The Painful Parallel between the Film, 'Days of Wine and Roses' and my Mom and Dad's Struggle with Alcoholism

Days of Wine and Roses Debuted in 1962

Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick play a married couple in 'Days of Wine and Roses.'
Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick play a married couple in 'Days of Wine and Roses.' | Source

Definition of Alcoholism

Full Definition of alcoholism according to Merriam Webster Dictionary

  1. 1: continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks

  2. 2a : poisoning by alcohol b : a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction

A Movie about Alcoholism called 'Days of Wine And Roses'

I remember the feeling of excitement when my tenth grade English teacher announced we'd be watching a movie. She said the film 'Days of Wine and Roses' was an American classic with a important message. The title sounded like we were in for a 'feel good' romantic film. How wrong I was that day in 1979 . Little did I know the movie would be a painful reminder of the darkness I was born into. The darkness and chaos that was 'alcoholism.'









Did You Ever See 'Days of Wine & Roses'

Have You Seen the Movie 'Days of Wine & Roses

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Watching the Movie becomes a Painful Experience

Unfortunately, the movie was not the romantic film I hoped it would be. In fact, as we got further and further into it, I felt very agitated and had trouble sitting still in my chair. I was becoming overly conscious of my breathing which was becoming labored. I felt light-headed and worried I might pass out. I felt self-conscious, like everyone in the room was watching me gasp for air. I was able to watch the movie to the end, but it was a painful experience that took every ounce of strength and energy I could muster.

Why the Movie was so Distressful for me

As an adult, I now know that my emotional and physical reaction to this movie was because it hit too close to home. The married couple in the story was a painful reflection of my mom and dad's battle with alcoholism. The movie starts out with Clay (played by Jack Lemmon) meeting and courting a very beautiful secretary named Kirsten (played by Lee Remick). Clay is already a big drinker when he meets her and introduces Kirsten to social drinking. They eventually get married and have a daughter named Debbie. The rest of the film is painful to watch as they both spiral into full blown alcoholism and ruin their lives. Clay is eventually able to sober up by the end of the film, but Kirsten admits she can't live without alcohol. They go their separate ways because they know that staying together is unhealthy and would inevitably cause Clay to relapse and continue their vicious cycle.

Why the Movie Hit so Close to Home

My twin sister and I are the youngest of five children. By the time we were born, mom and dad were full-blown alcoholics. I saw and experienced things in my childhood that a young girl should never see. There are still certain events I have never shared with anyone except my twin sister. Mom and Dad were a lot like the couple in the movie. They had everything going for them aside from the addiction. My beautiful mother was a flight attendant for North Central Airlines back in the 60's. Dad, being a WWII veteran, was working as a pilot for Northwest Airlines. Eventually North Central and Northwest Airlines merged, and that's when my parents met and later married. My mom and dad both liked to party which spiraled out of control early on in their marriage. My father, like Clay in the movie, would eventually sober up before his death in 1997. Tragically, like Kirsten, my mother could not stop drinking and died at the young age of thirty-nine. Dad had stints of sobriety here and there, and went through treatment several times. By the time dad was in his sixties, dad had sobered up for good. I had many good years with my father and was able to forgive and find healing.




Alcoholism affects the Family System

Mom and Dad before their five kids came along
Mom and Dad before their five kids came along | Source

Pain of Alcoholism

Has your Life been Affected by the Disease of Alcoholism

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DVD~Days of Wine and Roses

Days of Wine and Roses Video

© 2014 Linda Rogers

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Comments 53 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

No child should have to live through that; unfortunately, millions do. Your story just reinforces my commitment to stay sober. Thank you for sharing a part of your story; it is so very important that others do the same.

Blessings to you my friend

bill


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

That is so sad and I know you have only shared a little. It is such a shame no one recognized it early enough to reach your mother, I know that has to hurt so bad since there is nothing like the closeness of our mothers and our craving for their love. I think it is true for both sexes. I am glad you have made peace with your lose. You have many here who love you, if that helps any?


