Flight into Redemption

I don’t do movie reviews. That is best left up to Leonard Somebody or some TV or newspaper critic. But I was so emotionally moved by the movie “Flight” starring one of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, that I must share some of my feelings about it. I’m not going to reveal the plot except to say it concerns an airline pilot who is an alcoholic. If you have never suffered an addiction to anything more debilitating than caffeine this movie will still be very entertaining and exciting.

But, I am a recovering alcoholic who has, thanks to God, been sober for thirty-three years. Had it not been for the intervention of the Almighty I would not have made it through 1980 alive. And I would have missed most of my life. It is, I know, difficult for “normal” people to understand the hold that an addictive substance, whatever it may be, can have on a human being. I once had a wife who told me, as what she felt was a compliment, “You hold your liquor very well.” And I suppose I did because I was lucky enough not to lose a job, get put in jail, or kill some innocent person when I drove automobiles so drunk that I had to close one eye to avoid double-vision. But I am telling you that it was a miracle that I did not injure or kill someone. I know I did do a good job of destroying wives and children, and I will carry that shame and dishonor with me to the grave.

I was a stone boozer. I didn’t frequent bars. I didn’t have cute names for alcohol. I never asked for a “toddy for the body,” or just a “nip” or a “touch” or a “cocktail.” I didn’t need friends to party with. For me, drinking liquor was not a party. The object was to get drunk as quickly as possible. And, hopefully, to stay slightly drunk all the time. I could ride my motorcycle into the woods and down a pint of liquor just sitting under a tree alone. Of course I eventually had to ride that bike out of the woods. Riding a motorcycle drunk is an act of insanity. But then, the best definition of being an alcoholic is insanity.

My father was an alcoholic. His idea of a good time was to go out and get drunk and then come home and beat up the family. They say, and I don’t use it as an excuse, that those who have parents who are alcoholics have a predilection to becoming an alcoholic. All I know is that from the time I was a teenager when I went out with buddies to “have a beer” they may have had a beer. I had as many as I had money for and drank them as quickly as I could to get drunk.

I had a job right out of high school and before college working at a trucking firm as a clerk. It was my job to type up insurance claims. There happened to be a tavern right off the trucking premises and my boss would invite me to join him after work for “a beer” at the joint. I would drink so much beer that my stomach couldn’t hold the quantity so I would go outside to the parking lot—throw up—and go back in and drink more beer. If you want a clearer definition of insanity, I don’t think you will find one.

But this is supposed to be a movie review isn’t it? Not my life story. It is just that the leading character in “Flight” was such a reflection of my years of lying, broken promises, denial, not admitting to my sickness and then finally redemption though the grace of God struck such a strong emotional chord with me. I had to tell you to see it. If you are an alcoholic know that there are lots of us out here, and that there is a better life. You can, if you want to, give up the fun of throwing up on your friends’ shoes, embarrassing yourself with those morning-after apologies, trying to figure out where those dents in your car came from, calling in to say you won’t be at work because you have the “flu” or “food poisoning.” You can give up having a breakfast of a beer and three aspirin. There is an AA meeting almost everywhere now. And, who knows. I might see you at one. If we meet by chance, I’ll buy the coffee.
p.s. I just noticed that Denzel Washington was Oscar nominated for his performance in “Flight” and the movie was also nominated for “Best Original Screenplay.”

About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s