Alcohol And Seniors



Dreams of Retirement (c) Seniors Well Aware Program, 2002

This play was written by and produced by seniors.



My name is Marie and I would like to tell you of my dreams of retirement.

I was a high school teacher for 30 years.  I had no children of my own so I enjoyed being with them in school.  With the endless grind of papers and exams to grade, I never thought I’d miss the children so much.  When I was offered early retirement at 60, I took stock of my affairs and realized, monetarily that I was going to be all right.


Until my retirement I considered myself a social drinker – the kind that could take it or leave it.  When my husband and I went out it was I that was usually the designated driver as he never knew when enough was enough.

In spite of this, I was very happy to be retired as my husband and I could now do things together. 


Everything in the garden was lovely.  Or so I thought!

Scene 1

Narrator:    Jim and Marie have finished breakfast and are reading the paper in the kitchen. 


Marie:        Well, that’s the Province and the Sun and both the crosswords finished.  What do we do now?


Jim:             This is it!


Marie:          This is it?  This is retirement?


Jim:             Like I said - this is it!


Marie:        I thought we'd be able to do all kinds of things together - par 3 golf, try different restaurants for lunch, car rides, all kinds of things together.

Jim:           I've been retired for 5 years, and  I have MY life all organized.  In fact, today, after lunch I'm playing in a darts tournament at the Legion.


Marie: (sadly sighs) I was hoping we could perhaps take a drive up to Harrison Hot Springs, but I guess darts are more important.


NARRATOR:  You can see by this scene that Jim has his own life and he expects Marie to be just like his mother.


NARRATOR:    Later that same day - Food on the stove – not cooked.  Jim enters - Marie is asleep in the chair.


Jim:           Hi Marie.  We won our darts game.......oh!  What's this?  No dinner ready?  This is a brilliant start to your retirement!  What ARE you doing and what have YOU done all day???


Marie: (dazed)    I got all the fixings in the frying pan, potatoes peeled and in the pot, veggies all set to go.  Then I sat down to watch "Murder She Wrote" and I guess I just dropped off.


Jim: (goes to the fridge)    When I left here  MY bottle of vodka was half empty and now it's nearly half full.  How do you explain that Marie?


Marie: (falteringly)    Well, I just had one or two, I think, and then I thought you'd be mad at me so I sort of topped up the bottle with water.


Jim: (angry)    Oh!  Nice! Anyway how about getting the dinner going now, and don't let this happen again!




NARRATOR:    Marie still attends church and sang in the choir.  She never drank when she knew she was going to church, but her mind was not always on what she was singing.  I wonder what her thoughts were???




Marie starts to sing in a Gregorian Chant-like fashion – and as the music fades we hear???


Marie is singing to herself ...."I'll be able to stop by the cold beer & wine store on the way home & pick up a bottle of wine"


NARRATOR:     Marie still does not recognize she has a problem.




NARRATOR:    Six months later - Marie and Jim are back in the kitchen.


Jim:           You know Marie, this drinking business has been going on too long.  It's 6 months since you retired.  Don't you think it's time you cut the umbilical cord from your teaching career and started looking after ME!!


Marie:        I never thought I'd miss teaching so much.  I even miss the kids.  I feel so unwanted and unneeded.  It's just the most horrible feeling.  I expected you and I to go off into the sunset together, but you have your own life now and I'm no part of it.  I feel so unloved and you feel really selfish to me.


Jim:             Well, all I know is you've got a problem.


Marie:        I heard that some people who have a drinking problem go to AA for help; so maybe I should call your friend Sandy.  I know he's been sober for 10 years.  I think I'll give him a call and see if he will take me to a meeting.


Marie: (picks up phone)    Hello, Sandy?  This is Marie calling.  I really need help with my drinking.  ...Could you take me to your meeting?.......Oh, good.  Perhaps you could come for me?  Great!  I'll see you tomorrow night at seven.


NARRATOR:    Marie has decided to take a step in the right direction.



NARRATOR:    That evening after the meeting.

Jim:            Well, how did it go?

Marie:        I don't really know.  I looked around the room.   I listened to some of those losers who had lost everything and ended up on skid row.  Unlike them, I haven't lost the house, the car or my family or my self-respect.  I can't see how any of this will help, although Sandy says I should try another meeting.  He suggested a meeting on Tuesday night.  You might want to come along with.

Jim:            I don't need to go to AA.  I'm not the alcoholic!  I drink in the pub; you drink at home and hide the bottles.  You're the one with the problem.

(Jim exits.........)


By this time, Jim was quite a drinker, but was definitely in denial.  I got no support form him whatsoever.  I felt more and more alienated and lonely.


NARRATOR: Marie realizes that she, and she alone is responsible for her own sobriety.


NARRATOR:    Marie and Jim back in the kitchen.

Marie:        How would you like if I drive you down to Steveston for lunch.  My treat!

Jim:            Oh!  That would be great.  Lets leave around eleven so we can beat the rush.

Marie:        Good!  I'll just go and get ready.  It'll be nice to do something together.

(Phone rings)

Jim:            Jim hear.......Oh!  Hello John....You going to be in town today and would like to meet me for lunch.  Great!........You want to go to the Krazy Kangroo Pub!... All right, see you in an hour.

Marie:        Who was that?

Jim:            It was John.  He's coming in to town today and wants to meet me for lunch.

Marie:        But what about our trip to Steveston?  You said you'd really like to go there.

Jim:            We can do that any day.  I don't see Jim so much since he moved to Mission.  Bye!

(Jim Exits)

Marie (turns to audience): 

Now I know how second-class citizen feels.  All his pals are more important than I am - I feel so rejected!  Male  bonding!...UGH!.. All they do is talk about soccer and hockey and drink.  It's at a time like this that I feel like taking off for the liquor store.  I'm going to call me sponsor and tell him how I'm feeling.

NARRATOR:   Marie is finding ..........missing on my sheets.



NARRATOR:    5 years later


My husband was a diabetic - still drinking, but by this time not to excess.  I knew how much damage he had done to himself. I was so frustrated and angry at his attitude, and I sometimes had a little "slip". 

However, he wouldn't follow doctor’s orders and inevitably his kidneys and liver gave up and he passed away quite suddenly.  After he died there was no longer the pressing need to anaesthetize myself.

Since my husband passed away I've had to start building my life alone.  One thing I did find out was that I did not need a man to affirm who I was.  I got involved in a Scottish Choir, I found a friend who likes to play par-3 golf and I go to the theatre or symphony.  I even drive some friends to their doctor’s appointments and for grocery’s.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to  the Seniors Well Aware Program (SWAP) and I find the meetings very interesting and informative. I can also help others by sharing my experiences by becoming involved with the SWAP Players, a group of members that turn our stories into theatre skits, like were are doing for you today.

When I do have a thought of drinking, I phone my SWAP friend and discuss what triggered the idea or I meditate, usually down beside the Fraser River or I take the dog for a walk.  This restores my sanity.

I am almost the free spirit I was before I was married and I am enjoying my life and having fun.


Page last updated Sunday, 31 October 2004

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