“Recovery Road”: A Gripping & Triumphant Look At Teen Addiction

Recovery Road Kellie Freeze
The cast of Freeform’s Recovery Road: David Witts as Craig, Kyla Pratt as Trish, Daniel Franzese as Vern, Alexis Carra as Cynthia, Sebastian De Souza as Wes, Jessica Sula as Maddie and Sharon Leal as Charlotte. (ABC Family/Bob D'Amico)
Recovery Road
The cast of Freeform’s Recovery Road: David Witts as Craig, Kyla Pratt as Trish, Daniel Franzese as Vern, Alexis Carra as Cynthia, Sebastian De Souza as Wes, Jessica Sula as Maddie and Sharon Leal as Charlotte. (ABC Family/Bob D’Amico)

Tonight, Freeform ventures into the real and really tragic world of teen addiction with its bright and hopeful Recovery Road. The drama chronicles the recovery process of Maddie, a high school party girl who chooses rehab over expulsion when she’s bound with booze at school. Now Maddie spends her nights at a sober-living facility with other recovering addicts, and attends high school by day while keeping her “secret life” from her friends.

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Jessica Sula stars as Maddie, and the charming young actress knows there’s a lot of pressure riding on her in this role. The series isn’t trying to clarify teenage addiction, but instead shows the traumas, trials and triumphs that recovering addicts face. She explains that in life, “there’s good and bad days, and I think it’s important that you show everything in order to get the full story of who these people are.”  The show focuses on Maddie’s recovery process, with flashbacks to show the depths of her problems, and will also follow her remaining a normal teen, meeting other recovering addicts and adjusting to her new, sober, reality.

Of course, since this is YA television, there has to be a cute boy. Normally, romantic relationships are frowned upon whilst in recovery (focus on your own drama), but this is fiction. Other aspects from the series that you won’t find in usual recovery situations are teens in sober living houses and co-ed living arrangements. But aside from a few instances of dramatic license, the show isn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows. There are stormy days ahead.

Recovery Road
Can Maddie pick up the booze-soaked pieces & build a sober future? (ABC Family/Bob D’Amico)

Recovery Road co-creator Bert V. Royal reveals that the series uses aspects of multiple addiction recovery programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous and the series’ first season will focus on the first 30 days of Maddie’s recovery. He also stresses that although initially pitched as “Romeo and Juliet in rehab,” the series is “certainly not glorifying drug use or alcohol use. And I think there’s something interesting about people who are in sobriety programs. There’s an enlightenment and a new sense of humor that I think a lot of people experience. And what we’ve tried to do is create these characters that you want to check in on every week, because they’re actually really, really fun people and they’re in a really happy place in their life.”

Alexis Carra also stars in the series and adds, “They’re not just recovering addicts. They’re people, and you get to really see the humanity of all of it in the scope of especially with the flashbacks and the history of everybody and then the way we all interact in the house. It’s you want to come back because you want to see how we’re going to help each other up.”

What do you think of Recovery Road? Will you tune in?

Recovery Road > Freeform > Mondays at 9pm ET/PT, beginning Jan. 25

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