the project

What do you picture when you think of the word “addict?”

What do you picture when you think of the word “recovery?”

On Recovery: Portraits of the Journey uses art and community to challenge the cultural expectations of what it means to experience addiction and to be in recovery.

There’s a stigma against those who suffer from addiction, and a limited understanding of what the recovery experience is really like. Both in and out of the recovery community, there’s the belief that a traditional twelve step program is the only way to be in recovery–a misconception that is encouraged by media and the justice system’s entanglement with the twelve steps as a punitive “rehabilitation” measure.

Many of the studies of the program’s success rate loosely measure efficacy based on self-reporting from folks who rely on the program heavily, but what about all of the people who come in and out of the rooms of recovery? What about those who take a different path?

The current misunderstandings about what recovery “should” look like and what it means to struggle with addiction drive people away from potentially exploring these tools as a resource, and undermine support for those who are struggling with this chronic mental illness.

This project aims to explore and challenge those misconceptions and humanize the people who are in recovery (with a highlight on those who approach recovery in creative, unexpected ways) through a multimedia presentation, combining photography, interview, and visual art. All of the work is created by those who are in recovery themselves, or have lived in the shadow of addiction in their partners, family, friends, and clients.

On Recovery is an advocate for healing. On Recovery aims to illuminate the diversity of people in recovery, as well as the diversity of their paths to holistic well-being. On Recovery is a window into a catastrophic decline interrupted, reinterpreted, and reimagined.