Immediately as Scott McLane began his chat with us on Tuesday, I was struck by his statement that The Anonymous People is just not real life. Like many others, I know what addiction looks like, and it was frustrating at times to watch that documentary because, although it had some substance, there was so much optimism that it couldn’t feel real.

Scott’s honestly didn’t end there, which was refreshing for me. He talked about his suicidal thoughts, his homelessness, and ultimately how the system failed him. I especially appreciated that he was honest about his recovery at Rutgers: just because his life had improved measurably and he was sober doesn’t mean he didn’t still struggle regularly with the misery of addiction. The reality of that was jarring and, I think, necessary for everyone in class to hear (including myself).

I was also fascinated by the ease with which Scott talked about his experiences in AA. I’m definitely having trouble understanding the line of anonymity in the organization, because while  I hear all the time that people who attend meetings aren’t supposed to talk about them, it also seems our guests talk about them regularly and without hesitation. I enjoy hearing about it and getting some insights about the program, but I have to wonder where the line is. Regardless, it was definitely enlightening to hear Scott and Richard discuss their personal stories of addiction and recovery. I think it informs all of us moving forward.