There are more than 23 million Americans living in recovery from alcoholism and addiction. In March 2014, one of those 23 million, Jillian Bauer, started The Rooms Project. After celebrating one year of sobriety, Bauer a Philadelphia-based photographer and lover of audio-visual storytelling, wanted to shine a much-needed light on recovery, and give it a voice through the stories of experience, strength, and hope that she has heard throughout "the rooms" of recovery support groups and meetings.
"When I walked into my first meeting, I was shocked by the people I met and the stories I found there. Their experiences were rooted with themes of overcoming adversity and transformation, to which anyone could relate. Yet the only stories I knew before coming into "the rooms" were stereotypes of people living in active alcoholism and addiction," says Bauer. Wanting to highlight those stories of transformation, Bauer created The Rooms Project, a series of stories captured by Bauer with audio and photographs, of individuals living in recovery from addiction and alcoholism. These brave individuals have agreed to speak candidly to Bauer, one-on-one from one addict to another, about their lives - what their life was like, what has happened to them and what life is like now that they are clean and sober.
Having spoken to over 30 people, Bauer is currently working to expand the project outside of the Philadelphia region. She wants this project to help shift the conversation from focusing on the problem of addiction to the solution - showing the variety of different people that you will find included in that 23 million, and that recovery is possible, and it does work. Bauer says, "It is my hope that through the project site, whether visitors are in recovery, not in recovery, or questioning their drug and alcohol use, they will find someone like them."
To learn more about this amazing project, and to listen to the inspiring stories of recovery, visit theroomsproject.org.