Real stories of real recovery

 

By Dan Sadowsky, Storymind Productions –

Who doesn’t love a comeback story? It’s hard not to root for the person who’s lost something important but fights against a powerful force to reclaim it — especially if that powerful force is themselves.

Redemption and recovery are the themes of two videos Minerva Strategies recently commissioned me to produce for Evergreen Treatment Services, a Western Washington network of rehabilitation clinics that is helping people regain their lives after years of opioid dependency.

The goal was to both to humanize Evergreen’s patients and destigmatize its treatment philosophy. The term “former drug addict” doesn’t usually conjure up sympathetic characters, and although Evergreen offers an array of services — from counseling to acupuncture – the cornerstone of their treatment is medication, often methadone, which has gotten a bad rap.

We decided to share the recovery stories of two patients whose stories were relatable to a broader audience. Brandon became addicted to heroin in his early 20s, which put his life on a downward spiral that left him sleeping under a bridge if he wasn’t in jail. Carol, a mother of five, had grown dependent on painkillers after back surgery when her children were all school-age. She became an absent mother and for a time abandoned her family.

Today both Brandon and Carol are several years into recovery, their lives back on a positive track. The videos rely on interviews with them in their homes as the narrative spine, interspersed with footage that show their hard-won gains. For Brandon, it was the chance to go to college, the first step on a path to not just a job but a career. For Carol, it was the opportunity to rebuild relationships with her children that had unraveled during her struggles with addiction.

It wasn’t easy for either of them to open up in the interview; they didn’t see themselves as particularly courageous or inspirational. But after spending a day with each of them, I did. Now when I hear the term “recovering addict” and “methadone,” I think of them. I hope others who watch the video do the same.