This week I watched two films on Netflix with my wife, Kelly. They both had direct connections with addiction and recovery. The first was a Canadian film, "Indian Horse." It is a story of a Native youth who is displaced against his will and re-socialized into mainstream Canadian culture. It follows him through many troubled years, leading him down the path to alcoholism and drug addiction. One particular line from the film hit me between the eyes. "You can't understand where you are going if you don't understand where you have been." It reminds me today that my past is one of my greatest assets and one of my most influential teachers. Coming to terms with the years that are now behind me and accepting them as they were is an enormous gift. Today I can use my past not only to identify with other food addicts but to offer hope to them. I never thought that would be possible.
The second film I watched was "Greater," the compelling story of Brandon Burlsworth, who was a walk-on to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team, became an All-American and was selected by the Colts in the 1999 NFL draft. As a young boy, he had a dream and was willing to fight, and fight, and fight to achieve it. Within 20 minutes of the start of the film, you are introduced to Brandon's father, who is an alcoholic and Marty, his older brother, who in many ways, acts as Brandon's guardian. I share this brief conversation between Brandon's father and brother as it directly relates to addiction.
Father drunkenly says, "I started to think, I can have a little taste. Just to take the edge off. I earned it."
Marty painfully and emotionally exclaims, "You can't win on your own! No one can! There is only one straightway down that road. You have to have the courage to take it."
I can position myself as both of these characters—the addict I am, and the relative of the addict. Watching those we love act-out in their addiction can be extremely troubling, painful, and hard to watch.
It takes courage, and it takes willingness. It takes a fight. But what it actually takes is surrender. You have to be done and know you are done. I needed to know I was done with every fiber of my being.
I want to share two more lines from the film that affected me:
"It doesn't matter what other people think; it matters what you think."
In my recovery, I am learning to live out my own destiny. It doesn't matter what others want for me; it matters what I want and what I do. I need to be responsible for my own actions.
Many sugar addicts attempt to get abstinent for someone they love. Unfortunately, this seldom works because they have to want it for themselves.
"If something is worthwhile, you got to be hard-headed enough to stick with it."
This quote reminds me that some things are so important I just have to dig my heels in and take a stand. My recovery falls under this category. Live your truth!
Resonating with so many of the messages in this film, I have urged all those closest to me in my recovery circle to watch them. So, I encourage you to do the same!
Dave Avram Wolfe