"Six Gifts" Film Follows Athletes In Different Stages Of Recovery

By Victoria Kim 11/14/18

“The movie is meant to inspire people currently suffering from addiction and those who are unable to find that missing piece to the puzzle to help finally get them sober.” 

A surfer is one of the athletes in recovery chronicled in "6 Gifts"

A new film celebrates six stories of recovery, sparking a movement to inspire and motivate the addiction/recovery community.

6 Gifts, directed by Nick Tribuno, follows six athletes from all walks of life and shares their failures and triumphs in battling addiction—Ben Gravy (surfing), Scott French (snowboarding), Rebecca Selig (skiing), Chris Vargo (endurance athlete), Monica Lebansky (yoga) and Melody Schofield (crossfit).

According to the official website of Sober and Stoked, the movement which funded and produced 6 Gifts, the film is now available to rent or to purchase on Blu Ray. Sober and Stoked co-founders Scott French and Eugene Stiltner raised $6,000 to produce the film with the help of a crowdfunding campaign.

“The movie is meant to inspire people currently suffering from addiction and those who are unable to find that missing piece to the puzzle to help finally get them sober,” according to the official website. “It is also meant for people who are already sober and feel like they need something else to get them motivated and out enjoying life, so they don’t fall back into previous traps and pitfalls.”

Both Stiltner and French, who are both originally from the Fairfax, Virginia area, have about 11 years of sobriety.

“Over a decade of doing drugs and drinking every day had taken a toll on me,” said French on the Sober and Stoked website. “I had acquired 4 DUIs over 10 years, had many drunk-in-public offenses, and many violation of probations.”

A series of failed relationships compounded his drug use. “Cocaine slowly turned into meth and crack, and then OxyContin and heroin.”

Ultimately, French surrendered himself at the courthouse and pleaded guilty to his charges. Going to jail was his chance at redemption. “I remember smiling, this was my chance. I was given an opportunity to forcibly be away from drugs and alcohol. I could transform my life, incarceration is the only way I’ll get sober.”

After enduring a “vicious” detox and attending AA meetings in jail, French put his energy into fitness, marathons and snowboarding.

His friend and co-founder Eugene Stiltner stopped drinking after a “culmination of almost 8 years of reckless, out-of-control drinking, depression, trouble with the law, and a desire to no longer go on,” he said.

Stiltner was pulled over by police and arrested while driving home after a night of drinking until last call. “When I got out the next morning, my parents and a family friend who had been sober for many years sat me down for an intervention,” he said.

Now that the film is complete, Sober and Stoked is focused on launching a pilot program throughout Maryland and Delaware in 2019.

The pilot program will host "gear drives" to support the athletic or artistic pursuits of people in recovery.

"The concept of a gear drive is similar to a clothing drive," Stiltner told The Fix via email. "People can clean out their basements and garages and bring in lightly used/new outdoor gear and art/music supplies, so the halfway houses we partner with can have healthy activities for people in the houses to do."

6 Gifts is available to rent or to purchase on Blu Ray.

To schedule a screening of 6 Gifts in your community, contact [email protected].

You can also reach out to Sober and Stoked via social media.

Watch the trailer here.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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