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Such a difficult place when children grow up with alcoholic parents--thank you for sharing this with us!


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

What a great hub Minnetonka Twin... That 2nd sentence was funny billybuc -:)


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

This Hub means a lot to me. I was born to an alcoholic father and spent over twenty years of my life drinking a suicidal amount of alcohol. I have been sober now for maybe seven years now but the scars from my father and my own life decisions run deep. Thank you for sharing this hub. Jamie


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Linda,

A tough movie to watch at a young age, even tougher for you and your sis to have lived through such experiences, making you closer to each other and so strong.

Thank you for sharing this and the healing you were able to do, especially with your Dad. Love, Maria


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Dear Linda,

Alcoholism is such a devastating disease and cunning too, as the disease of addiction is a selfish one indeed. My dad suffered from alcoholism after the wars, as he had PTSD and did not know how to cope back then. They did not talk about such and so they suffered alone. It was a terrible thing to watch for sure.

I am glad you are healing and that your dad did too. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. My mother was such a strong woman and also the sweetest person I have ever known in my life. If it were not for her and her strength, I do not know where my siblings (I am the oldest of four) would be now.

Hugs and much love,

Faith Reaper


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

A touchng hub Linda. I admire anyone who can share such personal parts of their life with others. My wife's father was an abusive alcoholic and it still affects her to this day. It must have been very difficult growing up in a family where both parents were affected. I am glad you had good time with your dad though after he gave it up. Voted up.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Alcoholism has touched so many lives, so sorry Linda. Your description about watching the movie as a child was vividly told and i could feel your pain. Hugs my friend.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Linda, how sad for you and your entire family. It's fortunate you were able to enjoy some sober years with your dad and that you have healed. I hope you have some happy memories of your childhood in addition to the painful ones.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Powerful and awesome .A wonderful creation which I know many can relate to. Voted up and thanks for sharing.

Eddy.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Billy-it means so much to me that you came by. You are so often the first one to comment on my hubs and I want you to know that I treasure that. I am very thankful that you are sober and living your life fully. It was a tough childhood but it definitely shaped me-Even my career choice was due to my childhood. I earned a Master's degree in Counseling and Psychological Services because I knew I could truly understand my client's.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

You are so sweet Jackie and your words that I am loved here means so much. You guys are my family and I feel so comforted by all of you. It is sad that mom had to die from this disease. You are right that I only scratched the surface here. Some day I will be ready to write more, as I know it can help others going through it. Bless you my friend.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

My pleasure Audrey-it was healing to write about this and some day I will write more. It's still tough for me. Thanks so much for coming by.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you words-I appreciate you coming by.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Jamie-You gave me goosebumps my dear. I am glad to hear your living your life without the alcohol. Alcoholism is a dark disease that affects everyone in it's path. My siblings and I all have different struggles from the past but for the most part are doing well. We have to believe that everything happens for a reason. I know that my childhood really shaped me. I'm one tough gal and can deal with pretty much anything that comes my way. Thank you for coming by and sharing a piece of your life with me. Hugs :-)


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Maria-thank you sweetie for your comforting words. I believe God sent me on this earth with my twin sister, so I could get through my childhood. We always had each other to count on and I can't imagine what may have become of me if I didn't have her. Scary to think about :-0 I do treasure the relationship I was able to have with my father those later years. He became everything to Laura and I after he sobered up.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Faith-so sorry to hear your father struggled with this terrible disease. I am so grateful you had your mother to count on. It was hard having both parents struggling with the disease. Us five kids really raised each other. I know God has reasons for all the pains we have on earth-I can see how my painful childhood has impacted my life in many good ways.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Jodah and thank you so much for coming by. I am sorry to hear that your wife still struggles with the pains stemming from her father's drinking. I tell you, alcoholism affects the whole family. I remember friends in college telling me that I was like a roller coaster based on dad's drinking. It affected me on a daily basis, especially when I'd get calls at college from a bartender telling me how drunk my dad was getting. How could I do anything about it hundreds of miles away. Life was constant chaos and I am grateful for peace in my life today.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Sweet Ruby-thank you for the hugs. I decided to let my readers feel what it's like to have a panic attack. That panic attack watching the movie, would be one of hundreds I would endure in my life. That is one thing I struggle with after my childhood but it's thankfully, less frequent now.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

