The movie expresses an important message about the effects of alcoholism upon the family, while rendering a strong portrayal of the disease as exactly that--a disease. As the narrative plays out, it is difficult not to become engrossed with how passionately, sincerely and genuinely Michael cares about his wife, Alice. His true love for her is apparent in every scene--patiently coping as best he can with the recklessness of her consistent drunkenness. The hard part comes when she returns home after rehab. She's clean, she's sober and she can now clearly see just how destructive her behavior has been upon her marriage and her children. The truth is, she is embarrassed by it and takes it out on Michael. This is why she feels so much more comfortable around her "group" friends than her own husband who is doing everything he possibly can to be a supportive and loving husband. The story shows Alice's resentment towards Michael for not being able to understand her sickness, while she makes no efforts whatsoever to at least meet him halfway and understand the pain, the panic and the utter crisis he has had to endure as a result of her addiction. Alice's behavior sends the unmistakable message to Michael that she needs everybody--except him. She pulls away from his gestures of affection, yet has no problem clinging to the same gestures from her "group" friends, one of which, Gary, whom Michael returns home to find reclining back with his feet up and shoes off, next to Alice in their home. Though Alice attacks Michael's reaction, she is totally out of touch as to just how inappropriate and disrespectful this whole scene with Gary was to her own husband. Step by step, she pulls away. This is deeply hurtful to him considering the layers and layers of sacrifices he has made to hold their family (including her daughter from a previous relationship) from falling apart. Regardless of the intent of the storyline, Michael is the hero of this story, hands down and no other character could portray the lengths ANY husband would go when a man truly loves a woman!