At a 2011 luncheon for the premiere of her first documentary film, “The Secret World of Recovery,” Leslie Glass remembers hearing a collective gasp as she told the crowd of nearly 400 people that she was the mother of a recovering addict. It was the first time she’d ever told anyone.
“When you come out with it for the first time, you have a sense of shame about it,” she says. “What did I do wrong as a parent that I have a child who’s had these difficulties? I think that’s so common; people don’t want other people to know.”
Glass originally intended to highlight other people’s journeys through recovery, but, through the film, she ended up sharing her own experience with her daughter Lindsey’s struggle with addiction. She found that sharing their story helped lift the weight of the stigma surrounding addiction, and she hopes to build on that progress with her second documentary, “The Silent Majority.”
The film airs Sept. 19, on PBS member station WEDU. She and Lindsey Glass worked together to produce the documentary, which highlights area programs that help teens make healthy decisions about drugs and alcohol.
“Lindsey and I want to create an environment in which it’s natural to start talking about these issues and find preventions and solutions instead of pushing it under the carpet,” she says. “We’re devoted to this, because we really want to help teens find solutions that we didn’t have when Lindsey was in her teen years.”
Glass spent most of her life as an acclaimed crime novelist in New York, but, three years ago, she and her daughter, a screenwriter in New York and Hollywood, teamed up to begin making documentaries. Glass became a full-time Sarasota resident in 2002.
“Working together has been extraordinary,” she says. “She has talents that I don’t have, and I have talents that she doesn’t have. How often do you get the chance to repair a damaged relationship and move forward with a business that will really help people all across country? It’s been an amazing journey.”
For her second film, Glass wanted to focus on an aspect of addiction she says is too often overlooked: preventative programs and teens who are making healthy decisions about drugs and alcohol.
The film features four segments, each focusing on a different program in Sarasota and Hillsborough counties that is helping teens prevent addiction; she hopes other communities will take note.
“As a country, we think of addiction as something incurable and hopeless, and it isn’t,” says Glass. “We want to lift the stigma of addiction, so that any family can say, ‘I have a kid who is a recovering addict or struggling with addiction,’ and say it the same way you would talk about diabetes or heart disease. As soon as families are able to bring it out into the open, people will be able to start asking for help.”
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