He asks for a dollar, you know what it's for
Man, bottle after bottle, he always needs more
He’ll drink without stopping, likely until he passes out—the implication being that Johnny Ryall is a chronic alcoholic, and even entire bottles of booze do not satiate his cravings. In the 12-Step fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, members will remind each other how insidious the disease of addiction really is. Cunning and baffling, addiction will convince a person s/he has the ability to stop after one drink. Those who choose to work a program of recovery remain vigilant, reminding each other how the paths of sobriety vs. relapse diverge at that first drink. Addicts have found it helpful to recall the adage:
One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough…
In spite of the humorous nature of the song, Beastie Boys were sensitive to the perils of addiction, having lost both friends and family to the disease. Licensed to Ill was dedicated to Adam Horovitz’s mother, Doris Keefe, who died of causes related to alcoholism. And one of the Beastie Boys' closest friends, David Scilken, died in 1991 of a drug overdose.
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