‘Older Than America': A Feature Length Film by Georgina Lightning

I’m excited to post this blog and and link you to Georgina Lightning’s film ‘Older than America’. Put  your feet up and watch this outstanding film about cultural genocide and historical trauma. Thank you for making this available, Georgina.

‘A woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school.

A contemporary drama of suspense, Older Than America delves into the lasting impact of the cultural genocide and loss of identity that occurred at these institutions across the United States and Canada.

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MIA Film Festival Short Film Winner: “The Virtues of Non-Compliance”

This film won best short at Mad in America’s International Film Festival. It was co-directed by Evan Goodchild and Sera Davidow, and produced by the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community.

‘The current-day mental health system has been shaped around the idea that people who have been given psychiatric diagnoses suffer in a way over which they have no control and that often results in an inability to care for one’s self.

It is an approach that encourages the idea that professionals need to step in to be the experts and determine someone’s human potential.  These beliefs have also influenced other aspects of our culture to the point where news, movies, friends and family tend to perpetuate the message that we are chronically sick and need to re-adjust our hopes and dreams.

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‘A Life Rebuilt’ from Dawn Farm

Spotted this on DJMac’s Recovery Review. As DJ says: ‘Here’s a beautifully shot, authentic short film which captures how hope powers recovery.’

‘Amy came to Dawn Farm’s Spera Recovery Center feeling “broken and hopeless and like [she] didn’t have a soul”. In detox, she found others who felt the same way, but also found hope and faith.

Slowly, she learned to face her fears with faith that, if she does the next right thing, things will work out. Two years sober, this faith allows her to confront her fears as her biggest supporter faced cancer.

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‘High on Hope': Peter’s Story

Please watch this excellent filmed Recovery Story. Thank you so much for this share, Peter.

‘A frank and honest account of a life dominated by addiction and crime that ends on a ‘HIGH’ – Peter’s story is testament to the paradigm shifts that can happen when people have, ‘just had enough’, ask for help and receive a sufficient amount of it.

Peter has turned his previous experiences into a positive as he now creates a positive ripple-effect in his community by helping others.

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Birmingham Recovery Walk

It was inspiring to see the latest cut of the film of the 5th UK Recovery Walk which took part in Birmingham in September 2013. It was great to see and hear so many recovering people having a great time. Recovery certainly rocks!

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

HAZELDEN’S SOCIAL COMMUNITY WILL HOST A FREE ONLINE SCREENING OF THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE AND LIVE Q&A.

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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My Favourite Blogs: Beth Burgess – ‘What is Recovery from Addiction?’

I love this piece of film from Beth Burgess, a recovery coach with Smyls.
 
There’s a big difference between sobriety and recovery. Beth points out that many people give up trying to stop drinking after a few days because it feels too difficult. They don’t realise that these bad feelings don’t last if you make the journey to recovery.

Beth describes her first experience of sobriety – “It was horrible” – before she relapsed. Now she is in recovery, she doesn’t think about alcohol. She loves her life. How do you get to that stage?

My Favourite Blogs: Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  • create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  • organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

Phil also stresses the importance of providing a way for people to ‘give back’ – giving back is an essential element of recovery for many people – tapping into this energy and ‘helping it flow to where it wants to go.’

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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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My Recovery Highlight of 2013

images“Many of us have carried a message of hope on a one-to-one basis; this new recovery movement calls upon us to carry that message of hope to whole communities and the whole culture. We will shape the future of recovery with a detached silence or with a passionate voice. It is time we stepped forward to shape this history with our stories, our time and our talents.” William White

I have one major Recovery Highlight of 2013. A Recovery ‘event’ – or a huge series of events would be a better to describe it – that has moved, excited and inspired me. Yes, it is the Greg Williams’ film, The Anonymous People.

Now, I know that no one person is ever responsible for making a film. But Greg deserves a great congratulations and thanks for making this happen. My congrats and thanks also go out to all all those other people involved  in the making and distribution of The Anonymous People and ManyFaces1Voice.

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The Grass Arena

Some of you may remember my earlier blog,  ‘Saved by the book’ by Erwin James, which focuses on the life of the author John Healy.

Mike Scott, who first found the article in the Guardian, has now tracked down the film on YouTube and says it is well worth watching. The film stars Peter Postlethwaite and is rated 8.6 on IMDB. YouTube shows it in parts which you can track very easily. Enjoy!

‘The Grass Arena is the true story of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend himself. He takes up boxing, but soon falls victim to alcoholism. His boxing career over, John takes to the Grass Arena (the park) where he lives with other alcoholics.’

ManyFaces1Voice: William Cope Moyers

images‘I was invited to give a presentation at the Rotary club in downtown St Paul, where I got up there and started my talk and was telling them all about the statistics of alcoholism. I saw people like just dropping off, you know, checking their watches and people sneaking out the back door and I was losing them.

So I just decided if I was going to hold this audience and take advantage of this unique opportunity to speak at a Rotary club, I better grab them. So I literally threw the speech to the side of the podium there and said, “I am an alcoholic and an addict and I’m talking today about people like me.”

And I told them my Story, not my 12-step Story but my Story of addiction, my Story of recovery and the multiple treatments I’d had. And I had them! That was the day that I realised that the real power is in the Personal Story.’

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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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RIOT – Recovery Is Out There

David McCollom has been making some good films about recovery and recovery-related organisations. Here is  one about RIOT, which you can find in our Film Section.

Three people talk about their recovery and introduce RIOT, an award-winning group of recoverees who attended the BAC O’Connor centre. Recovery Is Out There, right!

And you might want to check out RIOT Radio and the short news clip of its opening.

Support for You – One Woman’s Story

Louise C. runs a successful family business in Scotland that employs 90 people.

But she very nearly lost all of this, and her life, due to chronic alcoholism. Louise thanks her family for getting her into treatment. She remembers the day her family dropped her off at Castle Craig: “It took three men to drop me at the door of Castle Craig.”

She admits that “the best thing to do with alcoholics is to gang up on them and give them no option but to try treatment and face up to their addiction.” Once that is done, “you’re half-way there.”

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A Remarkable Reinvention

Former model Tovah Cottle transformed her life from being a drug addict in jail to designing fashion for the catwalk. Check out a longer version of Tovah’s story on Australian Story.

‘Natural Highs’ by Anthony Nevens

IMG_9117Where do I start? At the beginning, middle or end, who knows? It all ties in with itself in some twisted tangled ball, but I will try and unravel some of it!

I am just like most other Brits who feel uncomfortable talking about themselves! However, here is a quick summery of the Natural Highs project and how it has tied in with my own recovery.

 Natural Highs was born out of the frustrations of government and professionals stating that to recover from substance use problems we must end up in education or employment. This expectation for me personally, someone who has suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and lost the use of my legs, and experienced memory problems, was clearly unrealistic, to say the least.

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Saving Ed Mitchell – ITV Documentary

The former ITN newsreader whose life was plunged into alcoholism and homelessness is the subject of an ITV1 documentary in which his former colleague Carol Barnes attempted to find out why it happened.

Ed Mitchell’s story was splashed across the national newspapers after it emerged that he had fallen on hard times, together with a picture of himself and Barnes in Downing Street in the early 1980s when they were ITN colleagues.

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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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In the Name of Greatness

Powerful!

Video meets spoken word poetry in a short film that won the documentary section of The Guardian/Intergenerational Foundation short film competition.

Written and performed by Nicki Williams, Directed by Dorothy Allen-Pickard