The Anonymous People Dallas Premiere
If you look closely at this picture, you’ll read this tag, “Recovery is Out — To Change the Addiction Conversation From — Problems to Solutions.
Last Thursday night, I finally met one of my heroes, Greg Williams, the producer behind the groundbreaking documentary, The Anonymous People. He was in town for the Dallas premiere of the film that was shown to an enthusiastic crowd of 250 or more.
Greg and I began talking last summer when the movie was in its Kickstarter fundraising phase ($45K was the goal and more than $70K was raised thanks to 272 backers).
A new pair of glasses
Months ago, Greg explained to me that the ingrained silence within the 12-step recovery community is a huge contributing factor to the social stigma facing the 23.5 million Americans in recovery. I quickly began to see how many people take a blind misinterpretation of AA’s tradition of anonymity. I quickly understood that silence within the public arena about our addictions–my addiction–would continue to serve as a barrier to quality treatment opportunities.
As the Kickstarter page reads, “The vacuum created by this silence has been filled by sensational mass media depictions of addiction that continue to perpetuate a lurid public fascination with the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition.
“Just like women with breast cancer, or people with HIV/AIDS, courageous addiction recovery advocates are starting to come out of the shadows to tell their true stories,” Kickstarter explains.
More and more people are talking about the positive effects of recovery. They are standing with me when I say publicly, “My name is Beth Wilson and I’m a person in long-term recovery. For me, that means I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in 22 years. Recovery has given me the gift of a new life.”
The Dallas premiere
Just before the film rolled in Dallas, Greg gave me a big hug and an ear-to-ear grin. “It’s so good to finally meet you in person,” he said. “Thanks for helping to make this thing happen.”
Humble words from this 29-year-old movie-maker who found sobriety at 17. His eyes shone brightly with a touch of weariness. Dallas was his first out-of-town premiere; it was first shown in his home state of Connecticut the previous Saturday night.
Greg confessed that he only finished editing the movie on Friday night. Then, of course, the tragedy at the Boston Marathon occurred on Monday, locking up the emotions of New Englanders. Perhaps more than anyone, people in recovery know that being in the presence of their brothers and sisters is the soothing balm that helps the show go on.
The show MUST go on
As you might imagine, The Anonymous People has detractors. Greg fairly regularly gets publicly lambasted from a rigid 12-step group member. I particularly like his response to a recent tirade on Facebook:
“It is comments like these that make me proud to have made this film. This hour 15 people will die from addiction. 150,000 this year. 6.9 Million people in our criminal justice system – 80% because of addiction. $350 Billion of our tax dollars wasted. This film is a totally separate and outside issue to Alcoholics Anonymous…it is about citizenship and social responsibility.
“I appreciate your concerns and that is why I hope this film will educate the recovery community, because it is in no way in conflict with traditions of 12-steps to advocate.”
Greg then suggests to the writer that he check out this link: http://www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/pdf/Advocacy_Toolkit/advocacy_anonymity.pdf.
Congratulations, Greg, and all the other contributors and backers of The Anonymous People. I’m proud to stand next to you.
For a schedule of The Anonymous People showings click here.