Greg Williams, a Fix reader who is in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, is seeking to create something unique. He's making a feature-length documentary about the estimated 23.5 million recovering Americans that he hopes will "sensationalize" their story: The Anonymous People. At the age of 28, Williams knows as well as anyone how sensational recovery really is. His history with drugs and alcohol began at the age of 12, he tells The Fix—"parents' liquor cabinet kind of stuff"—and he was soon smoking marijuana and getting hooked on prescription drugs. He says his turning point came on July 14, 2001, when he got in a near-fatal car accident while high on OxyContin. That made him decide to turn his life around and attend Caron for treatment. At 11 years sober, Williams wants to help in "making changes for the people that face discrimination as a result of substance abuse disorders." He's starting with this film. Protective of the recovery fellowship he belongs to, he used to tell his story as "Greg W."—until he came to believe that by doing so, he was contributing to the shame associated with addiction and recovery. Such stigma—for which Williams credits the drug war and "the 'crack baby' image"—is what he hopes to eliminate.
"The people who have the most power in society to change the stigma are the people who are stable in their recovery," he tells us. "Bottom line: those are the only people who have the power to demand change in the media, to demand policy change, to demand increased treatment. If we do not have a mobilized constituency that demands change, this issue will never look like HIV or breast cancer...That is what this film is about, the need for a community to conquer this issue." Williams is fiercely proud of his recovery and says, "I wouldn't change my past for the world. The life that I get to live today as a result of my past is absolutely incredible. I'm living the dream and chasing other dreams." The Anonymous People is set for release in spring 2013. You can find out more about the project—including how to support it—here.
TV addiction boosts the risk of type 2 diabetes among older people, a new study says—further evidence that spending many hours in front of the television is unhealthy at any age. Researchers from the University of Queensland School of Population Health are the first to study how sedentary behavior like watching TV can effect the health of those 60 years or older. “Up until now, most research about sitting and watching TV has been focused on children, while older adults have potentially the most to gain from changing their behavior," says lead author Paul Gardiner. The study found that each hour spent watching TV increases the chance of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of cardiovascular disease predictors linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Other factors linked to metabolic syndrome include smoking, high alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Performing light activity while sitting in front of the screen may reduce your chances of developing the disease, so researchers recommend at least getting up and moving a little if you have to get your TV fix. “Reducing sedentary behavior may be a feasible and practical way for older adults to improve their health," says Gardiner, "and may be particularly important for those whose health or physical functioning limits their participation in moderate-intensity physical activity."
Billionaire Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing has received a suspended 10-month prison sentence for hiding the body of his wife Eva Rausing for more than two months after her death, preventing her lawful burial. The pair were both drug addicts, and an autopsy found traces of cocaine, opiates and amphetamines in Eva Rausing's blood. Hans Rausing must now receive in-patient treatment at the Capio Nightingale psychiatric hospital in London for the next two years. "If ever there was an illustration of the utterly destructive effects of drug misuse on individuals and their families, it is to be found in the facts of this case" said Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson. Mr. Rausing’s lawyer, Alexander Cameron (brother of Prime Minister David), said his client acted “when, as Shakespeare would put it, the balance of the mind was disturbed,” and was psychologically incapable of accepting his wife’s death upon discovering her body in their posh mansion on May 7—more than two months before authorities arrived at the mansion on June 9. After finding the body, “He has no recollection of the next 10 or 12 hours,” said Cameron. “He did not move the body. He described her as looking quite restful. He felt quite unable to face up to the fact that she had died. Almost like a small child, he could not face up to telling anyone else that she had died.”
“You and your wife had every material advantage imaginable, and for a time a happy family life,” McGregor-Johnson told Mr. Rausing. “Your relapse into the misuse of drugs, together with that of your wife, destroyed all that.” In determining the sentence, the judge took into account Rausing's previous good record and his numerous contributions to addiction-related charities. Eva's father, Tom Kemeny, said the couple had been sober for many years after they met in a treatment center in the US. But their sobriety ended when Eva had a glass of champagne just before the ball dropped on New Year's Eve 1999. After that, he says, their addictions spiraled out of control; by 2008, they were "effectively recluse"—speaking only to each other and locking themselves in the second floor of their mansion. Rausing's family is the 12th richest in Britain, worth more than $6.7 billion.
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is now a wanted man after allegedly shoving a female bartender early yesterday morning. The New Orleans Police Department has issued a warrant for the star’s arrest following a bar fight in the city’s French Quarter. According to authorities, Gooding was at the Old Absinthe House when he became angry with fans and then pushed the bartender twice. The unidentified female bartender told police that the actor came into the bar with a group of people around 3am. Shorty after arriving, Gooding became "very aggravated" with other people in the bar who recognized him and wanted to take some photos. The bartender says she then approached the actor asking him to calm down, but instead he was "pushing her away with an open hand." A bar employee then called 911, and Gooding fled the scene—but not before allegedly pushing the bartender again. The Oscar-winner was presumed to be intoxicated, and now has a misdemeanor battery warrant issued in his name. Neither Gooding or his representatives have yet commented.
- Washington DC Toughens Drunk Driving Law, Restores Breath Test [Washington Post]
- US Team Steps Back from Coach's Drug Accusations [Reuters]
- Drug Traffickers Seek to Intimidate Mexican Media [LA Times]
- How Parkinson's Drugs Can Turn You Into an Addict [Daily Mail]
- TV Addiction Ups Diabetes Risk in Elderly [Times of India]
- Schwarzenegger Jokes About Smoking With Obama [Daily Mail]
- Dennis Hopper's Son Accused of Raping Girl After Plying Her with Drugs, Alcohol [TMZ]
Now that getting loaded and hitting on anyone within a 10-foot radius is no longer an option, dating in sobriety can be tricky. And while knocking boots with another sober person may seem like an ideal option, going out with someone from a meeting may be a step (or thirteen) towards disaster. A new website called Sexy and Sober Singles aims to make the process a little easier. “We’re just trying to help like-minded people who don’t drink find a place where you don’t have to explain why you’re not drinking or what your issue is,” co-founder Shannon Shea tells The Fix. “It’s created by people in recovery for people in recovery.” Shea promises the site—which just launched last month—is also very LGBT-friendly: “It’s hard enough to meet somebody in recovery if you’re straight, but trying to meet someone in recovery if you’re gay or transgender, where are you going to go?” The site is also unique in that unlike major dating sites like Match.com or eHarmony, users can see everyone else’s profiles—not just the ones a computer has deemed compatible with their interests.
The idea for the site came from co-founder Paul Kole, who faced his own struggles while trying to date during recovery. Determined not to be the “creepy guy at the supermarket” hitting on girls, he joined forces with Shea, who already ran her own "Sexy and Sober" clothing and accessories line. Although Sexy and Sober Singles is just getting off the ground now, they both have high hopes that the site—the first of its kind—will flourish. “Everybody should be connected in one way or another," Kole tells The Fix. "We want people to have access to more than just what’s local or what they just happen across.” Shea and Kole are also hard at work on the Pink Cloud Foundation, a nonprofit that helps people in recovery "achieve their dreams"—through mentorship, resources or a small stipend to get their career going. Through these various avenues, Shea and Kole are committed to connecting sober people all over the world, and look forward to the day they can put up the site’s own “eHarmony success story” billboards. Says Kole: “The whole big picture is to empower people in recovery to do more, to reach out, to help others."