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Blue Pills in a Martini Glass to Represent the Influence of Alcohol – Huh?

blue pills

The short answer:

Yes. Because analogies are a very effective way to use an existing understanding to teach a new one. And I see the red pill-blue pill story line in The Matrix movie as a close parallel to the influence alcohol has on the world.


The longer answer:

First off, let me give you a little background.


It’s worth mentioning that I’m a huge fan of teaching and learning thru storytelling. I like fiction and nonfiction. I like books and articles. I like movies and documentaries. And I’m not partial to any particular type of storytelling. As long as it’s well-done, I can enjoy a western and a sci-fi story as much as a romance or a comedy or even a song.


I get really excited when a story takes me on an enjoyable ride that I didn’t expect.  And I get super excited when I learn something along the way that I didn’t expect.


Which brings me to the experience that first introduced me to the red pill-blue pill concept – it was when I went to see The Matrix movie when it was first released in theaters in 1999.


To be honest, I was drawn to see it after watching the previews of gravity-defying action and cool clothes. But after I saw it, I was like: ‘Whoa-Ohhh.’ So I called my best buddy, Ray and said: ‘Stop what you’re doing and go right now to see The Matrix!’ To which he replied: ‘I can’t right now. I’m at work.’ And I replied: ‘Shut Up! Go right now!’ Then I hung up on him.


Although my buddy didn’t follow my funny demand that evening, he did see The Matrix eventually, and he agreed it was very good.


But for me, there was something more to The Matrix story than the super-special-effects and sunglasses-at-night that I just couldn’t put my finger on at the time.   


I mean, I knew it was movie-making-fantasy to portray the human experience as an illusion programmed by machines that birthed us into bondage to use our mental energy for fuel, but I loved it anyway.


And as much as I enjoyed everything about the movie the Wachowski’s created, it wasn’t until I struggled to figure out my drinking-related frustrations that their movie helped me make sense about how and why the influence of alcohol affected my life story (and sooo many others – in very-very similar ways) since birth.


So now that you have the background about what inspired my use of blue pills and red pills to describe the influence of alcohol, let’s keep moving and I’ll tell you the specifics.


Wikipedia defines the red pill and blue pill as ‘a choice between revealing an unpleasant or otherwise life-changing truth, represented by the red pill, and remaining in blissful ignorance, represented by the blue pill’.


This was an important and comforting definition for me to often reference, read and re-read when I was first trying to maintain my abstinence from alcohol.


Important, because when I thought of alcohol as glass full of blue pills, it made sense that I simply ingested something that progressively distorted my view of myself and everything around me into blissful ignorance; and when I thought of abstinence as a glass full of red pills, it made sense to me why I was so scared of what it would mean to always face the truth in life without being able to take the edge off by drinking ever again.


Comforting, because by the time I had accepted that I couldn’t drink anymore and was trying to maintain it with like-minded books and people, their blame of alcohol as poison and their judgement of people that drank as ‘less than’ did not leave room in my heart for loved ones that could drink without a problem or the great memories I had about my own drinking experiences earlier in my life. 


So, basically, by relating the red pill-blue pill concept to alcohol, I was able to see that I either took more blue pills than my loved ones (or I was allergic to begin with) and that caused me to slip into a trance-like state of living; therefore, it made sense for me to just drop the blue pills so I could get back to living in ‘the real world’ without blame or judgment for anyone that continued to enjoy drinking.     


The red pill (truth)-blue pill (trance) concept also allowed me to see liquor store signs, the beer and wine aisle in the grocery store, alcohol advertisements, the glamorous-looking hotel and restaurant bars, etc., etc., etc. simply as a blue pill option for people that desired a blissfully ignorant (Matrix-like) experience now and then. 


Ahhh…such a lighter way (no blame, no judgment) of looking at the alcohol companies and consumers – right?! 


On a more serious note, alcohol is slippery, and addiction is devastating, but blame and judgment don’t really help anyone to see the road signs or avoid the trajectory of the baffling affect alcohol can have on anyone. 


Thanks for reading. I hope I answered your question about why I use red pills and blue pills in martini glasses to represent the influence of alcohol.  And I hope you feel a little less blame-y and judge-y about it too.


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