drink before saying goodbye. And then she walks up to the house, but she's locked herself out. And so and so do nothing was really said there was no follow up, she makes a wise joke after Michael opens the door, you know, and then they kind of move on, again, throughout their work roles of Michael being the fixer and Ellis the one needing fixing so to speak. So then we move on to you know, Alice having this this big scene in which she falls through her glass shower door after washing down some aspirin with vodka, slaps her kid and then falls through the glass door, she's trying to take a shower. And so she she just she finally comes clean to Andy or is honest with Andy, aka Michael and says to him, you know, I need help. You know, I start drinking at 4am in the morning, and I don't quit until I go to bed at night. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. And so you know, I'm scared. I'm anxious, you know, all these things. And she's saying all this in the hospital bed. And, you know, Michael starts you could tell his characters starting to feel guilty and maybe even a little uncomfortable. You know, wow, you drink a quart of vodka a day. You know, Michael is saying to her, how come I didn't see this? wishing I could add some of this movie video in here. But I don't I don't have the rights.
Anyway, he's saying how come I didn't see this? So again, like you wanting to fix this feeling guilty? How did this happen? And then also, you know, he's, which is good for Alice. And I guess some respects he's gone most of the weeks, because he's a he's a pilot. And so she's home alone. And she has plenty of opportunity to keep this under wraps. Alright, let's go on to what I feel like is their first major fight and really a pivotal fight in the movie. And this is when Alice is telling Michael, you know, he can't continue to play the role he's been playing, since they got together, you know, and she's saying, you know, my home environment maybe isn't the best place for me. And of course, Michael is full of rage at this point saying, you know, How could your home environment not be good enough? You know, is it is it the rug? You know, is it the couch is it? You know? And then finally he goes, is it me? Am I the reason that your home environment isn't working for you. And then you know, it's a very emotional scene. But Alice is basically telling him, you know, in order for her to get better, she needs to start taking care of herself. And thus the roles that they've been playing up until this point, have to change, right? She's doing all this work. She Oh, by the way, she just got out of detox, third day detox. So she's gotten out of detox. She's doing all this work. And, you know, Michaels sort of on the sideline saying, you know, what am I to do here? How can I, how can I help you? And she's saying, I gotta figure this out. I gotta figure this out. And he's not he's not understanding this. This is this is a new role for him that he's that he's not ready to take on yet. yet. I don't think he knows how to take this this new role on without help, right without a third party saying, Hey, this is what's going on here. That leads us to our allanon scene. And so, right before Michael goes to Al anon he's in therapy with Alice, a couples therapy. And he's basically talking about al anon is being a bunch of people who just feel sorry for themselves. So he doesn't have a high opinion of Al anon and I for one thing, that your al anon is a great way for families to get support in that familial context. So anyway, so he so he I'm going to Al anon. And he, he talks about, he speaks for the first time. And he says, you know, I've been coming here, this is him talking, I've been coming here for four months. And this is the first time I've talked. And he's there. And he's saying, you know, that basically, his life has been centered around Alice. And and now that it's not, you know, he just kind of looks at her from afar, and, you know, is thinking, you know, what, what did I do wrong, you know, and again, there's that compulsion to want to fix things, but you can tell that he's in the right place, he's in a place that is, you know, people around him that have gone through the same things he's going through, and I've walked that walk. And so you know, Al anon, or any of those other familial recovery meetings, I think, are so important. So, so important, let's move on to the last clip of the movie, which I also think is quite beautiful. So Alice is six months sober, she's got her six month chip, and they're, they're separate at this point. And Alice tells him prior to going to talk at her six month meeting, I'd really love it if you come. So, you know, Ellis gives her narrative about her struggles with alcohol talks about it in front of this group of people accepts responsibility, which is, you know, what this whole speech is all about is her accepting responsibility. And then she comes off the stage, everyone's hugging her a great job, great job, and then Michaels there, and he's talking to her and in front of a group of people, you know, it's sort of as if they don't know each other and saying, you know, I've tried everything to help my wife, I've tried it all, you know, except really listening, or really listening. And that's how I left her alone. And, you know, I'm so ashamed of that. He says, and so, you know, Alice, of course, is taking this all in and says, you know, that's exactly what you need to tell your wife, you should tell her that and so we end our movies that move us see an episode today with with just a, you know, a recap about what it means to be in a family that is struggling with alcoholism. And you know, codependency is a word in our field that's thrown around a lot, and I use it here, just as a, as a frame of reference, you know, it's I don't think that codependency is necessarily a great title. Because, because I think that, you know, loved ones want to help loved ones, right. And so I don't, I don't want to give like to have like this negative connotation, necessarily, but just sort of be aware and have it be in the realm of thought for you. So as we recap, you know, the movie is, is quite a tear jerker, but it really does a beautiful job of talking about alcoholism in the family, and how, you know, again, drinking, even subtly can turn into something that you are not planning on it becoming. And, you know, sometimes in order to get better in order to, to work on yourself, you have to work on yourself, apart from the person that has kept you stuck, and basically making it very easy for you to, to drink, and do what to do whatever other behaviors that are unhelpful for you. And so really just identifying that and bringing it out into the open, you know, Alice does it in a very heated way.
By telling Michael, you know, he's simply just cannot help her, you know, he doesn't have the answers and neither does she, but he definitely doesn't have them is something that she says to him. So, you know, just knowing that, as you're getting better, as you're getting more healthy, the people that are in your life, those relationships are probably going to change, they have to change in order for you to heal, and take more responsibility, and learn to feel the uncomfortable, learn to just get through it, Elena, um, you know, Elena, and is great. As I said before, it's something that I recommend to people that come to see me for the partner to go to, or maybe Ella teen for the kids, if there are other groups out there, you know, that have a family component. And now more and more treatment centers are having family groups, you know, at least monthly, if not more, and so those are, those are really important. I know, in Richmond, we have a family education program that and I'll link to that in the show notes. That is that is quite a great program. And so just seeing what your role is in this addiction, you know, what is it? Where are you and do you need to take a step back and really reevaluate and just be there you know, be there for the person that's struggling, listen to what they need. If they don't know what they need, then then that's okay. Right, we this is a very complex disorder. And so we might not always have all the answers that we need up front. It's a process of figuring out who we are and where we want to be and listening for the person that's struggling with the with the disorder for what they need, you know, what do they need, what are they asking for? And can you provide it also are you getting your needs met as partner that has had to go through all of this turmoil and had to pick up all the pieces. You know, what are you doing to stay healthy? You know, are you giving yourself what what it is you need? Do you even know what that is? So again, the in Al anon meeting might be a good place for you to start there. And then, you know, just as we wrap up our movies that move us episode, you know, I just want to invite you to just be kind to yourself throughout this process. There's no one way to recover. And so chances are, you'll have to try on another. Several different hats. Maybe it's impatient, maybe it's therapy, maybe it's a group therapy, maybe it's all of the above, but know that the family also needs to recover, not just the person dealing with the disorder. Okay, guys, I think that's it for Episode 22. Don't forget to subscribe to the A.I.R. Facebook close to group all you have to do is click on the link and I'll put it in the show notes and send me a message and then I'll approve you. It's a brand new group and we're going to be doing some cool stuff in there after the New Year.
Okay, well, I will bid you farewell. Thanks, guys. Bye.
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