Breaking stigmas and shedding anonymity at panel

By Maria LaQuaglia and Sydney Shaw
Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief

A panel discusses substance abuse following the film screening. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)
A panel discusses substance abuse following the film screening. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)

Twenty three million Americans live in long-term recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol, according to the College’s Collegiate Recovery Community, and many of them are students. Yet there are only 26 recovery communities in the nation that offer housing to students. The College is one of them, and as part of September’s National Recovery Month, it hosted a screening of a film that shed light on the stigmas surrounding addiction.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, the Collegiate Recovery Community screened the movie “The Anonymous People.” Guests flocked to the Library Auditorium to learn more about the journeys of those in recovery from substance abuse.

According to the documentary, many people who suffer from addiction are hesitant to reach out for help due to a lack of support and feelings of shame. But “The Anonymous People” proclaims that stigma should no longer have the ability to keep those in recovery silent. Instead, the documentary encourages viewers to support and celebrate the accomplishments of those who have reached out for help and are in recovery.

“This documentary really opened my eyes up to just how much addiction affects everyone and that we all need to start working together to provide proper treatment to those in need of it,” said freshman Krista Johnson, who attended the screening.

The event pays tribute to National Recovery Month. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)
The event pays tribute to National Recovery Month. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)

Following the screening of the film, guests were invited to ask questions to a panel of students, alumni and addiction professionals. Some of them shared personal stories of how their lives have benefitted from the College’s Collegiate Recovery Community. Others discussed the importance of supporting those in recovery instead of shaming them. They drove home the idea that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness.

“After this documentary I am motivated to make an effort to put an end to the stigma that surrounds recovery,” said freshman Jared Posselt, who attended the event.

Above all, “The Anonymous People” and the discussion that followed emphasized that anyone can help put an end to the stigma that surrounds recovery.