By Christopher Roberson
Through a theatrical performance, the four members of the Improbable Players, known only by their first names, recently taught students at Lynnfield Middle School what happens when drugs and alcohol take hold of a family.
“Everyone thought we were perfect, but we weren’t,” said Zack, who played the role of the older son during the Dec. 7 performance, detailing the lives of a family of four over a 20-year period.
Early on in the performance, it quickly became evident that Megan, playing the role of the mother, had a drinking problem. “Mom, you were drunk. You passed out in front of my friends,” said Christian, playing the role of the younger son.
The older son turned to his father, played by Ryan, to address his mother’s drinking habit. “Dad, she’s drinking again in the morning. I saw her,” he said. However, the father denied that his wife had a drinking problem and became furious when he learned that his son had told a teacher at school about what was happening at home.
A few years later, the younger son came home excited to tell his mother that he had been chosen as the captain of the football team. Yet, she did not seem to care, as she was far more concerned about running out cigarettes.
“You’re drunk. I hate you. Why can’t you just be my mom?” asked the younger son.
Despite his mother’s excessive alcohol consumption, the younger son refused to label her as an alcoholic. “She’s not an alcoholic, she just drinks too much,” he said.
Later it was discovered that the younger son was using drugs and had been kicked off the football team. In addition, his mother suffered a concussion after falling down a flight of stairs in a drunken stupor. The troubled family ultimately needed professional help to escape the throes of addiction.
After the show, the performers spoke about their real life struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Originally from Philadelphia, Christian said, he began using marijuana and alcohol when he was “13 or 14” years old. “I loved it, it quieted my mind,” he said, adding that his drinking “really took off” during college. “It’s an easy way out.”
However, Christian said, his mother ultimately convinced him to check into a rehabilitation center. “I was tired of waking up feeling like death every day,” he said.
Megan said her experience with marijuana and alcohol began when she was in middle school, and as time went on, she began using heroin and cocaine. From there, Megan said, she became homeless, was arrested and sent to jail and lost custody of her four-year-old daughter.
“I didn’t have any friends in the end,” she said.
Megan also spoke about how her addiction impacted her ability to be employed. “I lost every job – my resume is super long, but in a bad way,” she said.
In the seven years that have passed, Megan has accepted recovery services and was able to get her daughter back.
However, she said the recovery process is anything but easy. “Life just doesn’t magically get better,” she said.
Zack also began using drugs and alcohol when he was in middle school, and his habit snowballed from there. “When I got into high school it was my number one priority,” he said. Zack said he continued using drugs and alcohol while he was in college and was arrested at the age of 22 before going into recovery nine years ago.
Addiction did not find Ryan until he was in college when he found himself suffering from depression and anxiety. “Night after night, I just got blackout drunk,” he said. “I did start to worry that I would die very young. I would wake up and my organs would be killing me.”
Ryan has now been sober for the past four years and said he was able to refocus his life on the things that truly matter. “You find your passion again,” he said.