My whole town became addicted—people who drove the firetruck, the selectmen of my town. Last year alone, I attended seven family gatherings for overdose deaths, from southern Maine to Downeast, people that I can actually look back on and smile, knowing it was a good time.—Mike Bills, speaking in the documentary, Something Good Will Come of This

Having focused on conflict resolution and film at COA, Ursa Beckford ’17 sought to create a documentary on Maine’s opiate crisis for his senior project. Something Good Will Come of This is a striking, compassionate portrait of Mike Bills, a recovering addict. Through him we obtain a glimpse into the journey from legal prescriptions to heroin addiction that has overtaken not only Maine, but the entire nation.

Ursa had been planning to create a film about the Restorative Justice Project of Belfast, Maine, an organization that seeks justice, rehabilitation, and reconciliation with the injured parties and the greater community. The project also works with a reentry center to provide therapeutic programming, educational opportunities, community service, and other approaches to recovery for addicts. 

Then Ursa met Mike, an articulate and candid man now in his thirties who had spent years addicted to opiates. “The two of us got together for coffee,” says Ursa. “He told me his story. It was a profound tale of loss and redemption. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to make a film that would capture Mike’s story of addiction, providing hope about the drug crisis that is devastating families and communities across the country.”

The film has no narration, no music. It portrays Mike through his own words, along with those of his mother and a few others. Mike tells how his addiction began while playing soccer as a student at Maine Maritime Academy. After he suffered a concussion, he was prescribed three very strong narcotic painkillers. The high was like nothing he had experienced before. Speaking in a near-monotone, Mike relates the thefts from family, friends, and strangers to feed his addiction, and speaks of a felony conviction that led to his imprisonment while his grandfather, the man he most looked up to, was dying. Juxtaposed with recollections from Mike’s mother, who vowed never to give up on him, we hear how Mike spent three days on life support in a Bangor emergency room, having been pronounced dead of an overdose, then revived. Most importantly, the film chronicles Mike’s recovery through the reentry center and the Restorative Justice Project. He now seeks to help young people avoid self-destruction.

His voice intensifying just a bit, Mike says, “Do you realize that right now, there are only ten detox beds in the whole State of Maine? Do you realize right now there are only thirty male community-status reentry beds?” This, when Maine suffered more than one drug overdose death a day in 2016, more than double the statistic from five years before.

“That just blows my mind,” continues Mike. “When other states and other countries are proving that therapeutic communities—giving a convict, a felon, an addict, purpose to do better, giving them training, giving them their responsibility back, letting them get their life back on their own, they’re earning it—works.”

Rather than criminalization, Mike adds, “if we humanize addicts, if we give them their own voice, we can solve the crisis.”

Thanks to Mike, notes Ursa, “you don’t simply get to know a recovering addict. You get to know a person. There’s a line near the end of the film that I think illustrates this. While discussing how he’s doing now, Mike says, ‘Today my days are really good. Every addict has setbacks, just like everybody I guess.’” —Donna Gold

Something Good Will Come of This can be screened at: 

https://vimeo.com/240797135 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VrLarvNHIA&t=20


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