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5 Lessons I Learned From The Generation Found Film

Kelly FitzgeraldSubstance Abuse


The Generation Found film screening in Orlando, Florida.

On August 25 Advanced Recovery Systems hosted a screening of the new film Generation Found in Orlando and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. Brought to you by Greg Williams and Jeff Reilly, Generation Found is the first film of its kind, detailing what they’re calling the “youth recovery revolution” and its creation. The theme of the movie is the forgotten generation, youth when it comes to addiction recovery and how recovery high schools can play a role in creating a generation who will go on to live successful lives in recovery. I wasn’t sure what to expect before viewing Generation Found, but I was deeply moved by the end. Here are 5 things I learned from Generation Found.

1. Nine out of 10 people begin their addiction in adolescence.

This was one of the shocking statistics that was on the screen at the beginning of the film. Nine out of 10! I couldn’t believe it, and yet I could. We often get bogged down by the old slogan of “Just say no,” and we ignore the fact that some teens begin using drugs and alcohol as young as age 12. Generation Found addressed this issue and made a case for why we should begin recovery in adolescence.

2. Adolescents are often forgotten about when it comes to addiction recovery

I never realized that adolescents are often not given the time of day when it comes to addiction recovery. In many instances, people believe their behavior is a part of growing up, a condition of where they come from or how they grew up, or that they will grow out of it. Twelve step meetings are generally geared towards adults and how they recover and don’t consider the unique needs of young people. The film and following panel discussion addressed the topic of hitting “rock bottom,” and how this is a gray area, especially for teens. Rock bottom looks different for everybody, but is it necessary for young people who need help with their substance use disorder? The panel said no. Young people have specific needs that adults don’t have when it comes to addiction and recovery.

3. Drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death for young people aged 15 to 34 since 2014.

We’ve all heard that the current opioid epidemic that is sweeping our country is out of hand and people are dying every day, but we hardly ever hear about what ages they are. When I saw Generation Found I was shocked to find out that drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death for young people since 2014. This isn’t new and yet there is no special treatments or movements directed towards youth recovery, until now. That’s why it’s so important people see this film and understand why youth recovery is crucial to ending deaths and encouraging recovery. These issues are deeply interwoven. If we want to eliminate deaths we must address youth recovery.

4. Connection is the foundation of recovery.

I had heard this phrase before and it’s something I can get behind, but I never realized how important it is for youth recovery. Generation Found showed me that community and connection are the foundations of recovery, especially for young people. Adolescents require connection in order to thrive in recovery, in their education, and in learning how to build successful and healthy relationships for the future. This is part of the phenomenon that works with recovery schools. Teens that are surrounded by other sober and supportive peers thrive. They are able to share unique bonds, talk about specific problems, and build each other up to achieve the same common goals.

5. Recovery high schools work.

Before seeing Generation Found I only heard about recovery high schools in passing. I wasn’t sure how legitimate they were or if they even worked. That’s why people need to see this movie. It gave me insight and information into how youth addiction recovery was created and how recovery high schools came to be. It also showed visual evidence of how successful they have been in Houston. I felt the urgency and the need to spread this message of this continuum of care that works. I didn’t understand why more high schools around the country weren’t using this model already. Kids are staying in school, graduating, staying sober, and learning the proper life skills and coping mechanisms to lead a fulfilling life without drugs and alcohol.

The best part about seeing Generation Found was feeling hopeful at the end. I may have been overcome with emotion, but that’s because it’s truly touching to see people living their dreams and thriving in recovery. Seeing those kids graduate against all odds and go on to college, or full-time jobs, when previously they didn’t care if they lived or died, gives me hope that others can follow the same path. It confirms that young people can and do benefit from recovery, it doesn’t matter that they’re young.

As in the past with the Anonymous People and Unite to Face Addiction, Greg Williams and his team once again bring about timely issues and strike the emotional chord in all of us. We must do better. Young people are no longer a lost cause. They are no longer forgotten. They can and do recover. Recovery high schools are one way to get them there. Thank you, Generation Found.

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September 2nd 2016 | By: Kelly Fitzgerald | Posted In: Substance Abuse