I saw Flight a month or so ago, a powerful movie and a brutal look at the mind of an addict.
I thought it was the airplane crash that would get to me, but it wasn’t. It was Denzel Washington’s portrayal of the troubled pilot.
Smooth lies were the foundation for his character’s life of illusion, a life with which he got way too comfortable, like many addicts do. Dysfunctional, but comforting in its familiarity.
What struck me particularly was that he really believed the illusion was real, and that seems to hold true for some addicts, as well. And for many people who aren’t addicts.
The ability to deceive ourselves and build walls against the truth is strong. Everyone else sees the reality, but most people go along with the fiction simply because it’s easier. Confronting an addict is hard because addicts are hard–hardened by the effort it’s taken to live a lie.
But the truth always sits at our core. We may not want to access it, but it’s there.
I was surprised that at the end of the movie, the pilot chose to take responsibility, rather than throw his flight attendant companion under the bus. It would have been easy enough–she was dead, he wasn’t. Addicts aren’t known for taking responsibility. Everything in an addict’s path breaks: marriages, families, babies, jobs. In the face of that, how did that dead flight attendant even have a chance?
But here’s what the pilot said in the film’s finale:
It was as if I had reached my lifelong limit for lies.
I could not tell one more lie.
“I could not tell one more lie.”
That’s really my wish for all the addicts in the world, whose loved ones are coping with the damage left in the wake of addiction.
That they, too, can reach the point where they can not tell one more lie.
And in that admission, begin to take responsibility for their lives.
And for changing them.
Oh, apparently that quote is Buddha’s, not Confucius. Which is misspelled.