Anonymous People Film Opens in New York
Last week, the film Anonymous People opened in New York theaters. The film, which chronicles the New Recovery Advocacy Movement, is the creation of Greg Williams, who is in long-term recovery himself. The project was led by Faces and Voices of Recovery, an advocacy organization focused on gaining resources to help those in recovery and ending the stigma associated with addiction.
One of the film’s main purposes is to remove the shame from addiction by sharing the stories of people in long-term recovery. The film asserts that there are “23 million Americans in active recovery,” which is over 5 percent of the population (Lavitt, 2014).
Despite the criticism surrounding advocacy groups—which, in nature, forgo the Eleventh Step of Twelve Step philosophy by eliminating anonymity—Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), advocated to the Congressional Special Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics. Wilson’s act bolsters the notion that the New Recovery Advocacy Movement is a natural evolution of the Twelve Step movement, although some say otherwise.
Anonymous People depicts the recovery community’s motivation to change the way addiction is viewed, to be of service to their community, and to reform politics and health care to better serve the addicted population. Tom Coderre, the chief of staff of the Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed and former national field director for Faces and Voices of Recovery, put it this way: “If we as a recovery community want to be seen as a true constituency of consequence and really change the equation, we must become more sophisticated in our approach. As Cesar Chavez often said, ‘Be the pebble in their shoe.’ We must raise money, hire the best consultants and lobbyists, run people for office, recruit from our ranks celebrities and musicians and do something really big to raise the consciousness of America” (Lavitt, 2014).
Lavitt, J. (2014). A language of empowerment. The Fix. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/content/language-empowerment