ManyFaces1Voice: Michael Askew

UnknownI might be on the other side of the world, but every time I see Michael Askew on film I know I am seeing a true recovery carrier in action. Here is Michael on ManyFaces1Voice.

“Right now, we have to believe that this is a valuable commodity because every time you see somebody in recovery getting well, you know the community is healing. Families are healing, it’s like throwing a rock into the water and that ripple effect…”

Michael Askew is the Manager for the Bridgeport Recovery Community Center under the leadership of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

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Want to be part of the biggest film festival screening ever?’


On March 1st starting at 12 A.M. Eastern time (U.S.), the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a founding partner of the Manyfaces1voice call-to-action campaign, will host a free online stream of The Anonymous People via the Hazelden Social Community.

On that day, The Anonymous People will be available for people all over the world to watch for 24-hours only. The film’s director, Greg Williams, and other key subjects from the film, including Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s William Cope Moyers, will be available for a live chat at 5 p.m. EST.

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‘The Anonymous People in Australia’ by ManyFaces1Voice

unnamedReceived this exciting piece of news from ManyFaces1Voice this morning. Good to have some Australian recovery news. Well done Simon Bowen. Now hearing recovery rumblings in Sydney. Excellent! [NB. I have changed the order of one paragraph to make communication a little clearer]

‘A few weeks ago, we featured recovery advocates Dougie Dudgeon and Annemarie Ward raving about the reception and impact of The Anonymous People in their respective countries of South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Today we hear from Simon Bowen of Visible Recovery in Adelaide, Australia.

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ManyFaces1Voice: Nell Hurley

“People who are in long-term recovery from addiction and other drugs have the ability to say, “This is who I am and this is what recovery has done for me,” and to reach out and help the person who is coming up behind them.”

Watch film of Nell Hurley, who is a woman in long-term recovery since 1997. She is the Executive Director of The Minnesota Recovery Connection in St. Paul, Minnesota and a board member of Faces & Voices of Recovery.

Nell has a wide range of experiences that include leadership roles in curriculum and education program development and has held positions at various non-profit organizations in Minnesota including the Minnesota Historical Society, Breck School, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater.

Resulting from her own lived recovery experience, Nell is passionate and committed to the growth of the recovery advocacy movement.

‘Recovery Advocacy and the Making of The Anonymous People: An Interview with Greg Williams’ by William L White

UnknownGreg Williams’ film The Anonymous People has contributed enormously to the new recovery advocacy movement in the US. How did it all begin? Here, Greg is interviewed by Bill White. Below, is just a small part of that interview – it is part of Greg’s Story. 

Since the rise of a new addiction recovery advocacy movement in the late 1990s, culturally and politically mobilized people in recovery have found numerous vehicles through which that advocacy is being expressed.

A few years ago, I was contacted by Greg Williams, who shared his vision of capturing on film the spirit of the new recovery advocacy movement being manifested in communities across the country. It was one of the great honors of my life to play a small part in making Greg’s vision a reality.

Today, the film The Anonymous People is being screened in theatres and community settings across the U.S. and in other countries. On November 6, 2013, I had the opportunity to interview Greg about his life and this film. Please join us in this engaging conversation.

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Barry Haslam – Addiction to Prescription Drugs

“Not only is it a national scandal, it is a political problem. And it needs a political solution. In fact, I’d go even further and say, it needs an independent public inquiry. We’ve had 50 years of prescribing these drugs which have addicted literally millions, certainly one and a half millions currently [in UK – DC] and they’ve injured, disabled, they’ve killed people…”

Here is a real courageous man, someone who has highlighted the problem of prescription drug addiction and tried to help people for years. You are a true hero, Barry! And you too, Sue!!

‘In conjunction with the imminent launch of our new service which we will be delivering in the new year, ‘ADS-Haslam Clinics for Prescribed Addiction’, we interviewed Barry Haslam, our partner and leading expert on the effects of prescription drugs.

During the interview Barry talks about his struggle with addiction to prescribed medicines and the devastating effects it’s had on himself and those around him. We also hear the story from a carers point of view from Barry’s wife Sue and collectively their resolve to make this national scandal understood.’

Recovery from mental disorders, lecture by Pat Deegan

Patricia Deegan PhD is a psychologist and researcher. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teeenager. For years, Patricia has worked with people with mental disorders in various ways, to help them get better and lead rewarding lives.

This film features clips from a lecture by Patricia Deegan on the subject of her own route to recovery. She describes how her diagnosis took on ‘a master status in terms of her identity’. Her humanity seemed to others ‘to be quite secondary.’

‘He had read a generic text book and simply applied it to the case in font of him. Schizophrenics don’t recover, Pat Deegan won’t recover. It was that simple…’

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Treatment and Recovery disconnection

Saturday is time to revisit my favourite old blogs from the website. Here’s one of the most viewed from last year.

‘William White describes how somewhere in the process of the professionalisation of addiction treatment in the US, treatment got disconnected from the larger more enduring process of long-term recovery.

He points out that we are recycling large numbers of people through repeated episodes of treatment. Their problems are so severe and recovery capital so low, there is little hope that brief episodes of treatment will be successful. We end up blaming them for failing to overcome their problems.

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With the release of The Anonymous People documentary film, Faces & Voices of Recovery and their partners are collaborating to launch a new campaign, ManyFaces1Voice, to engage and mobilize the newly emerging constituency to transform public attitudes and policies affecting people seeking or in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

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ManyFaces1Voice: Jim Ramstad

Unknown-1It is wonderful to see politicians advocating for recovery. Here is film of former Congressman Jim Ramstad, who has done so much recovery advocacy work, talking about recovery. This film is from ManyFaces1Voice and The Anonymous People.

