Commentary: Another side to the Super Bowl
By Dan Cain
Last weekend's Super Bowl showcased two championship football teams as well as lots of commercials vying for that other coveted championship - getting their business in front of more than 111 million people -- and the real trophy: Getting the most post-game buzz about their ad.
This year was no exception with ads that were full of nods to nostalgia, some sophomoric and others downright strange. But like every other Sunday football afternoon, there were beer ads. This year even the football field camera was brought to us by Budweiser. Not surprisingly, the commercials for beer always seem to have women who are beautiful; the guy drinking is always cool, clever and attractive; and he is always in the mix, smiling and having fun with other cool, interesting people (and this year, even dogs!). The message is clear -- when you drink, you'll be more attractive, have more fun, and probably get the pretty girl. But there is another side to the story Madison Avenue sells on Super Bowl Sunday.
Right now, the Illusion Theater is presenting the award-winning play, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the story behind the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The play recounts the fortuitous meeting in Akron, Ohio, of a New York stockbroker and a country doctor whose only commonality was their alcoholism, the havoc it had wreaked on their lives, and a desire -- albeit fragile -- to remain sober. By the time they found each other, they were neither attractive, fun-loving, nor cool.
Over the past 75 years, Alcoholics Anonymous, the term they assigned to their efforts, has grown into one of the most recognizable movements in the world. Variations on the theme have spawned Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and countless other self-help groups. Treatment for addiction has emerged as a viable response, at least as frequently as other maladies that require continuing self-care, which offers hope for recovery. Research has pointed to multiple paths to addiction, from biological, to psychological, to social, to behavioral and even to spiritual. And strategies have emerged to address them all, with varying degrees of success.
But after more than seven decades of discovery and progress, one thing remains constant; no matter how you get sober, your community is what keeps you sober. In the case of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, the community they created for support involved each other, their spouses, and other alcoholics who shared a desire to stop drinking. Before there were 12 Steps, or 12 Traditions, or any other structured interventions, there was simply fellowship, support and brutal honesty.
This is a play that is about much more than the two men who, through their own shared failures, found success. It is about community, fellowship and the strength of the human spirit. Seeing this play should be a no-brainer for those in recovery, and those who share their lives. But there is a lesson in the telling of this inspiring and heartwarming story that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt lonely and lost, or who believed they were alone with their unique set of problems. This is a story of hope.
And you can watch it all commercial-free.
Dan Cain is president of RS Eden House. He has 35 years experience in the Chemical Dependency field working as, a counselor, counselor supervisor and administrator.