Gabrielle Rosson, ’19, only had to try heroin once to become hooked. It took a decade to completely break her addiction.
“I want people to know you can make it out,” said Gabrielle, 40, who studies English with a concentration in teaching at Bridgewater State University and comes from a family that has battled alcohol and drug addiction. “I feel like people don’t hear the positive stories enough.”
For her honors thesis on the role of art in addiction and recovery, Gabrielle wrote and produced a short film, Get Up Eight, loosely based on her story. She presented her movie Monday at BSU’s annual Student Arts & Research Symposium. The event featured more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students, the most in its history.
Students often praise faculty mentors for invaluable guidance and support. Gabrielle is no exception, thanking professors such as John Mulrooney, her mentor for the film, and Dr. Michele Meek, who taught her screenwriting.
“I don’t think I ever would have done this had I never been a student here,” Gabrielle said. “I would not have had the resources or encouragement if I hadn’t been a student here.”
Gabrielle, a Barnstable resident who came to Bridgewater after earning an associate’s degree from Cape Cod Community College, received a grant from BSU to help fund the production.
“This is really one of the greatest things I’ve ever had a chance to work with a student on. This is a real achievement,” said Mulrooney, an associate professor of English. “I think this is a film that will have a life outside of this day and this event.”
Gabrielle is putting finishing touches on the movie, which she hopes to submit to festivals and show wherever it can make a difference. She works for Cape Cod Community Media Center and wants to use her Bridgewater education to one day teach English as a second language.
While the film is not a documentary, the plot’s connections to Gabrielle’s experiences are apparent. Gabrielle lost her dad to an overdose and had to regain custody of one of her two children. She knew she couldn’t end up like her father and turned her life around after having her second child.
“He showed me a perfect example of what not to do,” she said. “When I was in his shoes, I couldn’t die. It wasn’t an option. … I owe him a debt of gratitude because I get to live.”
Gabrielle overcame her addiction, and she pulls from a Japanese proverb to offer that message of hope to her audience:
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
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