To prepare my students to enter lesson three of Advanced 4 level, I invited my students to watch ’28 DAYS’, a movie illustrating about drug addicts in a rehabilitation center. The main character of the movie, Gwen—played by Sandra Bullock—is a drug addict. Due to an accident she undergoes when she is ‘fly’, the court gives her two choices: to go to a jail or to go to a rehabilitation center for 28 days. She chooses the second option.
After watching the movie, I gave the following questions:
1.How did Gwen end up being a drug addict?
2.Did the treatment in the rehabilitation center work to cure the addicts?
3.In the rehabilitation center, did ‘chanting’ work to encourage the addicts to stay away from drugs?
4.Which is more important: the motivation from the addicts to cure themselves or from the family members/rehabilitation center?
5.What sometimes made an addict lose his/her spirit to live?
There are ten students in my class, five female and another five male students. One student is still in the third grade of senior high school, two students just graduated from senior high school, going to enter college, and the rest are college students. I asked the students to work in two groups: female and male groups.
For the first question ‘How did Gwen end up being a drug addict?’, the two groups referred to the familial background of Gwen. Her mother—Gwen has one older sister, Lily—was an alcoholic. There is no clear illustration about the father. The fact that the mother is an alcoholic infects Gwen to be an alcoholic too. (This is what she says to the other addicts in the rehabilitation center what makes her a drug addict at the first place.) A parent who doesn’t give good examples to the children will become a model. The difference between the female from the male group is that the female group came up with another idea—Gwen chooses wrong people as her friends. She chooses to live in wrong environment. An alcoholic mother only is not enough to make children become alcoholic too because Lily—Gwen’s sister—is not an alcoholic. Lily is ‘clean’ from either alcohol or drugs.
Gwen’s boyfriend apparently doesn’t support her to be cured from drugs because once in a while when he visits Gwen in the rehabilitation center, he brings her some drugs secretly. His reason is: Gwen needs it. Someone cannot be separated from drugs abruptly. He/she needs to be away from it step by step.
For the second question ‘Did the treatment in the rehabilitation center work to cure the addicts?’, the two groups had different idea. The boys said that it worked only to some addicts while the girls said it worked to all of the addicts under one condition: the addicts themselves had big motivation to cure their addiction.
The students thought that the rehabilitation center had good programs to help cure the addicts. It depends on the addicts then whether they had positive character to their own lives for their future.
The third question ‘In the rehabilitation center, did ‘chanting’ work to encourage the addicts to stay away from drugs?’, both groups agreed that the chant worked to encourage the addicts. By chanting, they remind themselves that they would have good future if they stayed away from drugs. I am myself of opinion that to some extent, ‘chanting’ here somewhat has the similar use of praying. When people pray, hopefully they will always remember the pray, and to make it come true, they will try their best to reach it. For example: when a student prays, “God, I want to graduate with flying colors”, he/she will study hard to make it come true.
For the fourth question ‘Which is more important: the motivation from the addicts to cure themselves or from the family members/rehabilitation center?’ the groups got a bit different answer: the girls said that the motivation from two sides—the addicts and the family members/rehabilitation center—is both important. The boys said that the motivation from the addicts is more important. The girls reasoned when an addict had big motivation to cure the addiction but the family members/environment doesn’t support him/her, it will be useless. The same example is Gwen’s case whose boyfriend doesn’t really support her.
The last question ‘What sometimes made an addict lose his/her spirit to live?’ referred to one addict named Andrea in the movie. Her days—for 28 days—in the center is going to be over soon. She will be leaving. Before her departure, her friends performs one scene play, taken from Santa Cruz, Andrea’s favorite soap opera, However, her last intake of drug—not clear how she can keep it secretly from the staff of the center—kills her. She dies because of overdose.
This scene is related to the previous scene where there is ‘family session’ in the center. All addicts are encouraged to invite their family members, to express their feelings to each other. It can be in the form of disappointment of the family members because the ‘addict’ becomes an addict. Or on the way around, the ‘addict’ becomes an addict because he/she doesn’t get enough attention from the family. When knowing that Lily will come, Gwen is worried because she thinks that Lily will make her ashamed with anything Lily says. On the contrary, Andrea is hurt when her parents say that they will not come because they are ashamed of her. They even say that they don’t want Andrea to come back.
Obviously, this makes Andrea lose her spirit to live. This very young girl doesn’t know where to go after leaving the rehabilitation center. Her using drug again—overdose—can be interpreted as Andrea’s committing suicide.
Gwen herself in fact then reconciles with Lily after the family session. They lack of talking to each other heart to heart that has made them have strained relationship. By the end of the movie, Gwen, who realizes that she has chosen a wrong person to be her boyfriend, breaks the relationship with him.
By the end of the discussion, we can come to a conclusion that having a close relationship with the right people—can be friends or family members—with whom we can talk to each other heart to heart, will save someone from being an addict. The feeling that we are loved, needed, and wanted—by the right people too—is another key to stay away from drugs.
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