Shattered Spirits

February 17, 2009
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In the prestigious movie, 'Shattered Spirits,' starring Martin Sheen, you come across the Mollencamp family, who face difficulties with the alcoholic father and husband, Lyle Mollencamp. With his wife, Joyce Mollencamp, who is in denial about her husband being an alcoholic, and their kids Leslie, who is more of the responsible, junior parent, then Kenneth, who's the scapegoat and gets all the blame, and then Brian, who's the lost child always forgotten about.

Having troubles right from the start, the Mollencamp family has conflicts day in and day out. The father will go to deep measures just to get a hold of alcohol. Throwing tantrums while drunk and never remembering them, Lyle Mollencamp brings traumatizing moments for his kids. On the day of Brian's birthday, everything changes. Mr. Mollencamp, missing the birthday party to go out and get drunk, ends up wrecking the place and even hitting Kenneth. The neighbors call the police for a domestic disturbance, and the kids get taken away to a foster home. Mr. Mollencamp isn't able to see his family and has to attend A.A. meetings. Then everything is flowing well, the kids are happier and not afraid, the mother is more responsible, and Mr. Mollencamp can come home. Though then it falls apart once they find the bottle of drunken alcohol and see that Mr. Mollencamp has not overcome his alcoholism. Luckily, he realizes his problems and how he is truly an alcoholic.

Alcohol in a family causes traumatizing and heart aching moments to last a life time. When it is present in a family that has children, then hopefully children will see the downsides of being an alcoholic. When the parent is an alcoholic, the children will usually suffer as much as the parent. The children know that they are suffering but hide it, unlike the parent who don't know that they are suffering but yet show it and are sadly oblivious to it. In the movie, the kids get scared of their father and his aggressiveness. They have no one to rely on and end up getting taken away. There have been many situations like this and some even worse. Though there are programs for kids and teens with alcoholic family members, such as Ala-teen. Most parents realize that they are alcoholics when their children actually show their suffering, but most of the time it's too late to take back the damage they did.

The mother in the movie changes throughout. At first she isn't responsible, she doesn't act like a mother. She is seriously in denial that her husband is an alcoholic. Though then we learn that her father was an alcoholic and when she realizes what her husband is, she takes a stand. She doesn't tolerate his abuse to alcohol and becomes more responsible. She starts acting like a mother and doesn't make her kids do most of the parenting work.

In the movie, you see how alcohol tears apart a family. In all reality, it is either like the Mollencamps, sadly, or worse. People shouldn't be afraid to help an alcoholic. They should realize their problems and do something about, especially if it affects you. Kids idolize their parents whether they want to or not, it's just in their nature. So when they have a parent abusive to alcohol, hopefully they'll realize the bad affects it'd have on them and everyone else they love.





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