Recovery Road a lighthearted, yet misleading glimpse into life in treatment.
If this new television program is a harbinger of more things to come we should expect a generous uptick in addiction related material for mainstream entertainment consumption. Incidentally, the fact that most entertainment material originates from artists and writers who use drugs recreationally in order to tap into their innate creative talents is of utter importance.
Content that is geared towards addiction and drug abuse is being marketed to younger and younger audiences becoming ever-increasingly bolder in their attempts to capture the minds of the most coveted and impressionable demographic. Television programs of the 90’s tackled the drug oriented subject matter in earnest but with no real continuity and thoughtfulness. The adult coming of age addiction themes still persist today and are as relevant as ever. Sex, drugs, and rock n roll will always be something inextricably linked to the teen angst of adolescence.
Most recently, Steven Okazaki’s documentary Heroin: Cape Cod gives an extremely candid and distressing glimpse into the dreary lives of 8 youths as they battle their opioid addictions while their lives crumble around them. The film has a cold and bleak backdrop painting a melancholy portrait of innocence lost and the drug-addled despair of hopelessness stemming from addiction.
Recovery Road is following in the footsteps of shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Degrassi Junior High and hopes to provide a fresh new youthful take on addiction for a new generation. Rehab culture is on display front and center yet still doesn’t adequately reflect the true grit and authenticity of the reality behind the treatment community.
The series centers around a young teenage girl who has a proclivity towards drug use and erratic behavior. The show is set in the wake of a particularly raucous episode, with the protagonist inebriated and unconscious on the front lawn and the sprinklers going off on her head. This character then begins to exhibit every cliche pathological attribute of an addict including frequently losing her belongings to narrowly avoiding expulsion from school. The school’s austere but well-meaning guidance counselor, who also so happens to be a former user, issues a decree to our heroine: she can either attend a detox and 90 day sober living facility while still attending school or risk permanent expulsion.
The main character then struggles with the ensuing feelings of guilt and shame from having to enter recovery against her own will. She makes concerted efforts to conceal her rehab stay from her boyfriend and family.
This is the problem with Recovery Road from the outset as the show is built on the pretense of deceit and lying. Honesty is an important element and cornerstone of any successful recovery program and it is routinely downplayed on the show. The show casts an indifferent attitude and is generally dismissive of the sincere and virtuous ideals recovery programs have as their foundations.
Yet again, this show could hardly be seen as the champion advocate of authentically depicting the lifestyle of outpatient sober community living. The rest of the cast is a gaggle of comely prototypical addiction hierarchical personalities who all do their best to get into some kind of hijinx where hilarity inevitably goes down. The series is replete with sordid web love triangles of lust and deception and palpable sexual tension you could cut with a knife.
What’s most bizarre about Recovery Road is the way in which the concepts of AA and the 12 step method are conveyed. Making amends and righting wrongs seem like abstract philosophical ideals that would best go unmentioned. It appears as if the more nobler aspects of recovery have been distilled down into trivial and superficial afterthoughts.
Is Recovery Road a scathinlgy accurate account of the pitfalls of drug addiction and subsequent treatment? No. What it is is pure debauchery which makes a mockery of the recovery industry. That being said it was kind of fun to watch similar to how the National Enquirer is to read on occasion.