According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national survey, 23.5 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction in 2011. However, the survey showed that only 11.2% of those in need received it. In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence founded Alcohol Awareness Month, which takes place every April. To help educate people about alcoholism and to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction in general, there will be a 7 p.m. screening of The Anonymous People at Wilton High School\u2019s Little Theater on Wednesday, April 23. It will be accompanied by a prevention, treatment and recovery services fair before the film and a Q&A session afterward. The film tells the stories of real people in long-term recovery and shows what life is like for them without drugs or alcohol. \u201cThis is not your tired old addiction rehab story splashed across reality TV or tabloid magazines, said 29-year-old Greg Williams, the film\u2019s producer and a Connecticut native. \u201cThere are no needles hanging out of people\u2019s arms, pictures of the brain or fried eggs in a pan.\u201d Mr. Williams has been in long-term recovery himself for 12 years, and said it was important for him to make sure the film maintained its authenticity. \u201cThe story of addiction is often told in the headlines about the 23 million who are still sick in our country, but we don\u2019t really tell the stories of the 23 million who have gotten well,\u201d said Mr. Williams. The anonymity and shame and secrecy that accompany addiction, Mr. Williams said, makes it \u201cdeeply challenging to uncover the powerful stories of recovery and redemption.\u201d \u201cI\u2019ve been in long-term recovery since I was 17. My addiction started at age 12 and progressed quickly,\u201d said Mr. Williams. \u201cBefore I got into recovery, I started with alcohol and marijuana, then I got into prescription drugs. By age 15 or 16, I was fully addicted to opiates and other pharmaceutical drugs.\u201d Mr. Williams said he nearly lost his life a number of times, but after a near-fatal car accident in July 2001 that left him in the hospital, he began re-evaluating his life. \u201cI was in Silver Hill Hospital for a week as an adolescent and I was lucky enough to get into recovery,\u201d he said.\u00a0\u201cMy family really pushed me to go into a longer treatment program and then a halfway house program.\u201d Mr. Williams said he didn\u2019t go into Silver Hill wanting to get into recovery but it \u201cjust kind of happened.\u201d \u201cAfter I was a few days removed from my active drug use, I started to look at my life and where my life was going,\u201d he said.\u00a0\u201cI was a good kid. I played sports and used to get good grades, and within a year or two, I was lucky to be alive. My life was going nowhere fast.\u201d From ages 17 to 22, Mr. Williams said, he became active with young people in recovery, but it wasn\u2019t easy. \u201cWe struggled helping young people get into recovery because their insurance cards didn\u2019t work or they were getting sentenced to jail and getting sicker in jail for nonviolent offenses, or there were no housing options, or it was too late,\u201d he said.\u00a0\u201cDuring my first six years of recovery, I had to bury six friends from my community in Connecticut.\u201d In The Anonymous People, Mr. Williams said, he set out to answer one very fundamental question: Why do we treat addiction and people with addiction in this country so dramatically differently than people with any other health issue? As a result of his recovery, Mr. Williams graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in media production. After witnessing the shame society puts on families of addicts, Mr. Williams said, he became infuriated and decided to put his experience and degree to use. \u201cI got angry at the system; I got angry at the policies that we have. I started talking and I met the people that you meet in the film,\u201d said Mr. Williams. \u201cThe people in the film had put themselves out there publicly as in recovery because they believe that by sharing their stories, we can start to change some of the insurance and criminal justice discrimination surrounding addiction.\u201d Mr. Williams said he met people who he believes are on \u201cthe front end of what\u2019s going to become the next massive social justice movement. \u201cThe people who have the most power to do that are the people who have been impacted by the issues, their families and those who have lost kids to addiction,\u201d he said. Mr. Williams said society\u2019s view and treatment of addiction and addicts has to do with a number of factors, including lack of understanding and pediatric health issues. \u201cThese kids don\u2019t choose to become addicts. It\u2019s a total lack of compassion, empathy and understanding, unlike we have for children with obesity or diabetes or any other kind of health issues,\u201d Mr. Williams said. \u201cIt\u2019s frankly disgusting.\u201d Mr. Williams said this is a pediatric health issue in the United States, especially when 90% of all addictions start in adolescent years. \u201cIt\u2019s a pediatric health epidemic, and yet our system \u2014especially in Connecticut \u2014 only funds real treatment and ongoing support for 18 and older,\u201d said Mr. Williams.\u00a0\u201cWe have an entirely different system that\u2019s pretty much psychiatric without a focus on addiction in Connecticut \u2014 at least for adolescents.\u201d However, said Mr. Williams, there are currently bills in the legislature that can change how the insurance department regulates insurers and how they pay for treatment. Mr. Williams said the real problem in Connecticut is paying for services. \u201cIn Connecticut, you\u2019re either a millionaire and can pay cash for high-quality treatment or you\u2019re broke and can get state funding and qualify for Medicaid and get decent treatment,\u201d he said. \u201cBut for the 80% to 85% of us in the middle, we can\u2019t get anything in Connecticut for adolescents and families. Addiction is a massive problem in our communities and the problem breeds and grows in silence and secrecy.\u201d Mr. Williams said he has seen a lot of young people interested in The Anonymous People. \u201cIt\u2019s exciting that 20-year-olds are getting very active culturally in social change and community change,\u201d he said.\u00a0\u201cWe have had incredible success in showing the film to all types of people \u2014 people in recovery, families who have been impacted, to just regular communities.\u201d Mr. Williams said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to show The Anonymous People around the country. \u201cAs a Connecticut filmmaker, I\u2019m very excited to show it in Connecticut again,\u201d he said. The April 23 screening at Wilton High School will be sponsored by: Silver Hill Hospital. Human Services Council\u2019s Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition. Wilton Public Schools. Wilton Social Services. Wilton Youth Services. Wilton Youth Council. There will be a 6 p.m. prevention, treatment and recovery services fair before the film and a Q&A session with Mr. Williams and Silver Hill Hospital\u2019s physician-in-chief, Eric D. Collins MD, at 8:30. Wilton High School culinary arts students will provide hors d\u2019oeuvres at the event. Due to the graphic nature of the film, it is recommended for high school students and adults only.