For the last few days, The Anonymous People has been opening in select cities around America. This new documentary wants to focus on the nearly 23.5 million people currently living in recovery. The filmmaker’s goals are to change the discussion of addiction from one about problems to one about solutions, asking a bold question: “Why don’t we treat addiction in this country like any other health issue?”
Breaking From the AA Tradition?
While remaining anonymous and living in recovery apart from the public eye has been the accepted standard of most in A.A., this documentary is deliberately seeking to develop a new movement where people speak publicly about their illness and recovery in order to raise awareness around addiction—similar to breast or pancreatic cancer.
For several years, the filmmakers captured footage of those in recovery willing to share their stories in order to advocate for recovery awareness. Famous individuals like Kristen Johnston, Laurie Dhue as well as average Joes in recovery are going public with their disease and their life in recovery.
Through plenty of personal stories and shocking facts, the filmmakers make their case for why they want to bring recovery into the public’s eye.
Why Go Public with Recovery?
The reasons the filmmakers have chosen to go public is to attract the attention of tax dollars. The film’s website states: “lasting addiction recovery solutions have been found, but the most credible faces and voices to support these solutions have been hidden for decades.” Now, they are calling those millions of people to come out from the shadows and to advocate for the support of treatment programs to help those who are addicted.
As addiction comes out from the shadows, they claim, our society will be able to better deal with the issue of addiction. Finally we will be able to make progress in providing help on a broader scale to those struggling with addiction through increased funding for treatment, instead of just repeatedly sending addicts to jail.
Another reason they are encouraging those in recovery to go public is to break the stigma of addiction. While many in recovery have stayed silent about their addiction to avoid public shame or for fear of missing out on employment opportunities, this film aims to put real faces to the issue of addiction in an attempt to break through the stigma that has for so long accompanied addiction.