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The Anonymous People (2013)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 132 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 3 critic

Recovery is OUT - to change the addiction conversation from problems to SOLUTIONS. An independent feature documentary about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions.

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Credited cast:
Tom Coderre ...
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Laurie Dhue ...
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Don Fertman ...
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Chris Herren ...
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Patrick Kennedy ...
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William Cope Moyers ...
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Jim Ramstad ...
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Bill White ...
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Storyline

Deeply entrenched social stigma have kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. 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, a grass roots social justice movement is emerging. Courageous addiction recovery advocates have come out of the shadows and are organizing to end discrimination and move toward recovery-based solutions. The moving story of The Anonymous People is told through the faces and voices of the citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and public figures who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. This passionate new public recovery movement is fueling a changing conversation that aims to transform public opinion, and finally shift problematic policy toward ... Written by Greg Williams

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Call to Action
29 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie needs to be seen by all those in recovery or who love someone in recovery. The truth of the film is this. We live in a nation that stigmatizes addiction as a problem of will power, a moral failing. Policies at the state and federal level reflect our collective disdain for the addict, preventing addicts and alcoholics from getting treatment they need, and criminalizing their behavior. The film points to strides made in the 60s and 70s to medically classify addiction being undermined by the war on drugs and slashing of mental health and addition treatment. It is true that a person needing access to help, long term help, is not able to find it quickly and the help they receive is not generally found to sustain long term recovery. As a recovered person, in long term recovery, I understand the need for sustained, continued treatment and support. The film does an excellent job of drawing out these shortcomings in our system and postulating that if recovered people come together, as an interest group, we will have more power to effect change within the system. We cannot continue incarcerating the problem away. We need to recognize addiction as an illness, and work to find a comprehensive cure.

As for the 12th tradition, the film points to our culture of anonymity as being a road block to collective action with the 12 step communities. It is successful in creating its argument and solidifying the need for collective action to help those still struggling or stuck in the revolving door of prison and drug abuse. It is up to recovered people to speak out because no one speaks for us. The film does not debase the great work of 12 step programs and the roll they play. It does not call on the GSO to throw our our traditions and become a lobbying organization. It asks individual recovered folks to take a second look at the service in their own program and ask, "can I do more?" For this recovered drunk I must say, "yes, I can". I am filled with gratitude that this lack of representation was brought to my attention and if I truly believe myself to be one with my fellows, then I must stand up for those who are disenfranchised, stuck and without help, and demand my government and society to recognize us as a block of people who deserve services and compassion just like any other person with a disease. I'm moved to action, and that was the basis of the film, much like the 12th step. My work is not yet done, my service to others can be taken to a state and national scale. Go see it!!!


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