Quote of the Day: Listen, I’m an alcoholic and I’ve been sober for five months. I’m about to fall off the wagon, and I need to talk to another drunk. line (but not a direct quote) from Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey’s play Bill W. and Dr. Bob, playing now at Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center in Brainerd, MN, about the men who started Alcoholics Anonymous, and their wives who founded Al-Anon. The above quote is from the scene that struck me the most. Bill W. is about to take another drink, slip down that dark hole, and possibly never return. He needs to talk to another alcoholic, not to “cure” him, but to share his own story, to talk about what he’s going through, and continue on the path to recovery. One of the men in the post play discussion who is active in AA said, “I can’t tell anyone how to get sober. I can only share how I got sober.” This coming together, sharing of stories, and supporting each other, and working the program has led millions of people on the road to recovery. It has saved lives and relationships and given hope in what feels like a hopeless situation.
This is a very moving play. The actors must dig into their deepest emotional well to portray the brokenness of the alcoholics and the people who love them. During the post play discussion, an older gentleman stood up and announced that he forgot his hearing aid at home, and even though he might have missed some of the dialogue, he felt the emotion of this story and the actors’ portrayal of the characters. At one point he looked at Bri Keran, who played Lois Wilson, and said, “You could have written the book.” The man went on to say that he’d been sober for five decades, and wasn’t sure he wanted to relive those events while watching this play, but his wife brought him to it, and he was glad that he came. Knowing that someone found hope and healing is encouraging for anyone who is in the midst of that struggle.
Alcoholism is an incurable disease that gets a grip on its victims that is hard to uncurl. It affects nearly everyone, the alcoholics, their families, friends, co-workers, neighbors. But, there is hope. When these two men found each other and became the support for one another, they developed a 12-step program to help other people. It can be done, one day at a time. And, for the friends and family, Lois Wilson and Anne Smith started Al-Anon, to give people a place to talk, to get strong, to share their stories, and to know that they’re not alone in their struggles.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob is a play worth seeing, no matter where you are on your journey. Erik Steen both directs and acts in this production as Bill W. He, and the entire cast and crew, give a tremendous performance that is filled with humor, heartache, and hope. Other cast members are Beth Selinger, Bri Keran, Patrick Spradlin, Linda Nichols, and Nicholas Kory. You can see it now at the Dryden Theatre at the Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN. through Oct 10, 2015. For more details, read the article from The Brainerd Dispatch, or contact the box office, 218-855-8199, or the CLC theatre website. They will offer a post play discussion after each performance.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Do you know anyone who is struggling with addiction?