INTERVIEW – In the movie “Everything to be happy” Jérôme Adam relies on testimonies from brothers and sisters of drug addicts to make young people aware of the dangers of addiction.
Cédric, Jérôme’s brother, was “beautiful, intelligent, and from a privileged background.” In appearance, the young man had “everything to be happy about”. However, Cédric died at the age of 35 of an alcohol and drug abuse. In the film “Everything to be happy” released in December 2021, Jérôme Adam gathers testimonies from those who, like him, have had a drug-addicted brother or sister. By giving them a voice, he hopes to make potential consumers aware of the trials that families of drug addicts face. In order to reach young people, it regularly arranges debate shows. During these discussions, he insists on the importance of developing solid self-confidence. The producer and author of the documentary Jérôme Adam has had an exceptional journey: blinded by a brain tumor, he graduated from Sciences Po and an MBA from Essec.
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FIGARO STUDENT. Why did you produce this film?
Jerome ADAM – When I saw my daughter grow up, I realized that I was eager to relive with her what I had experienced with my brother. It differs from the numerous testimonies from previous addicts and reports on the effect of the drug. Our documentary is not instructive. We do not learn anything about the products. In fact, drug reporting is not always the most effective. Young people often find it difficult to identify with the very difficult realities presented there. As for testimonies from former addicts, they often allow the addiction to be put into perspective. The young man said to himself, “If he got away with it, I could do it too.” To look at the problem from the siblings’ point of view is to show the potential consumer the misfortune and despair that his addiction could throw his loved ones into.
Why is it so important to get siblings talking?
We often talk about the pain of parents, but the pain of brothers and sisters is almost always forgotten. This film aims at freedom of speech by putting into words an often buried disorder. Brothers and sisters almost always show a sense of helplessness and guilt. This film also invites us to break down the unspoken and reveals the importance of dialogue and communication in families. After the debate shows, parents told us that the discussions in the film had made it possible to build a better dialogue in their families. This film is not limited to the issue of addiction, which we transcend by addressing the issues of youth malaise and the issue of dialogue in families.
What to do when his brother or sister has fallen into drugs?
Often we do not understand why this brother or sister is locked up in drugs. Apparently my brother had “everything to be happy about”. Yet he fell into an addiction that dragged him to his death. Consumption very often hides a deeper problem. In the film, I address my brother’s concerns, and Jean-Yves reveals his brother’s lack of self-confidence. Sophie explains that her sister would like to feel stronger. When the verdict sets in, we ask, “why are you using drugs?”. The right question to ask would rather be “what effect are you looking for?” to identify the person’s real illness. Every situation is different. But you have to listen and show that you care about the person. Sometimes I spent whole nights listening to my brother. We must accept that we do not live the same, we can not act in their place, but listening soothes and is a true testimony of love.
How to avoid falling into addiction?
It seems to me that the addiction can not be explained solely by the product. To prevent addiction, I believe it is essential for young people to develop psychosocial skills, that is, to work with their relationships with others and develop their personal development. In fact, a young person who has self-confidence is much less likely to seek refuge in drugs. To develop these skills, there are school programs like “Unplugged”. In addition to prevention, their goal is to find young people by, in particular, promoting group interactions. As for my daughter, I make sure she develops this confidence through activities like judo or theater that she does next to school.