I do have some great memories Shauna. Dad had stints of sobriety here and there and we got really close those last years. I really don't know how I would have handled all the chaos if it wasn't for having my twin sister. She and I were each other's lifeboat. Thank you Jesus for my loving sister.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Eddy-It is unfortunate how many can relate to this poem. It's a terrible disease and it hurts everyone in it's wake. Thanks for coming by-I really appreciate it.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I have always admired this film…not because of any unrealistic “happy ending,” as there is none, but because it was so true to life and unequivocal. It was an important film in this regard. I am so sorry to hear that you had to experience this in real life through the addictions of your parents. Children always bear the cruelty of this and are forced to seek the very help their parents too often refuse. I admire you so much, Linda, for sharing this with us. At least you were able to share good years with your father. Bless you and Laura.


TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 2 years ago

So so sorry to hear this about your parents. Very brave of you to share the correlation between the film and a very personal side of yourself


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Wow Martie-thank you so much for sharing your experience with this crappy disease. I am sooo happy to hear your mother was able to quit drinking. It really is evil and causes such havoc in people's lives. I was able to become proud of dad when he sobered up. He was very active in A.A. and did a lot of public speaking about his hellish journey and all he lost. I try to ask lots of questions with my relatives about mom before she got so sick. Your so right that we want to be proud of our parents and it hurts when you can't be. I know mom and dad are now together, at peace in heaven. Thank you so much for coming by my friend. Hub Hugs.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for your comforting words, Genna. You are so right that this movie was true to life. I found it really interesting when doing research on this film that both Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick sobered up after playing these roles. Jack was always a big drinker and then did this movie. The director was a big drinker too and this experience making the movie also motivated him to sober up.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you kindly for your comforting words TurtleDog. It was pretty tough to write about, but once I started, I felt better. Thanks so much for reading my story.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I'm so sorry that you had such a difficult childhood, Linda. I'm sorry about the experiences that your parents had, too. Alcoholism causes so many sad problems. It's wonderful that your father managed to overcome his alcoholism, though. I'm glad that you eventually had some good times with him and some happy memories.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A sad story indeed and a child not be faced with such an experience you are very brave to write about it.


Jane Arden 2 years ago

It is so sad that you had to undergo such a thing. My sister is an alcoholic who has been dry for about 6 years. Its awful the way drink just captures your soul. Thank you for sharing this.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

No worries Alicia-My childhood is what shaped me. I ended up in the mental health field because of it. I feel we all go through what we go through for a reason. God wanted to use me as a healer in my writing and in my day to day life. I know what it's like to be on the bottom and feel that helps me relate to people at a very deep level. Love you for coming by and giving me such kind words. Have a great day my sweet friend.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thank you kindly, DDE-I hope my story can touch someone out there. They are not alone and there is always hope, no matter what the struggle. I appreciate you coming by.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Jane-I am so glad to hear your sister is in recovery. It doesn't just hurt the alcoholic but friends, family and anyone else in it's wake. I learned a lot from the experiences in my childhood. Bless you for coming by and thanks for sharing your experience with your sister.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Dear Minnetonka, I am so sorry to hear of your childhood experience with alcohol. By the time I was born, my dad has long given up his alcoholic tendencies. I heard the stories from my mother and sisters of the abuse and know that it can damage a family. Thankfully, my father found his answer through faith and as a pastor comforted others over the remainder of his lifetime. Hugs, love and prayers for your continued healing.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

What a wonderful thing that your father not only sobered up, but was able to minister to others. I think those that have been to hell and back make the best teachers and healers. Thanks for the hugs and prayers. Bless you for coming by with your words of love and comfort.


mylindaelliott profile image

mylindaelliott 2 years ago from Louisiana

I feel so sorry for the girl you were and the disappointment in the movie.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Thanks for the kind words-I got through it but it wasn't always easy. I appreciate you coming by.


