MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
More than 200 Marines and Sailors attended the presentation of the one-man play, “Rum and Vodka,” a 90-minute presentation aimed at creating awareness of alcohol and the health issues that coincide, at the air station theater Friday.
“Rum and Vodka” is an innovative Alcohol and Substance Abuse Awareness/Prevention Training program, where actor Brendan Griffin performed a dramatic reading of Conor McPherson’s one-man play who tells his story of alcohol use.
“Our hope is to break down the stigma of seeking someone out and starting a conversation,” said Bryan Doerries, the artistic director for the company Outside the Wire in charge of the play. “When the Marines actively start to respond to the questions we ask, there is nothing more compelling.”
The play is about a 24-year-old man living in Dublin, Ireland whose life starts to fall apart because of his drinking problem. The play was read by Brendan Griffin, an actor who has done work with Law and Order and Generation Kill.
“It’s the best feeling to perform for Marines, it is the greatest environment I have ever experienced as an actor,” said Griffin.
After the reading was over, a panel of four volunteers including Marines and substance abuse counselors with Marine Corps Community Services took the stage to discuss substance abuse with the Marines.
“I’m an alcoholic,” said one of the Marine volunteers. “As I was sitting in the audience and viewing this play, there was a lot I could relate to. Alcohol became a part of my life that I couldn’t get rid of.”
The volunteer went on to speak to Marines about how he couldn’t take it anymore and sought out help for his problem.
“I think part of the problem is that folks don’t know who to turn to,” said one of the panelists. “Just like the guy in the play, they come to a realization when it was too late.”
After the discussion with the panelists, Doerries and Griffin went down the aisles and asked Marines five questions to spark a discussion.
One of the questions asked was, why do people drink so much?
Marines each shared a different answer to the question which included: “We all have emotions; people are drinking to cope with emotions or to try and forget them” and “at the end of the day, all people go through similar problems. But, it’s the way we deal with those problems that’s different.”
Doerries concluded the event by asking one final question for the Marines to ponder on. “If you noticed that one of your brothers or sisters was having a problem, what would you say to them? What would you do for him or her?”
“Sometimes you don’t really notice there is a problem. You were raised with your brothers and sisters but that’s why you have to be more aware because as Marines, we see differently and we have to help each other combat the problem,” said one of the Marines in attendance.
If there is an individual with an alcohol related problem, ensure they are pointed in the right direction to the help they need.