News: Rum and Vodka, a taste of what can happen
Story by Pfc. David Walters
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines and sailors grade E-5 and below assembled at the station Sakura Theater aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni for the Rum and Vodka interactive presentation, put on by Bryan L. Doerries and Brendan Griffin, May 13, 2013.
Doerries, Artistic Director of Outside the Wire, based out of Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted Rum and Vodka. It was comprised of a play performed by Griffin, stories from active-duty Marines and Marine Corps Community Services employees and concluded with an interactive question-and-answer period, where attendees shared their own stories and experiences.
“Outside the Wire is a social-impact company that uses theater as a tool for addressing public-health issues like alcoholism, psychological injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and impact of war on families,” said Doerries.
Doerries started his business in 2006 with his first project, Theater of War, performing shows at military bases and posts. From that project's success stemmed Rum and Vodka.
“I started my company out of a desire to do something as a civilian of great service for people who serve our country,” said Doerries. “My background is in theater, and I got it in my head that I could do something to help by using plays.”
He sees and recognizes problems within the military such as substance abuse, and wants to give service members a way to recognize inner problems themselves and allow those who need help to take that first step toward a new life.
“If I had one word to describe the project, and what we do, it’s permission,” said Doerries. “Permission to speak the truth of one’s experience and have the courage to do that, permission to have a conversation that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn't performed the play, permission to take on the most challenging aspects of this issue, argue about it, and permission to change your life and take action.
Sergeant Major Peter Ferral, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron sergeant major, spoke after the presentation on how Marines can mitigate substance abuse by using the Marine Corps leadership principles. He focused on two of the 11 principles- ‘Know yourself and seek self-improvement’ and ‘know your Marines and look out for their welfare.’
“We have a moral responsibility to help each other, civilians to military and Marines to Marines,” said Doerries.
Lance Cpl. Todd F. Michalek, station combat cameraman, attended the Rum-and-Vodka interactive presentation.
“I thought it was excellent. This wasn’t one of those briefs, classes or (Periods of Military Education) where they tell you drinking is bad,” said Michalek. “It was more of a discussion and I really appreciated that aspect of it.”
Throughout the stories told by Marines and MCCS employees, one thing stood out to Michalek.
“It’s not only the person who is suffering from the addiction, it’s everyone around them,” said Michalek. “I thought it was really interesting to hear that if you are in a relationship with somebody and you are a suffering addict, then the person who is not suffering from the addiction is a victim.”
Doerries stated his intent for the play is to help people find a sense of responsibility in caring for one’s self and loved ones you care for.
“The play is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” said Doerries.
For more information on assistance with substance abuse, contact Heather Payne at 253-4526, at the Substance Abuse Counseling Center, building 411, room 219. Hours are Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Counseling is open to dependents and civilians, as well as active duty service members.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings take place aboard station Tuesday, 6-7 p.m., and Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at Yujo Hall.