The Anonymous People: A Must See For People in Recovery
You may have heard of The Anonymous People. It’s a documentary film that came out in late 2013 and has been causing some ripples in the recovery community.
People, both in recovery and not, are pretty divided about it. They seem to love it or hate it. Consider, for example, The Anonymous People holds a 43% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Or that it’s been critically panned by major media outlets.
On the other hand, The Anonymous People has more than succeeded at its goal – to get people talking about both addiction and recovery. The group that made the film, Faces & Voices of Recovery has seen a dramatic increase in support of their causes.
So, what is The Anonymous People all about? Is it a heroic example of those in long-term recovery breaking the chain of silence? Is it a poorly executed documentary film? Is it both at once? Let’s find out.
The Anonymous People: The Truth Behind the Film
The Anonymous People is a project from MANYFACES1VOICE. MANYFACES1VOICE, in turn, is a project of Faces & Voices of Recovery. I’ll explore Faces & Voices of Recovery, and the wonderful work they’re doing, later.
The Anonymous People began as a Kickstarter project way back in 2012. It quickly surpassed its modest $45,000 goal. In fact, by the time their Kickstarter ended, they’d raised upwards of $70,000.
The goal of The Anonymous People was to document some of the over twenty-three million Americans in long-term recovery. They achieved this goal and then some! To quote their literature –
“Just like women with breast cancer or people with HIV/AIDS, courageous addiction recovery advocates are starting to come out of the shadows to tell their true stories…This passionate new public recovery movement is fueling a changing conversation that aims to transform public opinion and finally, shift problematic policy toward lasting recovery solutions” (The Anonymous People).
The Anonymous People: The Movie that Broke Anonymity
One of the criticisms most often leveled against The Anonymous People is that those in the film are breaking their anonymity.
Much like the steps, twelve-step fellowships also have traditions. Tradition number eleven reads, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”
Many people have accused The Anonymous People of breaking this tradition and even profiting from members’ anonymity. This is where things get controversial.
Does The Anonymous People break the anonymity of those in the film? I’m not so sure. First, not once does anyone refer to being a member of a specific twelve-step fellowship. Rather, they identify as “individuals in long-term recovery from substance abuse disorder.”
The question if anonymity actually hurts the sober community. Debating this point would open up a whole can of worms that I have no desire to open. Instead, I’ll simply say the mission of The Anonymous People is to change how society at large views addiction and recovery.
The fact that I’m writing this article, or that people are debating anonymity, proves the film has accomplished its goal.
Faces & Voices of Recovery
As mentioned above, the organization behind The Anonymous People is Faces & Voices of Recovery. They’re a non-profit addiction treatment and reform advocacy group, formed in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2001.
A little over a decade since their humble beginning, Faces & Voices of Recovery has exploded, both in membership and scope. They boast over 25,000 members and have many various offshoots.
Faces & Voices of Recovery advocates for a drastic change in how the public views addiction, recovery, and addiction treatment. To that end, they’ve lobbied local and state legislatures. They’ve hosted countless events. They’ve strived, for thirteen years now, to affect positive change for those suffering from addiction.
Addiction is a complicated and often misunderstood disorder. Quality addiction treatment requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach. Fortunately, that’s where Lighthouse Recovery Institute steps in.
We offer Comprehensive Addiction Treatment at a variety of levels. Call us today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015 to find out about our individualized and inclusive substance abuse programs.
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