Exciting things are happening in the recovery world, and my non-profit, Shining Strong, is honored to be part of a new movement that is changing the conversation around addiction and recovery.
Before I say more, if you haven't seen the trailer for the new documentary, The Anonymous People, please take three minutes to watch it here:
I want to say something right up front: history has proven that change - real, meaningful social and economic change - involves uncomfortable conversations. To effect change, we have to look closely at the ways things are today.
This film may make some people uncomfortable. If it does, that means it is working. As an active member of a twelve-step recovery program, I am very familiar with the traditions that have anonymity as a core concept. I support anonymity as a core concept of this program.
But nowhere in this program or its traditions does it say that I cannot speak my truths as a person in recovery. It doesn't say anywhere in the literature or traditions that I can't tell people about how the gifts of recovery, how it makes me a better person, mother, sister, friend, and member of society.
This recovery movement and twelve step traditions can - and do - work together. This is not an "either/or" situation. We're all in this to help the sick and suffering addict/alcoholic. We are doing this without breaking any traditions, because we are not out there representing ourselves as members of a program. We are simply sharing our own experience, strength and hope as people in recovery.
If we step out and celebrate recovery - educate the world on what our lives are like now, and the are tens of millions of us - we can change the way people view addiction.
Everyone knows about the ravages of addiction. You can't open a magazine or watch a reality show or a news broadcast without seeing some example of what addiction does to lives. We don't need any more press telling the world about the awful things that happen in addicts' lives and the people who love them.
We need voices to step out into the light and share what a recovering life is like How we strive to live authentically, honestly and compassionately. How we become productive members of society - leaders, artists, parents, friends and family members. How in order to get well, we have to be able to ask for help. If we are living in shame and secrecy we stay stuck and addicted.
The Anonymous People is a film about this very movement -a recovery movement. It is helping people all across the country (and world) look at recovery in a new way. Not a shameful way, but a celebration of all we can be when we are living a present life.
When I'm at a party and someone offers me a drink and I say, "No thanks, I don't drink because I'm an alcoholic", I feel a stab of shame. The other person has no idea what to say, having their own impressions of what an alcoholic is - a stereotype. If I say "No thanks, I don't drink because I'm in recovery" ... I get an entirely different response. The other person usually says, "Really? Good for you?" And then they ask me questions - they want to know more about what it means to be in recovery. Nobody has ever asked me what being an alcoholic is like, because everyone feels they already know, thanks to all the media hype and long-standing stigma.
I am proud to be in recovery. I know the power of voice, of community, how it busts down silence and fear and heals people from shame. The Anonymous People is game-changing; educating the world not about addiction, but about recovery.
Shining Strong is proud to be hosting a showing of The Anonymous People in West, Newton, MA on September 19th at 7:30pm. We are beyond excited that this show is almost sold out (only 19 tickets left as of the writing of this post). People in and out of recovery are hungry to learn more, and it's not surprising: 2/3 of the American population is impacted by addiction directly or indirectly. BUT - and this is important - many millions of people are also impacted by RECOVERY.
If you live anywhere in the Boston area and want to go to The Anonymous People, you can purchase your $10 ticket by clicking here. The theater is right off Rte 95, easy to get to. Come - I'll be there. Introduce yourself and experience this movement first hand. Learn how you can get more involved. We're going amazing places.
And I have TEN TICKETS to give away!! If you would like one of these tickets (one per person, please) all you need to do is spread the word about this film - either by sharing this post, or posting about The Anonymous People's website (www.theanonymouspeople.com) or their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheAnonymousPeopleMovie. Then leave a comment that you shared and where you shared, and if you're comfortable leaving your email we will email you your ticket (an e-ticket). If you'd rather not share your email in a comment, you can email me at email@example.com (after you commented) and tell me which commenter you are and I'll email you back your ticket. The first ten commenters will get a free ticket!
And if you're going, THANK YOU. You are part of something important. And please find me and say hello! I will be there along with the other board members of Shining Strong, the lovely Amanda and Lisa.
If you don't want to go to the film (or can't ) you can find out more about how to go to (or create) a screening in your area by going to The Anonymous People's website (or clicking here).
One final note... the creator of this film - the amazing Greg Williams - will be a guest on The Bubble Hour on September 8th at 9pm EST, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain and 6pm Pacific. Tune in to learn more!