“The Anonymous People” and the Public Recovery Movement

Many in recovery from substance abuse and other addictions choose anonymity, often participating in 12-step “Anonymous”-type programs. But a new documentary called The Anonymous People focuses on something called The New Recovery Advocacy Movement, an alternative to this more traditional approach.

What is this Recovery Advocacy Movement about? Some key “core and evolving messages,” taken from the Faces & Voices of Recovery website, include recognizing various pathways to recovery, having supportive communities, seeing recovery as a voluntary process, and becoming part of the solution in communities.

The feature documentary film The Anonymous People attempts to destigmatize people with addiction. From the film’s website: “The moving story of The Anonymous People is told through the faces and voices of citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, public figures, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement aims to transform public opinion, engage communities and elected officials, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting solutions.”

Greg Williams, age 28, is the creator of The Anonymous People and is reportedly himself at least 11 years sober from multiple substances. No longer “Greg W.”, he’s now fully out. Why? He’s on a mission to reduce the stigma attached to addiction and recovery.

From an article at Juvenile Justice: “[Williams] hopes the movie alters perceptions and leads to deep changes in how experts look at finding a solution.” This includes looking at the way addiction affects society’s institutions, e.g., public health and criminal justice.

Watch the trailer below:

Shehan Karunaratne, Nova Recovery Center, lists three things viewers may want to consider after seeing The Anonymous People:

  1. The battle against addiction stigma isn’t over yet.
  2. Coming out of the shadows is important for personal recovery and to help others.
  3. Community is the backbone of recovery.
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