‘Recovery Road’ Earns Buzz For Depicting Life Of A Recovering Teen Addict

By Victoria Kim 01/19/16

Just don't expect the show to be entirely realistic.

Jessica Sula
Jessica Sula plays Maddie Shutterstock

The new TV series Recovery Road has generated a good amount of buzz in the weeks leading up to its broadcast debut on Jan. 25. But it’s doubtful that real recovering addicts will be amused by its depiction of recovery.

The show, which will air on Freeform, the network formerly known as ABC Family, will likely be a hit with teenagers or anyone who enjoys a good TV drama. It is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Blake Nelson.

The stars will likely draw loyal followings. The cast includes Jessica Sula (known for the British series Skins), Kyla Pratt (former Disney star on The Proud Family and Dr. Dolittle), and Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls, Looking).

Just don’t expect it to be realistic.

Television in general tends to glorify whatever subject matter that it tackles, and Recovery Road is no exception. What else can the viewer take away from a good looking cast, the charm of a well-dressed set, and endless drama?

The show tries to get real but it can only accomplish this within the confines of airing on a basic cable network and young women being a major part of Freeform’s target audience.

Recovery Road revolves around Maddie, who is forced to choose between being expelled from high school or spending her nights in a sober living facility. She is an alcoholic but struggles, as any headstrong teenager might, to accept her place in the sober home.

The first three episodes are available for streaming on Freeform’s website. Judging by those episodes, the show is similar to Orange is the New Black in the way each episode gives a glimpse into the past lives of each resident in the sober home and how they got there.

The show touches on some basic themes of recovery. The difficulty of accepting the idea of a God or higher power—“[God] doesn’t have to be an old man with a beard in the sky. It could be anything. It could be nature, like the ocean. Or it could be the group. All you have to believe is that there is a God. And it is in you.”—the controversial nature of Suboxone, and the struggle of relapse, to name a few.

Recovery Road will probably do well given that its target demographic is so far loving the first few episodes, judging by the comments left on the show’s Facebook page.

But whether those who know the reality of battling substance abuse will enjoy it just as much remains to be seen. We’d love to know what you think about Recovery Road. Let us know your thoughts in the section below or on our Facebook page.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr