On the road to recovery

10 Relatable Moments From Freeform’s Recovery Road Premier

Last Monday, Freeform (Previously ABC Family) premiered their brand new series Recovery Road, which follows the life of Maddie Graham, a 17-year-old addict who gets sent to detox and outpatient treatment after getting caught with a bottle of vodka in her locker. Maddie doesn’t think she’s an addict despite her daily drinking and partying and fights her sentence to treatment every step of the way.

As with any other ‘recovery’ related, Hollywood entertainment, I entered the premier with a healthy skepticism. Generally, Hollywood depicts addicts and alcoholics in one of two ways: 1) as horrible junkies with the absence of hope or a future and 2) as cheesy ‘AA thumpers’ with a knack for using one liners like ‘one day at a time’ as the answer for anything.

This is not at all the actual world of recovery.

Addicts and alcoholics come in a variety of personalities, backgrounds, and stories; I would venture to say that no story is completely identical.

With skepticism at the forefront of my mind, I had very low expectations for the premier. How will ABC Family portray an addict in a relatable manner? It just won’t happen. I expected cheesy, far-fetched from the actual road to recovery, and a borderline offensive storyline.

To my surprise, Recovery Road was the closest portrayal to recovery that I have ever witnessed in the entertainment industry.

I found myself tearing up throughout the premier as I felt Maddie’s sincere battle with accepting that she had a problem with drugs and alcohol. Her denial was sincere, her anger was understandable, and her history was rich with pain.

If you are sober and want a clear-cut reminder as to how painful it was to put down the bottle and force willingness, I recommend watching this show.

If you are a family member or a loved one of an alcoholic or addict and you want to better understand what the recovery process really looks like, you should definitely watch this show.

To further establish the greatness of this Freeform TV series, we are sharing the 10 most relatable moments throughout episode one.

WARNING, this blog post featured SPOILERS. If you are interested in watching Recovery Road, you can download the Freeform app on your iPhone or iPad and watch the first episode for free.

Here are the 10 most relatable moments from Recovery Road:
Waking up in random places.

The first scene of the show does a wonderful job of establishing credibility with the majority of alcoholics and addicts. Many an alcoholic and addict can relate to waking up in strange places: lawns (not your own), random houses, your car, someone else’s car, etc. When Maddie woke up in a lawn as the sprinklers went off, she exemplified very little shock about the situation as if she was completely used to waking up anywhere but her bed. Where there should be panic, there is simply annoyance.

Carrying a water bottle full of… not water.

Water and vodka, though they have the same transparency have very little in common. Many alcoholics and addicts can relate to hiding their liquor in ways that would make most people blush. When Maddie took a sip of her water while her mother drove her to school (because she could not find her car, by the way), we all knew that wasn’t water. Nice try, Maddie.

Experiencing the five stages of grief when coerced to get help.

Though most alcoholics or addicts may not have experienced the entire spectrum of grief emotions while in the car on the way to treatment, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance was most likely present during the first 30 days of treatment.

Sheer annoyance while speaking to someone on a ‘pink cloud.’

Watching Maddie cringe as Trish raved about sobriety and how ‘great’ her life is now that she is sober and off of methamphetamine was entirely too relatable. When you’re miserable, the last topic you want to discuss is how ‘awesome’ life is. However, Trish’ pink cloud came in handy when Maddie had a breakdown in the bathroom. Maybe a pink cloud isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

Relapse dreams.

When Wes shared about his relapse dream in a state of panic and remorse, your heart aches for him. Relapse dreams are exhausting and debilitating. Despite doing nothing wrong, you feel criminal. The dream feels all too real, and causes questioning: are you really sober? Do you want to be sober? Do you still have reservations? Wes, we get it.

“I just don’t belong here. I am here because I have to be.”

Hmm, how many times have you heard this one? Better yet, how many times did you say this in your first 30 days of sobriety? Lost count? Yes, we understand. Maddie sat in a room where she evidently belonged and felt like an outsider. To her surprise, the room erupted in laughter as Vern claimed: “You’re right. Excuse me? I don’t think I belong here either.” Thank goodness for a little humor.

Making excuse after excuse why you drank or used.

When Maddie had her first tension-filled ride to school with the guidance counselor, she provided a laundry list of reasons for her drinking and using. “I drank because of you…” only works for so long before you address your part. But, of course, this takes time to accept. You’ll get there Maddie.

“You don’t even know me, why do you care?”

When first getting sober, it is hard to accept that anyone would want to talk to you let alone help you with your daily struggles of staying sober. Vern was right when he said: “you’ll see why we do what we do.” Though the help may seem overwhelming and confusing, it is the best thing for you in your early days of sobriety.

Standing in fright as you see alcohol for the first time at the store.

When Maddie and Wes snuck out of their sober living to make a trip to the drugstore, they were both mesmerized and petrified by the cooler of beer at the exit. As an alcoholic, there is temptation everywhere as Craig elaborates in the group. This is one of the biggest adjustments to leaving treatment; fortunately, there are plenty who went before us with success stories.

Noticing yourself start to accept recovery, and feeling like your body is in shock.

As Maddie was journaling on her window sill at the conclusion of this episode, she made clear that despite the fact that she is not a self-care junkie and resents positive affirmations, she actually doesn’t find her sober living to be the worst form of punishment. When we start to accept that recovery is less daunting and more fun that we could have imagined, it is almost an uncomfortable shock to our conscious.

Let’s Watch Episode 2, Together

Recovery Road has proven to understand the world of recovery more so than we imagined. If you’re interested in watching Maddie grow in her sobriety, you can watch Recovery Road tonight at 9/8c.

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