The stigma of alcoholism is what keeps many alcoholics from seeking help for their disease. The controversial subject is captured in Adding Fire to the Fuel, the third recovery-oriented book by award-winning author Scott Stevens. Stevens is debuting the book June 13 at Book Passage in San Francisco's Ferry Building on the famed Embarcadero as part of the REEL Recovery Film Festival. Stevens spoke at a symposium to launch the festival in 2014, and is rolling out the new book at what he calls “the right time for the recovery movement, in conjunction with two of the nation's most meaningful organizations dedicated to reducing stigma.”
Much of what is known about the disease of alcoholism connects it to flaws in genes which control metabolism of alcohol as well as the brain's risk/reward biochemistry. “It's a disease. Same kind of chronic, progressive, incurable-but-treatable, primary and fatal classification as cancer or diabetes. When we handle people with those other diseases with empathy, and dish out distaste to alcoholics or recovering ones, we create a social and economic problem that's passed its tipping point.”
The new book, available at all retailers following the California launch, looks at the stigma around alcoholism and alcoholism recovery as a $226 billion annual problem hiding in plain sight. “The story of alcohol and America's affair with it keeps it from being recognized as the problem. Instead, people with the disease of alcoholism are considered the problem. 'Alcoholic' is a pejorative today. That's ripe for change,” says the author.
The third-leading cause of preventable death and illness stays under the radar because of good advertising and bad stigma, according to Stevens. “Its purveyors are proclaimed as charitable kings. Those who use it and discover alcohol has health and social consequences, are labeled as villains, kill-joys, weak, weird, or morally off. What that stigma does to keep people from getting help also keeps the discussion of what alcohol does to you behind the wishful-thinking-driven chatter about what it does for you. The tipping point has passed. The status quo: No longer sustainable or acceptable.”
Adding Fire to the Fuel examines:
- How families and communities feed public and self-stigma even while the stigma holds them back;
- How stigma has become a barrier to many who want help;
- How to hang on to sobriety in a pro-alcohol world;
- And how PANonymous alcoholics will reduce stigma more than all the protests combined.
Writers In Treatment presents the REEL Recovery Film Festival at sites around the U.S. The multi-day event is a celebration of film, the arts, writing and creativity, showcasing filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery. Stevens will speak at the film fest again this year, following the premier of Jay Silverman's Girl on the Edge, and a session with Kitty Dukakis. Alcohol watchdog group, Alcohol Justice, is a presenting sponsor of the film festival in northern California and is instrumental in the book launch for Adding Fire to the Fuel (ISBN: 978-1-63192-906-9). Stevens says of both organizations, “It's an honor to be involved with two of the groups so influential in tearing down stigma and portraying alcohol accurately. We all endorse the fact that sobriety is a better thing to have than to lack.”
He adds, “There's an impressive recovery atmosphere in northern California that is as robust as you find in Arizona, Florida, Texas and other locales. It's a great place for a recovering alcoholic like me to debut a book like this one.” The independent author launched Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud at Milwaukee's largest independent bookseller, Boswell Books, in 2013.
The preliminary roundup for REEL Recovery includes:
Thursday, June 11, 2015 New People Cinema – San Francisco 7-9 p.m. Girl On the Edge (2014) (S.F. Premiere) with Jay Silverman – Director, Taylor Spreitler – Actress, Mackenzie Phillips – Actress,
Friday, June 12, 2015 Smith Rafael Film Center – San Rafael 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Kids Are Dying (2014) (Director’s Cut – World Premiere) Michael DeLeon – Producer/Director, and New People Cinema – San Francisco 6-8 p.m. An American Epidemic (2015) (West Coast Premiere) Michael DeLeon – Producer/Director and 8-10 p.m. The Wisdom to Know the Difference (2014) (S.F. Premiere) Daniel Baldwin – Writer/Producer/Director.
Saturday, June 13, 2015 Book Passage Book Store – Ferry Building, San Francisco 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Adding Fire to the Fuel – Book Launch - Author Event Scott Stevens
New People Cinema – San Francisco 2-3:45 p.m. Stories of Alcohol Justice - Eason Ramson (2014) (0:23:25) Eason Ramson talks about his life and professional football career that ended when he spiraled into substance abuse, crime, and prison, 6-8 p.m. Anonymous People (2103) Intimate Conversation: Kitty Dukakis & Jan Wahl – Women in Recovery, and 8:30–10 p.m. Chasing the Muse – Stone Cold Sober A Candid Conversation About Creativity and Recovery Jan Wahl – TV Personality/Film Reviewer - Moderator, Scott Stevens – Author, Elizabeth Edwards – Singer/Musician, John O. Whittaker, Jr. – Actor
Sunday, June 14, 2015 Smith Rafael Film Center and New People Cinema: Robin Williams Tribute with Michael Pritchard and Comedians Into Recovery featuring Michael Pritchard – MC, Mark Ludholm, Johnny Steele and Barry Diamond.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stevens is a noted journalist on alcoholism and a founding influencer of the world's largest medical portal, HealthTap.com. His books on the disease include 2010's What the Early Worm Gets and 2012's Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud, which earned finalist honors in the Indie Book Awards and USA Best Books Awards in 2013. For more information on the new book, please visit www.alcohologist.com and for information on the film festival, please visit www.filmfestsfbay.org.