The Anonymous People

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One in every 15 Americans belongs to this film's eponymous group of "Anonymous People"—that is, people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. In this feature-length documentary, many individuals—from politicians to beauty queens—emerge from the shadows of social stigma to fight for a compassionate approach to their illness.

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Chelsea's picture

These programs have miscellaneous miscellaneous savior lives the past 70 years or so, based on the principle of anonymity.

geraldeoneill's picture

good start, if it works for alchol and drugs move on to food.

peterfclark's picture

I loved the comment, "if you step over me, you step over my whole family". what an important message. Thank-you for this.

mysterylizard's picture

there is a valid and spiritual principle for anonymity in a 12 step program. It is the experience of those that choose not to be anonymous on a public level that they are prone to relapse. And to many to relapse is to die. Not to mention when these public figures do relapse it is more of an excuse for those in the throws their addiction to justify that this program doesn't work. These programs have saved many many lives in the past 70 plus years utilizing the principle of anonymity. It is my view that to move away from the principle of anonymity is pure ignorance. Even though I know the intentions are well mannered. In a the long run it has been learned that those that choose to not to practice anonymity had done more harm than good. I just read today of another example of a public figure that boasted about their long term recovery, thinking that they are a power of example, however now is suffering once again from this this baffling, cunning and powerful disease .And lets not forget this; when one relapses it does not only affect them but their family, friends, employers, co-workers as well,

jackelope65's picture

When the maximum success rate for permanent abstinence is 18% for substance abuse and that the majority of abusers do not attend AA, getting the word out would be a great idea as well as accepting new ideas. As far as individuals, it should be a very private and personal non-pressured choice whether to go public or not. When you consider that 82% of people attending AA will suffer recidivism, then most public figures will fail for all to see. The general public needs honest information and statistics about AA, and substance recovery in general. Most people are wary of secret clubs as ell as their secret handshakes. They need to know that a Christian agenda is part of AA, though some will deny this. A close relative in AA repeated Buddha's words spoken 2,500 years ago thinking it was developed by AA. There is a Buddhist path to recovery as well as others. Each person should be aware of choices and exactly what they have to offer, as well as carefully studied recovery rates. With that said, I strongly support AA and, as a physician have referred many people.

gr82brees's picture

Very well done and provides much food for thought. Big light bulb for me, "anonymity is not secrecy." As part of a recovery movement since the late 70's, I can honestly say that these folks are right and Bill White was right to say, "we've been brainwashed" into thinking we must be silent and cannot talk about our addictions outside of church basements. Truly, we're only as sick as our secrets which thrive in darkness to the point of death, so there must be something to advocacy without harming the spiritual principle of anonymity. I've got homework! Kevin Griffith also has been beneficial to my recovery from a Buddhist perspective of the 12 Steps Thanks Tricycle!

kschwarz's picture

Tricycle Film Group,

Thank you for presenting this film. This is a MUST SEE film for anyone who lives with an addiction, loves someone with the problem or works with those who are recovering from an addiction.

What would have been appreciated would have been to feature the fine work that people such as Darren Littlejohn and Noah Levine in applying the Twelve Steps of the AA recovery model to the teaching of the Buddha (Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path). There are some amazing similarities in these systems.

gramsci7's picture

The film brings up very important and relevant issues. As someone in recovery, I probably wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for AA and those church basement meetings. AA literally saved my life - a couple of times. I think the anonymity controversy goes back to the origins of AA. Before AA the end result for addiction was, mental institutions, jails and ultimately death - we obviously have a long way to go. AA was one of the first to work to end the perception of Alcoholism as a moral weakness and transform our understanding that alcoholism is a mental, physical and spirtiual disease. For myself, both AA and this non-anonymous program are essential manifestations of the bodhisattva - one, transform oneself and help others who are still sick and suffering in 12 step programs and, two, on a national scale work to end suffering through social policy. There are many people in recovery helping one another and transfroming their lives anoymously who probably would never have started a live of recovery if it weren't for being anonymous. At the same time, more awareness needs to be made about this fatel disease.

jomajcen's picture

I am so delighted that this film is being presented by Tricycle. I work with people who have addictive disorders and I am also in long term recovery. I am a meditator too. There are many of us who find meditation enhances our recovery! Thank you!

filmwater's picture

Great movie, if anyone knows any similar movies can they please private message me them it would be highly appreciated.

johanne.mccreath's picture

Very happy to find and watch this film.Thanks.

oliverhow's picture

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This film is well done and so, so important.

jewelupthesteps's picture

I gave up half way through because of the loud music. What's that about?

jackelope65's picture

I could never plan, think, prepare, want, try enough to not crave; sustained regular, progressive meditation is the only thing that works, though I never set that as a goal for meditation.

kathyiorillo's picture

There is much that Buddhists can do to transform the root ideas that initiate and sustain the use of drugs and alcohol. The transformation can occur on the personal, family, cultural, and policy levels. Too often addicts are punished, and enter the penal system. They are often not given resources and tools to help them before or after they commit crimes to fuel the addictions. Even when they recover, they cannot enter society because of the legal record. Their stigmatization affects self esteem, which can serve to trigger relapse and a viscious cycle. I fear that too many addicts do not find recovery. Those in the film are a minority. I am thankful for the exposure provided by the film and the message that helps to soften, open, and change our perspective, our actions and approaches.

mattbard's picture wise, this wasn't too bad, perhaps repeatative somewhat. The buddhist community has its' share of alcoholics. That's right folks. The movie's message was powerful, redeeming, hopeful and honest. Intergrating a spiritual and public health model for recovery is challenging. I hope the film maker does another like this in 30 years- a tad less ardor and more quiet wisdom would be , ...hmmmm, perhaps have even more gravitas-if possible. all in all, good work. matt