Alcohol Usage


Every year over one hundred thousand people in the United States die as a result of alcohol usage. As a whole America contains roughly 14 million people diagnosed with alcoholism, which means about 1 in every thirteen adults, the people leading our nation, abuse alcohol privileges. This disease is slowly taking over, poisoning one home after another. In fact, one out of every four American households is touched by an alcohol related problem every year. Victims, and there loved ones, know hands on what itís like to deal with a problem of this severity. Its noted that majority of recovering alcoholics have stated that with out family support and tolerance it would have been a nearly impossible battle to recovery. Love and affection is considerably the most important treatment for fighting this disease. Itís often an eye opening experience that enables a person, as well as their family, to look at their life and decide for themselves what is important and what can be left behind. Sadly if alcohol canít be left behind then chances are the rest of their life will be. Billy Lynch an alcoholic, in the novel Charming Billy, by Alice McDermott, can in ways be considered an exception to this widely accepted theory. The name Billy, derived from William, means protector, and thatís exactly what Billy Lynch was, a protector of love, laughter, and life. Ironically this savior of pursuing happiness and living life to the fullest was not around long enough to spread his outlook of his morals much beyond his family and friends. As strong of a man as he was, he allowed alcoholism to out fight him and Billy was slowly defeated by the disease that eventually drove him to death. Although Billy is physically gone he was the type of person that will never be forgotten and a piece of him remains with all his loved ones, especially his wife Maeve.


The story of Billy Lynch is told after his death. The novel begins in a small bar-and-grill with Maeve calmly sitting by herself staring out the desolate window. Tears are slowly rolling down her cheeks as she patiently waits for everyone who knew and cared about Billy to continuously stream in. One after another people were giving their deepest sympathies to Maeve then took their seats. Billy was the type of person who everyone had a story about, even if they had only met him once or twice. He was the ďfriend of a friendĒ that was always being talked about.


Funerals are often associated with an overwhelming amount of sorrow and despair that blankets over the whole day. When initially thought about, the celebration of a death seems disrespectful, when in reality it is an emotional way of letting go, while trying to hold on. At Billyís funeral, on that day, with out a doubt there was a thick layer of remorse coating the air, however at the same time the people who will miss him the most could not help but smile when looking back on some of the memories they have with Billy.


Throughout the novel a number of Billyís friends and family look back on memories and events that took place in Billyís life, sharing all their stories. All the clips of his life, that were being talked about, mold together to give the reader a picture of what he looked like, acted like, and most importantly what he did during his life to create such a strong personality and, on the down side, the addiction to alcohol.


At this gathering to honor Billy a secret was let loose that helped to shape the whole novel. When Billy was a young man he fell completely in love with a beautiful Irish girl named Eva. He met this girl in Ireland and loved everything about her. When returning to the states he promised that he would save up enough money to send back for her. They wrote back and forth until finally Billy sent the only money he had over to Eva so she could come be his wife. For a while he hadnít gotten any letters responding to the money sent over. He began to worry and question if Eva got