“I woke up in a jail cell in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on July 31st, 1981. It was the fifth month of my first term in the State Senate. I was mortified, I was humiliated, I was embarrassed beyond words, I wanted to be dead. I wanted to be dead.

But, instead of being the end of my life, the end of my career, it was just merely the beginning. For the first time in my life, I decided to tell the truth about my drinking. Even though it was very, very humiliating and embarrassing to wake up in jail, to be under arrest, it was also very freeing to be able to talk about who I really was.”

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ManyFaces1Voice Film Clip: Tom Hill

“Coming out as a person in recovery is a very powerful and liberating thing. Public opinion is going to be hard to change and I think it’s not going to change unless people come out and start demonstrating what recovery looks like.”

Tom Hill has over two decades of long-term recovery from addiction, personally and as a family member. Tom’s experiences range from being a community activist to professional advocate and educator.

As Faces & Voices of Recovery Director of Programs, he has led the development of an accreditation system for peer recovery support services and works to develop leaders across the nation.

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The Anonymous People: New Trailer Announcement

Filmmaker Greg Williams and The Anonymous People team put this message up on Facebook.

“After many comments and concerns about a few of the original sound bites chosen for film trailer that relate specifically to 12-step groups being misinterpreted and not reflective of the feature length film’s message – we have chosen to revise the film’s trailer.

The Anonymous People project team has deep respect and admiration for the long-standing, beautiful tradition of anonymity at the level of film. No footage in this film has been taken inside meetings held by 12-step fellowships. In addition, no living person is identified or identifies himself or herself as a member of a particular 12-step program and nobody on the project teams feels this needs to change.

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Most visited content: Nos 11 – 15

rsz_img_4069I continue our list of the most viewed content on this website, this time focusing on those that just missed the top ten.

15. Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’ tells the story of a young lady who says, “I really shouldn’t be here.” Beth was dependent on alcohol by age 19, had an eating disorder, anxiety condition… and more. Now she is in recovery, running Smyls, a solution-based service to help other people.

14. Stopping heroin use without treatment is an article I wrote focusing on Patrick Biernarki’s research in the mid-1980s into how 101 heroin addicts gave up using their drug without accessing treatment. Far too few people know about this seminal research.

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No matter what, somebody is going to get better today

rsz_400187010_640I love this film clip from ManyFaces1Voice! So enthusiastic, energetic and inspiring. I feel the recovery. Thank you, Neil. Film clips like this form the making of the film The Anonymous People by Greg Williams make a difference. There’s real Recovery Energy in the US!

“I had written down a couple of notes and I threw my main script away and I just said, ‘I know what you’re going to do. I know you got… I know these are hard budget times and this is a hard struggle for you. I know you’ve got some hard choices. You’re going to cut us, I can see that.

No matter what, somebody is going to get better today. Somebody is going to sit in a church basement or sit knee-to-knee with someone else in recovery and get it. Someone is getting recovery today, no matter what you do. I just need you to know that, that’s it out there, we’re out there.

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I refuse to feel ashamed

images-5Here is an interesting blog on Life Unbuzzed. Everyone’s recovery is just as valuable as anyone else’s. And everyone has a choice of what they do with their recovery, e.g. go public or not, become a recovery advocate or not. Here, husband and wife take different ways forward. 

‘Last week, my husband and I went to see a screening of the film The Anonymous People (which I recommend), sponsored by a local recovery support organization. The theater was packed and I felt bathed in a warm and welcoming vibe.

This was the first gathering of sober people that I’ve been a part of and I loved the sense of belonging. (Yeah, we’re all sober, dammit, and we’re proud!)

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Turning a Disease Into a Sideshow

UnknownThis great article appeared in this Sunday’s New York Times. Thanks from the ‘recovery world’ for writing this Kristen and for all your work in promoting the rights of people suffering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction.

‘“Kristen Johnston admits to being a total drug addict and alcoholic for years!”

After 20 years of being a famous person, I’m happy to say I have pretty thick skin when it comes to press. However, when I saw that headline, which ran recently on a major entertainment Web site, I stopped in my tracks. The entire article was based on two quotations from an interview I had given to a completely different publication to promote my TV Land series, “The Exes.“

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Arthur C. Evans Honored for Addiction Recovery Work

arthur-evansFound this excellent article in the Philadelphia Tribune. Well done Arthur and and his colleagues who have helped make his Award possible. What they have achieved in Philadelphia in terms of developing a recovery-based care system is an example to us all.

‘Arthur C. Evans, Ph.D. Philadelphia Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) has been recognized for his strides in promoting recovery from addiction.

Faces & Voices of Recovery honored Evans with the Lisa Mojer-Torres Award at the America Honors Recovery event held on June 26 in Washington, D.C. America Honors Recovery highlights the extraordinary contributions of the country’s most influential recovery community leaders and organizations and is sponsored with Caron Treatment Centers.

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CCAR films

Three films from Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery (CCAR) on the healing power of recovery, making recovery visible and recovery walks. [3 clips]

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Bill White’s talk in London in 2009

Film from William L White London talk in 2009 (organised by Action on Addiction and Wired In) on addiction recovery. Includes recovery advocacy, recovery communities, recovery management and treatment. [6 clips]

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Meet formerly ‘Anonymous People’

Meet formerly Anonymous PeopleFound this article in the NewsTimes as Greg Williams’s tour with The Anonymous People draws to a close.

‘The first two were only fender benders. The third was a bit more serious. It wasn’t until his fourth car accident, a near-fatal one, that Greg Williams knew his life needed to change.

That fateful wreck landed the then-17-year-old Newtown youth in Danbury Hospital’s emergency room, with his parents insisting he needed to get help for his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

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