I finished the documentary, The Anonymous People. I thought it was an interesting watch to learn a little history about AA, health legislation for recovery and shifting public perception of people in recovery. It did bolster my confidence to be less anonymous about my sobriety, to question my shame and support the fight for services to help people stay in recovery.
I thought the concept for sober high schools inspired and I hope that idea grows. The kudos and critique of the AA program was nuanced and spot on while they ended the documentary on upbeat imagine of people marching in the streets a little heavy handed.
Speakers in Anonymous People did talk about alcoholism being a disease but also paralleled the fight for care to the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s-both carriers of HIV and addicts being viewed as morally deprived people who caused their own sickness. A fair comparison in the perception but HIV is a physical disease while addiction is a mental health issue, more akin to the needs of services for depression, anxiety disorders and the like.
As I watched, I looked for the message and the targeted audience. The message to be less ashamed and anonymous was clear, but fell short without offering any starting places for people to get involved-from personally being open about one's own sobriety, writing congress, financially supporting programs, volunteering, etc. A list of ways to get involved at the end would have been a great battle cry for the audience. The targeted audience was a bit mixed, mostly for those in the shadows of recovery, the title gives that away, but it tried to be broad enough to include people who care about the well being of the American society - that the laws and not the prisons should support the values that addicts are sick not criminal. Overall a good watch!
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp -Almost Alcoholic by Joseph Nowinski and Robert Doyle -After the Tears: Helping Adult Children of Alcoholics Heal Their Childhood by Jane Middelton-Moz and Lorie Dwinell