|From left to right. William C. Moyers, Jonothan Lofgren, Dan Griffen, Bethany Otuteye, and director Greg Williams.|
There is so much to say about this movie, that I cannot do it justice. Greg Williams did a beautiful job, and the messages are clear. We need to stop treating people with a chronic health issue, as criminals. It isn't humane, it costs our country billions of dollars, and it doesn't make sense. The public belief about what addiction is needs to change, and the way to change this is to be willing to, if WE can, tell our stories without shame, so that we can be proof that treatment works. Recovery works. There are 23 million of us. All roads to recovery are different, just like all roads to recovery for any disease are different. No two people are the same.
|Left to right. Yours truly, Deb and Dee.|
Here is my hope for an important film like this. I believe it could change people's minds about addiction diseases. In the 300 seat theater last night, for a special screening, most folks there were in recovery, work in recovery fields, or touched by recovery. Of course WE want to see this film. But Greg made a movie that the REST of you that need to see. Because it is the public perception of this DISEASE that needs to change, for treatment to become available. For criminalizing to stop.
Some of you might not believe that this is a disease. You may find it hard to understand that when I use (as Greg Williams said something along this line in the movie) one drug or drink, my old brain takes over in a way that I can't stop using (well, he didn't say exactly that). And unless I get some help, my family suffers, I suffer, I stop contributing to society, I start to hurt people. I steal, I lie, I do fucked-up shit. If you can't believe that, this film will make you consider that what we are saying is true. And if you don't want to believe that, THEN GO SEE THIS MOVIE.
Recovery services are available to some of us, and I was able to go to one of the BEST treatment centers around, when I wanted to, because I had good insurance AND people were willing to give me money for the remaining co-pay. So instead of getting caught and put in jail, I was put on the road to recovery. Not everyone, especially "drug addicts," have people like I did, in their lives. I got the help I needed. But not everyone is so lucky. And that has to do with the stigma and shame of the disease. So we need to start talking about how recovery has worked in our lives, and change the minds of people who look down on us.
So when this movie is released, and it comes to your town, do yourself (and America) a favor and go see it. Even and especially if you have not been touched by this disease (which really, who hasn't?) It is respectful, truthful, and exciting. It is a movie for all of us, recovering or not. I learned a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know, and it made me feel more certain that I am on the right path, doing the right thing by sharing my story. And I still have a SHIT TON still to learn about how I do that.
And until then, I have decided I need to get more involved. So I filled out the volunteer form online for the Minnesota Recovery Connection. And hopefully, they can use me. There are other organizations that are out there who also help reduce stigma, educate, work on public policy, etc., so help can become easier to access. I have a list of them to the right. If you think I should add one, let me know. But check them out. And help where you can, if you can.
I probably will have more to say about this.