Recovery Network: TV channel targets addicts
June 20, 1997
Web posted at: 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT)
From Correspondent Anne McDermott
(CNN) -- You won't find it on most cable television systems,
but the Recovery Network says its target audience is "the 88
million Americans who are affected by the disease of
addiction." That includes the addicts themselves or their
friends and families.
It launched nationally earlier this year after a successful
test run in Boston and is now available in 15 million homes.
Most of the programming -- two hours a day -- is based on
real-life stories of addiction and recovery, from people like
"I'm a recovering alcoholic, addict, food addict, drug
addict, you name it," she tells viewers during a talk
show-styled segment called "Testimony."
Others in recovery tell similar tales on the recorded
program, describing their pain and progress as they struggle
with addictions to gambling, overeating and more.
"The first drink I ever had was in the eighth grade," a young
adult man reveals on the program. "My parents for some odd
reason, said 'If you get a good report card, we'll give you
a glass a beer.'"
Another addict interviewed, an African-American man, says
racism is not to blame for his drug dependency. "I'm not a
drug addict because I'm black. I'm a drug addict because when
I put drugs in my body, something happens."
Eli Montgomery, whose story of recovery was taped for future
airing, says, "The bottom line of my addiction really came
... in the form of insanity."
Now better, she told CNN there is always hope. "You don't
have to end up dead. You don't have to end up in jail."
Non-addicts watch, too
Not all Recovery Network viewers are addicts themselves.
Maria De La Vega watched to help a friend. "I couldn't reach
her by talking to her but I reached her by showing her
something she could identify with."
But as addicts return to more normal lives, there still is
little likelihood the cable channel will lose its audience,
says William Moses, CEO of the Recovery Network.
"Recovery is a lifelong event. One never really recovers.
They're always in recovery."
The channel's advertiser support includes rehabilitation
facilities, insurance company and other businesses offering
services for the recovering.
The network also turned down an ad -- from a beer company.
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