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Pat Taylor & Greg Williams


Changing the Conversation to Addiction Recovery Solutions

February 20, 2014 | Addiction Treatment | Comments
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the anonymous people film
Conference ’14 Film Festival features documentary on addictions recovery and the film’s impact on addiction recovery solutions.

Taking its place alongside Mariel Hemingway’s Running From Crazy and Hidden Pictures, by award-winning filmmaker and physician Delaney Ruston, The Anonymous People joins the prestigious 2014 National Council Film Festival lineup during the National Council Conference. This feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans in long-term recovery showcases that long-term recovery from addiction is not only possible, but the best kept secret of our time.

The movie is really making a difference in the real world. Recently, a person who watched the film wrote us to say, “This film revolutionized my city,” after her community screened it three times in a month.

The film investigates the long and rich history of the addiction recovery movement to the present day — highlighting the engagement of people from all walks of life uniting to share the message that recovery benefits families, communities, and our society.

Standing up and speaking out about recovery is at the heart of The Anonymous People story. Until now, many Americans in recovery and their families have chosen to remain anonymous or to hide their recovery from the wider community. They often fear and have experienced repercussions from “coming out” to employers, educators, church leaders, and even family members. Truly, they face discrimination similar to those who bravely shared their stories about HIV/AIDS or breast cancer in previous decades.

The truth is that when people get the help they need to recover, their new lives benefit everyone, according to a recent Faces & Voices of Recovery survey. They are no longer a drain on society because they get jobs, pay taxes, purchase goods and services, and give back to their communities.

Telling this story isn’t always easy given the shame-centered words often used to talk about people with addiction. But, the recovery story is too good not to tell. Faces & Voices of Recovery developed the “Our Stories Have Power” Messaging Training to help people tell their recovery stories so that others can understand what it means to get well and get your life back on track. The language that people in recovery and their family members use to introduce themselves in public is critical to advancing advocacy and education efforts. For example, when sharing recovery stories in public forums and with policy makers, Faces & Voices encourages identifying oneself as a person in long-term recovery or a family member of someone in recovery and staying away from stigma loaded words, like alcoholic and drug addict. The focus is on how a person’s life has changed as a result of entering recovery.

The Anonymous People has screened in hundreds of locations across the U.S., Canada, and several other countries. More than 50,000 people have watched the film already and most respond with the same question, “What can I do to help?”

In response, Greg Williams and Faces & Voices launched, a multi-faceted campaign that mobilizes people in recovery, along with their families and supporters. The site houses a library of personal videos that profile individuals who have chosen to speak publicly about their recovery and why. These stories are part of the growing platform that is building the New Recovery Advocacy Movement.