Requiem for a Dream
Eventually, addiction causes the lives of individuals to spiral downward in a desperate search to regain the sense of balance and pleasure that their addiction initially gave them. This downward spiral either leads to recovery or continued hopelessness and eventual death. Director Darren Aronofsky's 2000 film "Requiem for a Dream" illustrates this idea perfectly as this work chronicles this descending spiral experienced by its characters.
For example, as the movie opens, a housewife is in the process of chaining her television to a radiator. This is because she is trying to prevent her son from using it to get the money he needs to support ...view middle of the document...
62). These individuals rationalize, deny and minimize the problems that characterize the lives of addicts, and this makes it possible for addicts to avoid the challenge of facing reality and the consequences of their actions to themselves and others (Hanson, Venturelli, and Fleckenstein, 2012). In Marion's case, her enabling behavior is based on the fact that, as an addict, she is also deeply invested in the same delusions that drive Harry and Tyrone. Sara, Harry's mother, is also an enabler because of her denial that Harry has a problem. She relaxes while watching TV; secure in the knowledge that the plot will turn out perfectly and the perception that Harry is just mischievous (Bowers, 2010).
The film supports the conceptualization of addiction as a familial and a societal disease as Sara is also addicted. Her addictions are food and television. Sara seeks to fill the void in her life by overindulging in food and spending her days watching television. A widow, Sara has only her memories of her husband, Seymour, as there is no real communication or engagement between her and Harry (Bowers, 2010). While his mother's addiction is not illegal, it accomplishes the same power over her behavior and the same illusions, as it offers Sara the illusion that indulging her addictions will make her feel whole, less lonely and make her feel that she has a life worth living. Harry is mirroring this behavior in his addiction, indicating that this pattern has been passed from one generation to the next.
What Marion, Harry and Tyrone seek in their drug use is the feeling of contentment and wholeness that it affords them. According to Hubert Selby, who wrote the book from which the film is adapted, getting high makes them feel "'whole and invulnerable and safe and a lot of other things, but mostly whole'" (Bowers, 2010, p. 243). As addicts indulge in long-term drug use, they disintegrate any possibility of obtaining the longed feeling of wholeness without the drug. Harry loses an arm to a gangrenous infection in a vein used to mainline heroin, while Tyrone's addiction leads him to incarceration on a chain gang in Georgia (Bowers, 2010). The U.S. National Library...