SAVES Discusses Alcoholism and Drug Addiction With Panel and Film


By Gabby Cohen |

Alcohol has been a leading cause of addiction for a long time. This addiction is also an illness, yet people have recognized that in a bad light. However, in the past couple of years, there have been 12-step group systems which work through 12 steps to recovery.

Right to left, in the picture above, you have Chris Armin who has been clean for six years, then Kristen Stewart who goes here to Radford, Matthew Morency who is a senior at Virginia Tech, and finally Anna, a first-year graduate at Virginia Tech.

The Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) program hosted a film and panel about recovery and how to seek help for addiction.

The program started off with a film called “The Anonymous People.”

The narrator explains how words can affect recovery and how different group systems around the world have been formed.

The film features interviews with people that are going through sobriety, for example, a mom who lost their child in a car accident due to drinking, and a high school in Boston, Massachusetts that accepts people that are going through this.

There are around 23 million people in recovery and still counting today.

The film was about an hour long, and the presentation ended with a panel. There were four people at the panel who have been through this situation that are now sober and still going strong.

The panel went on for about 30 minutes answering questions that the audience had sent in anonymously through text. The first question was, “Can you give us your pathway through recovery?”

They each answered the question individually to how they ended up sober today. All their stories impacted them differently.

In their recovery story, Armin explained that he got arrested for the possession of alcohol back in 2004. Stewart also had a felony conviction for the possession of drugs and not passing the drug test, but ended up getting help at the same treatment place where Armin went to.

Morency went to Virginia Commonwealth University back in 2011-13 and faced some serious consequences involving alcohol and ended up getting help.

Lastly, Anna’s story started off just like any other college student. She thought that she was like any other student, drinking and going to parties every weekend, but she was actually abusing alcohol.  She had to drop out eventually, and then it went downhill from there.

She started feeling better when she began going to self-help groups.

The questions asked were mostly related to how we can teach this topic in a proper class setting, and how we can help one another before things get out of hand.

Armin responded from his experience that not many people accept alcoholics in the community, but if we held more panels and presentations like this, then it should get a lot more attention and help more people out there without people jumping to conclusions and stereotyping them.

Anna said, “If I didn’t have a drink, then that wouldn’t be socializing for me.” It reminded me that there are other ways that you can be social without drinking.  You must find the right group of friends in a setting that you are comfortable with.

Drinking isn’t always necessary to be social.

There are local groups here at Radford like the SAVES program if you need help with anything related to this. The moral of this presentation was that there’s always a path out and that you too can do it.