Lessons from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

Me and the kids are watching Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for movie night. I like this version about as equally as the 1971 Gene Wilder classic, which we watched a few weeks ago.

That viewing actually inspired me to write down a post. I’m rewriting it here, because I’m having the same reaction to the newer film as I did the old one…

The author watched Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the first time since cleaning up from a binge eating disorder. What a trip.

Yesterday the rain was coming down sideways, so the Brenner clan decided to put in a DVD of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It’s still a great movie, but since my main troubles with addictive behavior stem from flour and sugar, which I gave up on Oct. 1, 2008, watching it this time was kind of weird.

Weird because I didn’t sneak out of the house afterward to buy $20 worth of candy to stuff down my throat on the 3-minute drive from the gas station back to the house. I just went to fill the cars with gas and buy a loaf of bread and some Red Bull.

The scene in the film which best fits a mind unhinged is where they are traveling the chocolate river on a boat:

Looking at the characters in the movie really reminded me of the multiple personalities I can have as an addict. Those kids were punks as individuals and got what they deserved.

Now, for a little fun, let’s squish them all into one, multi-personality monster and see what we get. By the time we finish, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what one person is like when their addictions run wild.

Charlie Bucket: This is the good side of the soul, the part that wants to be honest and do the right thing. For me, this side won out in the end — well, for now, at least — but being the quiet, well-behaved kid, he’s always in danger of being pushed to the back of the line by these wretched children:

Violet Beauregarde: The third kid to find one of Wonka’s elusive Golden Tickets, this little scamp is a compulsive gum chewer. That compulsion gets the better of her and she blows up into a giant blueberry. Been there, done that.

Augustus Gloop: The Deadly Sin of Gluttony personified, this poor kid is encouraged to eat like a slob by his parents, who are just as devoted to their own binging habits. Hell, his old man eats the top of a microphone and doesn’t seem to notice. The kid takes it too far by shoving his bloated face in Wonka’s chocolate river.

Mike Teavee: I know this kid. He lives for TV, especially the violent programs where a lot of bullets are flying. His parents sit there and let him indulge. Now blend him with Augustus and Violet and you get a kid who sits in front of the tube shoving all kinds of junk down his throat.

Veruca Salt: This kid is so selfish and mean that you want to spill tears of joy when she goes down the garbage chute with the rest of the rotten eggs. I like to think of her as the glue that holds the rest of the beast together. The other kids make up the guts of the poor soul who is owned by his or her addictions. Veruca is the skin.

What makes the movie so great is that Charlie comes out on top. It’s a dream of most people to have the good triumph over evil.

In this movie it does.

In my own life, it has.

But I have to be on guard at all times because, contrary to what Wonka says at the end of the movie, the guy who gets everything he wants DOES NOT live happily ever after.

You’re always seconds away from letting Veruca or Violet back out.

The good news is that if you are truly serious about being well, there’s no shortage of loving souls who will stick with you and keep you on the path to Heaven.

You might loop back through Hell a few times along the way, but you’ll end up in the better place if you keep working at it.


3 thoughts on “Lessons from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Precious Boy | THE OCD DIARIES

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