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Monday, April 26, 2010

"When Love Is Not Enough"

Winona Ryder plays Lois Wilson in When Love Is Not Enough, The Lois Wilson Story.
Photo: Erik Heinila

There is a new film out that covers the field of alcohol and drug addiction in a new way. If you are familiar with the film "My Name is Bill W.", then you know that it was about the life of perhaps the most well known alcoholic to ever live, Bill Wilson - co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. "My Name is Bill W.", in a gentle way attempts to give a historical picture of Bill Wilson's life, right on through the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is very difficult to make an A.A. sanctioned film because of the principals that have been practiced for almost 75 years. Film is generally associated with Hollywood, and the business of making a lot of money, A.A. is to be fully self-supporting and according to their sixth tradition an "A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose". It is easy to see why Alcoholics Anonymous would be hesitant to endorse movies made about Alcoholics Anonymous; not to mention, it is very easy for an inaccurate picture of the program to be painted in a film.

The new film titled "When Love is Not Enough" covers the hard life and miraculous perseverance of Lois (Winona Ryder) as well the alcoholic escapades of Bill (Barry Pepper). There are a lot of people who do not realize that Alcoholism is a monster with two heads; the alcoholic controls one and the loved one, generally the spouse, controls the other. Both heads play an equal role in the progression of the disease, so then, it would make sense that a program would be necessary for the other half of the problem. Lois Wilson, even after her husband Bill got sober, struggled with a lot of shame and a lot of untreated emotional injuries from years of marriage consumed by addiction. It is fair to say that she was equally as sick as Bill; therefore, requiring a support network of her own to reach out for.

Lois Wilson founded Al-Anon, a program which has helped the families of alcoholics for over 55 years. Just like A.A. meetings, Al-Anon has daily meetings and their own texts to read from for guidance and strength. Al-Anon is a crucial aspect to the recovery process because it allows those who have been voiceless for years a forum to speak their mind without fear of judgment or reprisal. The more spiritually sound a household is, the smoother the recovery process will go.

I encourage you to watch both "My Name is Bill W." and "When Love is Not Enough"*, if nothing else they will be historical films about perhaps some of the most important people of the twentieth century.

*"When Love Is Not Enough" was produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame.

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