Film fest looks inside addiction recovery

Greg Horvath doesn’t mince words when talking about the recovery industry, and neither does his documentary movie, “The Business of Recovery.”

The movie opens by pointing out that the recovery industry is “selling hope to people in crisis,” and it goes on to document the perceived failings of the system, through interviews with addicts and their families as well as operators of recovery programs, large and small.

For 85 minutes, the riveting look at the recovery industry presents a basic premise: That the current standard of care isn’t working, despite the billions of dollars that addicts and their families are pouring into the system.

In a telephone interview this past week, Horvath, the movie’s producer, pointed out that the idea for the movie formed after he had worked in the industry for years, and had seen the failures firsthand.

Informational notes about the movie state that Horvath “observed the same suspect treatment practices over and over again with everything from kickbacks and referral fees to antiquated treatment administered by untrained staff.”

Specifically, the movie takes a critical look at the 12-step approach, which it maintains is used by most recovery centers, but is actually effective for only a small percentage of people.

“This movie doesn’t take a very flattering look at the recovery industry,” Horvath said.

Noting that he has “a real disdain for sober-living homes in general,” Horvath maintains, “It’s not that they’re poorly regulated; it’s that they’re totally not regulated at all.”

Among the goals of “The Business of Recovery” is to build a grassroots community to make the industry more accountable, Horvath said.

To that end, he has been taking his movie into some of the nation’s recovery hubs. A 2015 showing in Newport Beach, California – the “recovery capital of Southern Californian,” according to Horvath – produced plenty of sparks, he said.

Now, the movie is set to show in Prescott as a centerpiece in the April “Surrender to Win Film Festival” at the downtown Elks Theatre.

Again – referring to Prescott’s reputation as a major recovery center – Horvath said he expects controversy.

The festival will begin Friday, April 8, and will run through Sunday, April 10. In all, it will include nine films, and several shorts.