‘Recovery Road’ Recap: Freeform Nails Accurate Depiction Of Addiction

Recovery Road is one of two new dramas on the Freeform network, formerly ABC Family, and after seeing the first three episodes I was pleasantly surprised. Naturally, I found the show intriguing, but I was skeptical for a number of reasons. Addiction and recovery in the media has always been depicted as a very hush-hush topic with characters that were helpless nuisances, the banes of society. On the other hand, it isn’t very often you come across a show that talks about recovery the way that people in real life see it. Until now.

“Recovery Road” Live Tweeting Q&A on Inpatient vs. Outpatient

#LetsTalkRecovery: “Recovery Road” Live Tweeting Q&A on Inpati…During last night’s #RecoveryRoad’s live chat on twitter (@TDHrehab) the question was asked what is the difference between inpatient and outpatient? #LetsTalkRecovery

Posted by The Discovery House on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The show opens on Maddie, a young teen who is blissfully unaware that she may be hitting her rock bottom. On top of waking up on the lawn in last night’s clothes, we get glimpses throughout the show that her “so called addiction” is actually pretty legit. Her reckless behavior lands her in trouble at school when her guidance counselor, Cynthia, mysteriously finds a water bottle full of vodka in Maddie’s locker. She’s given an ultimatum; 24 hour detox and 90 days in a sober living facility OR she must face expulsion. She begrudgingly chooses the latter and thus begins her road to recovery.   When she arrives at Springtime Meadows, a sober living facility, she meets a ton of new people all in recovery for a variety of reasons. Maddie goes through the motions that most addicts do when they first arrive at a treatment center, like feeling angry and thinking that she doesn’t really belong there. We get a peek into her past through flashbacks that we can only assume are slowly coming back to her from her reckless night of blackout drinking and using. She finds a new friend and roommate in Trish, played by Kyla Pratt, and shares a recovery heart to heart with Vern, played by Daniel Franzese. We also find out that she has an old friend, Rebecca Granger, who also lives at Springtime Meadows and with whom she shares a mysterious past that I can’t wait to hear more about. Not to mention a potential love interest in the brooding and adorable, Wes.

We will be live tweeting Recovery Road’s debut on Freeform TONIGHT! Follow us @TDHrehab to ask us any questions you might have during the show! #RecoveryRoad Posted by The Discovery House on Monday, January 25, 2016

I think that through being in the hot seat and seeing first hand the complexity of these new people, is jarring for Maddie, but I think it’s also intriguing and almost inspiring to her. When she is in a group and everyone is sharing their feelings and where they are at in their recovery journey, she is quite obviously uncomfortable but still you can see that hint of compassion. Or when she dumps the vodka in front of Wes and apologizes for potentially sacrificing both of their sobriety. If her sobriety isn’t important to her, it’s apparent that everyone else’s is. While many of the show’s story lines are a little predictable, there is a certain raw honesty to each character that makes them uniquely relatable. Because we’ve never really seen shows delve into these kinds of characters in depth, it’s so very refreshing to see addicts of varying ages depicted as who they are instead of what they are. People who have maybe gone through some trauma (Maddie), or made a mistake or two (Trish) but really they are just people like you and me. Recovery Road is on-screen proof that addiction doesn’t discriminate and that it really can happen to anyone.

Did you watch the premiere last night? If no, don’t worry. You can catch the first three episodes on the Freeform app as well as the show live on Mondays at 9pm pacific.

Don’t forget that I will be live tweeting each new episode at @lilouinla and for @TDHRehab, so please feel free to join in on the conversation or ask any questions you may have about addiction and recovery. I will also choose one question each week to include in our #LetsTalkRecovery video series.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, reach out to The Discovery House today at (855) 203-7930 where we can help you discover your recovery

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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