The Anonymous People

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    I can’t remember which solution in the first week mentioned the movie The Anonymous People. I didn’t watch it the first time I went through the 30 Day Sobriety Solutions but tonight, I found myself with a craving so strong, I was planning on how I could sneak out to the liquor store to buy vodka and how I could sneak that back home before mixing it with lemonade so my boyfriend wouldn’t know. The details were worked down to the lie I’d tell him as to why I was leaving the house (needed to go check on parts for a gift I was working on for him of all things!) and preparing an empty water bottle to take with me so I could transfer the vodka into that and bring it into the house undetected.

    I stood in front of the mirror a couple times and scolded myself for even having these thoughts and planning these actions. I re-read several journal entries. I did my taxes! But the craving was still there so I thought I’d give The Anonymous People a shot. If nothing else, by the time I finished it, the liquor stores would be closed and that would solve one problem for me.

    The Anonymous People didn’t provide any profound information or inspiration that brought me to my knees in tears of gratitude or a metaphorical rebirth and a swearing off of alcohol forever (I wish it were that easy). But it did address many other issues that lie just beneath the surface for many of us. The biggest matter was the horrible negative stigma that comes with having a drug or alcohol addiction. The movie delves into the shame that many of us experience by our own hands as current addicts or those in recovery (be it drug or alcohol) but it also delves into the huge lack of understanding from those who just don’t know what it’s like to live as an addict or recovering addict and as a result, intentionally or not, end us making more shameful of our addiction – even though we may have years of recovery under our belts. The movie delves into the taboo of addiction as well as the hard, hard work people are working into making it not so. Recovery is something to be proud of! It’s so hard for society to shake the stigma but it must be shaken! Recovery should be applauded, not pushed back into the shadows.

    After watching this movie, I feel my drinking problem may have been a blessing in disguise; I have always felt my calling in life was to help others but this movie re-ignited that passion and I will definitely be looking for ways to help others who are walking the path I am.

    To many on the “outside”, it is simply a moral weakness and a conscious decision to drink or do drugs. To many on the “outside”, we simply choose not to stop. But as a child, no one ever says “I want to be a doctor and an alcoholic!” so the fact that many see addiction as a choice is absolutely asinine to me. The movie addresses this as well as how addiction eventually came to be seen as a disease no different than cancer. It’s very inspirational. A line that stuck with me from the movie is (I’m paraphrasing) “The best way to help yourself as a recovering addict is to help another addict.” I think that’s so true and a big reason why we’re apart of this online community – for the support.

    Another matter explored in the movie is that lack of recovery support. You can put someone with an addiction disease in rehab and they can leave the most stable, well-rounded, recovered, eager, ambitious and determined being but if you put them back in the environment that bred the original problem, that person will very likely slide back into old habits without continual recovery support. The best metaphor for this given in the movie in my opinion was that of a dying tree. Sending a recovered addict back to the original environment, the cause of the problem is like uprooting a dying tree and moving it to a new area with soil rich in nutrients, sunlight, fresh air, all it needs to thrive, and that tree does thrive. But then you uproot the tree again and re-plant it back in its original spot without all the nutrients, sunlight, and fresh air it had before. Can you be surprise when that tree starts to get sick again and die?

    But the movie also documents how there is such a push, a momentum to build those recovery support programs whether it’s in schools, work/companies, the community – it’s powerful knowledge and so comforting, inspiring, encouraging to know that change is brewing. For me, when I feel myself start to fumble, that I might return to old habits, the thought of how I can lead by example and support someone with an addiction or in recovery as others have supported me gives me strength and determination to not give in. This movie really reminded me that my struggles are not in vain, I am not alone, I will come out on top, and I can do great things to help others succeed too.

    If you need a little pick me up, check out the movie The Anonymous People. At the moment, I found it on Amazon Prime at $3.99 to rent. If anyone has suggestions on where else to find it for free, please share but I think it will make many of us feel 1) not alone and 2) inspire us to want to run out and help others. For me, it distracted me from my craving tonight; it might just be one time tonight that I beat the craving but that’s still a win for me.

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