SOBER SESSION: “Arrow” and the alcohol arc

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Low budget and laughable visual effects aside, Arrow is an incredibly strong show, providing viewers with deep, emotional characters, a healthy dose of action, and plenty of morally trying situations.

We’ll get to the alcoholism, but first, meet Laurel

Enter Laurel Lance, the character who’s just completely been through the ringer. Her backstory alone is morbid enough: five years prior to the series premiere, Laurel’s then-boyfriend (main character Oliver Queen) is presumed dead when his father’s boat drowns in the middle of the ocean. Her younger sister Sara is also presumed dead because it turns out that Oliver wasn’t the faithful boyfriend he appeared to be and brought her with him on this disastrous voyage. So in one adulterous blink of an eye, Laurel lost her boyfriend and her sister.

Fast-forward five years and it turns out Oliver’s actually alive and manages to return home after being stranded on an island for all those years. So, for the entirety of season one, Laurel is everyone’s least-liked character, parading around all self-righteous and indignant that her cheating ex-boyfriend is alive and her sister isn’t.

But, poor girl, in the season 1 finale, after finally being on okay terms with Oliver again, her new boyfriend, Tommy (who, coincidentally, is Oliver’s best friend), is tragically killed in a terrorist attack on the poverty-stricken part of their home of Starling City.

Hitting the bottle to hide from the hurt

Season 2 has shown Laurel’s quick descent to rock bottom. She begins to self-medicate on alcohol and pills, and whoever try to help her be damned. While some people would think losing her job to her dependency would be a wake-up call, it only drove Laurel further into the ground.

Alcoholism is a serious problem not meant to be taken lightly, and I truly commend Arrow for the way it highlights the longevity of coping with both the disease and also the recovery process. Laurel’s alcoholic tendencies did not begin and end in one forty-eight minute episode. Instead, the show has made her struggle with self-medication a consistent sub-plot throughout the season. Bravo, Arrow for not downplaying the seriousness of dependency.

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