*Content Warning: Alcoholism, Suicide* (And mild spoilers)
Loud, busy, and triggering for former and current food service workers. The crossroads of local culture, tradition, and progress, THE BEAR smacks you in the face with painfully sweaty stress and tight spaces. I find it so difficult to breathe, that I took a stretch break during the first episode. The grief is as overwhelming as the sounds of the kitchen.
But you don’t need any more reasons to watch this staggeringly beautiful family drama.
This show has touched its viewers in a visceral way. And this platform is important, our food service industry needs to be seen. And when every other show has boosted the brand and importance of Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org), THE BEAR is shining a light on the importance of Al-Anon (al-anon.org). The best portrayals of AA come out of shows like The Wire, Elementary, Rescue Me, House Of Cards, 28 days, and When A Man Loves A Woman (more HERE, Holiday Guide: 18 Movies Examining Alcoholism And The Performances That Set The Bar) and these depictions normalize all kinds of people taking important steps to save their lives. While Al-Anon has had a spotlight in When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story, I couldn’t find many other titles that were remotely recognizable.
Then, I came across this in “The Bear – A Look at Addiction from An Al-Anon Perspective” by Lisa C, “I enjoyed the detailed look at how Carmy navigates the death of his brother and the relationships with his family and new employees. The show sits in it instead of moving on to the happy days too quickly. This is a more realistic portrayal of life. Carmy tries to suppress his emotions by focusing solely on keeping The Beef running. His sister, “Sugar,” is Carmy’s antagonist. She always wants to talk about it and wants him to go the “the thing.” For a long time, he resists and continues to suffer.
We learn later that “the thing” is Al-Anon. Carmy continues to suppress his emotions and they all come out sideways. He finally goes to an Al-Anon meeting but just sits silently in the back. Then the breakthrough comes. His 7-minute share is everything. Every emotion he had been stuffing down for so long finally comes out in a heart-wrenching brutally honest way. But this remains a private moment. Carmy does not share that he has been going to “the thing.” He does not share these emotions with anyone. However, his relationships with his employees and family improve. He becomes softer and lighter in a sense. At one point, it seems his sister has completely given up on him, They are fighting, and Sugar seems to be losing hope. When faced with this reality, Carmy reveals he has been going to “the thing.” It is obvious that Sugar only wants him to be well; this is all she needs to hear to move forward with him. It’s a truly joyful moment.”
TV and Film is a powerful medium. Normalizing Al-Anon might be the most important thing this show has to offer people silently struggling. Likely, there are people silently struggling around you, right now. If you don’t feel equipped to explore this issue, you can always kindly offer a brilliant TV show recommendation. Sometimes stories on a screen can change the course of our lives. Consider the impact and recommend this show to loved ones.
Learn more about Al-Anon (al-anon.org)
“Who Are Al-Anon Members? Al-Anon members are people, just like you, who are worried about someone with a drinking problem.
Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.
Alateen, a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, is a fellowship of young people (mostly teenagers) whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking whether they are in your life drinking or not. By attending Alateen, teenagers meet other teenagers with similar situations. Alateen is not a religious program and there are no fees or dues to belong to it.”
Learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org)
“Have a problem with alcohol? There is a solution. A.A. has a simple program that works. It’s based on one alcoholic helping another.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem. It doesn’t cost anything to attend A.A. meetings. There are no age or education requirements to participate. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. A.A.’s primary purpose is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”