Bob L., Visions Recovery, Inc.
Recovering addict Bob L. discovered the power of drama to unlock our potential for change. Today he and hundreds of recovering addicts are telling the story of recovery through "Visions," an award-winning play about triumph and frailty.
Addiction is a powerful thing. It reaches far beyond the individuals caught in its grasp to hurt families, friends, relationships and society. But even with all its strength, there is something far greater than the hold of addiction – the power of recovery.
In a world where so many people feel alone in their struggles it can be difficult to find a path towards healing. That's where Visions Recovery Inc. steps in, providing hope and understanding to those in need.
Founder Bob L. (who does not use his last name as prescribed by most 12-step recovery programs), started the organization in 1993 to promote and expand "Visions," a theatrical performance of 20 short vignettes penned in large part from his own experiences as an addict and featuring recovering addicts in many of the roles.
Since then the play, now greatly expanded and lengthened, has been presented to over 30,000 people throughout the United States in the most uncommon of places. From prisons and rehab centers to churches and schools, "Visions" and its cargo of bruised but not broken volunteers travels around the country providing hope for those who need it most.
The skits in "Visions" show addicts hitting bottom in various ways, whether it be stealing money, abusing a spouse, or finding out they are HIV positive. As in real life – where many stories don't end happily – some characters in "Visions" learn to trust and have faith in their potential to change their lives and the lives of others. Others walk a bleaker path.
As drama has done for generations of audiences, it's hard not to be transformed by the powerful stories. One night at an adolescent treatment center, a young man approached Bob and thanked him, saying, "I was going to run out of here today and kill myself, but after seeing the show I'm going to stay and try."
"The ability to carry the message of recovery makes us feel whole," said Bob, whose own struggles with addiction led him to create the play as a medium of intervention for others as well as a therapeutic release for himself. "We have found that the opportunity to serve others is a real privilege, and most of us who have been in the show have stayed clean and sober because of that."
The cast is comprised of over 300 selfless volunteers that are willing to travel great distances, work in unusual settings, construct and take down their own set, and receive no monetary compensation, to help spread the message making the show quite unusual by today's standards. With no acting experience and little stage knowledge, they take live theater where few would ever dare to go. There are no divas: just work to be done and regular people whose hearts are committed to the cause.
Following each performance, the "Visions" cast often go out into the audience and offer encouragement to those whose lives have been devastated by drug and alcohol addiction. It's a personal connection that acknowledges that the path to recovery need not be taken alone – and another reason that the "Visions" cast and crew have been honored with the New Jersey Governor's Volunteer Award in the Arts and Humanities and a Points of Light Award.
"There are no dressing rooms here, no stars on the walls – just people who do not use last names, trying to bring recovery and hope to those in need," said Bob.
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About Visions Recovery, Inc.
Visions Recovery, Inc.
"Visions" a powerful drama on addiction/alcoholism and recovery. The play is performed in rehabilitation centers and communities across the country, and depicts bottoms from the use and abuse of substances, the "awakening" or realization of the problem and coming into treatment and Twelve Step programs. To date, "Visions" has reached more than 30,000 people.
Visions Recovery, Inc.
935 Summit Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07307
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