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

When things are too poignant, it can be really distressing. Thanks for your frank sharing.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi midget-it's my pleasure to share these struggles in hopes it may give someone hope and healing. I appreciate you coming by.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

It is a struggle sometimes--especially for the children involved--


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

No doubt about it Audrey. Alcoholism or any addiction affects everyone in it's path.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

I'm so sorry to hear what you went through. I'm even more sorry that you lost your mom while she was so young. I have never met my bio father. My mother was a teenager when she had me. His family moved out west when I was born. I started searching for him a few years ago and found a picture of him. It was a mug shot in a jail for public drunkenness.

I'm so happy you had time with your dad later in his life when he had sobered up.


Bk42author profile image

Bk42author 2 years ago from New York

So sorry you and your sister had to go through so much pain. I also am the child of a recovering alcoholic. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dear Crafty-How hard for you to find that photo of your dad. We all have story don't we? Life is not for the sissy's. It can be down right brutal. I am so sorry you never met your father. Thank you so much for reading my story.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Hi Bk-Sorry you know the pain of living with an alcoholic. It's not an easy way to grow up but it does make us stronger. It was one of the reasons I went for a Master's Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services. I knew I would understand my client's because I've been through it all. Thanks so much for coming by my hub. Glad your on HubPages and look forward to reading more of your work.


the clean life profile image

the clean life 2 years ago from New Jersey Shore

Linda what a sad story and it must have been so hard watching that movie. Its is such a shame for you and your siblings to have to go through such a thing as addiction in a family. I was so fortunate that my parents did not drink or smoke and here I am a smoker and an alcoholic. I only wish they could see me now sober and happy. They passed away before I found my sobriety. I guess they see me from above I hope!

God Bless you Linda and your family.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

You bet your parents see how you've turned your life around. I am so happy you quit drinking. I know your parents are so proud of you and so is your hub friend Minnetonka Twin aka Linda

Blessings to you and your lovely wife.

P.S. thanks for reading my story-it means a lot to me


the clean life profile image

the clean life 2 years ago from New Jersey Shore

Linda you are very welcome. Great hub, but so touching. I wish our deceased loved ones could give us a sign, such as me not drinking anymore. Maybe one day it will happen and if not, I will be told when I meet them again.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

I have been honored to have many visits from my mom and dad since their death's and so have my siblings. Maybe it's there way of saying their sorry. It's been an incredibly healing thing for me. I write about them here on Hubpages. My favorite one is called 'the Night God Sent Angels to Help Me.' I will pray that you get the gift of a visit from your loved ones.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Twin - I am so sorry about your childhood experiences, and I can relate to them. It is a living Hell to have alcoholism in your life as a child. Somehow you survived and had your father back to sobriety in later years. just like my situation. You are such a caring person, and you must have worked through the past problems. You never really forget them, I know, but you are successful in your career and have a nice family. Hope your health is good, and good luck. Sharing hub. Blessings, Audrey


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

What a comforting and heart felt comment Audrey. I am sorry to hear you can relate to this story of alcoholism. It is a living hell but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger as they say. My life is full of peace and love. I thank you so much for coming by and reading my hub. God Bless :-)


JEscallierKato profile image

JEscallierKato 2 years ago from Rocklin, CA

Dear Minnetonka Twin, That movie affected me deeply when I first saw it in the 60's. My father was an alcoholic and my brother battles with it every day of his life. I feel your pain. I, too, liken the movies of my life to my own reality. It's very cathartic. Bravo!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota Author

Wow, it's always good to know I am not alone. I am so sorry you have dealt with this disease with loved ones. I didn't write it in this hub, but my brother who was only 40 years old, also died from an overdose of alcohol and oxycotin. This disease has taken so many of my loved ones. I always hope to educate people when I write these hubs. Bless you for coming by and leaving such a thoughtful comment.

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