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Recovery Network: TV channel targets addicts

Recovery Network logo

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 Delaney.

"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

William Moses

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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