I got hooked. I heard about it, watched and got hooked after the first episode! Course, I am an alcoholic/addict and may be prone to getting addicted to just about anything if Iâ€™m not careful!
Iâ€™m talking about the Monday night sitcom, Mom. The half-hour show airs weekly and is about a day in the life of mother and daughter alcoholics. I wondered how anything about this scenario could be funny, but it really is! And better than that, itâ€™s a pretty accurate portrayal.
Mom is brash. She was a hard-partying exotic dancer who didnâ€™t mind circumventing the law and sometimes still wants to. Her daughter grew up in craziness and became an alcoholic/addict herself. Both are in recovery. Both attend AA meetings and do their best to make sense of the new foreign rules of recovery. What I love about it is that itâ€™s so accurate. Anybody in recovery can see it was written by someone whoâ€™s been there.
Created by Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker in 2013, the show is already generating accolades and awards – three Peopleâ€™s Choice nominations, Favorite New TV Comedy, and Favorite Actress in a New TV Series for both Anna Faris and Allison Hanney, respectively.
Daughter and lead character Faris, who plays Christy Plunkett, was the original center of the show, but once Hanney, who plays Christyâ€™s mom, Bonnie Plunkett, came on board, itâ€™s hard to say who is really the lead. They both grab our attention and keep it, and both are a hoot as they mire through life determined to stay sober and do the right thing – even if it kills them!
They attend meetings and have sponsors. Cristyâ€™s daughter is living out the family dynamics by becoming pregnant as a teenager. Grandma Bonnie lost her job (yes the shit still hits the fan for sober people doing the right thing), so she moves in with Christy and her grandkids. Christyâ€™s a waitress, and Bonnie hasnâ€™t quite lost her sleazy edge and conniving ways, but she usually redeems herself in the end. Christy is having an affair with her boss at the high-end restaurant where she works, illustrating that those in recovery do not turn into â€œsaints.â€
Grandma Bonnie and Christyâ€™s sponsor know each other from â€œout thereâ€ and trade snide remarks along with good advice. Though itâ€™s a comedy, the subject material is relevant and thought provoking. Thereâ€™s rule-breaking and mistakes – lessons learned the hard way. One of the newbies at their favorite meeting, Regina (played by Octavia Spenser), is battling the courts and her own demons, still a little too fresh off the streets. This appeals to Bonnieâ€™s street smart attitude, but sensibility wins in the end. A few episodes ago, she had to face the court for the crimes she committed while under the influence, much like my own first sponsor did.
I could outline each episode, but what fun would that be? Each show is part of a continuum much like soap operas, but each show has a conclusion, as well. I appreciate that itâ€™s not all sweet and nice, because real life and real recovery isnâ€™t like that. Iâ€™m surprised at how they portray the characters as they sit in meetings; for those who have never been, the way they address each other and share is pretty much how it is. The show also portrays how strong the bond becomes between those pursing a better life after addiction. Doing the right thing may be best, but that doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s easy. Especially if you havenâ€™t been taught exactly what the heck the right thing is! You really see all that and appreciate the struggle.
Many, myself included, once thought that out of rehab would be a bright, fresh new life waiting for me. Not! What was waiting for me was the mountain of problems and unattended-to business, all needing to be dealt with. The disarray I had made of my life was all too glaringly real in early sobriety. And emotions? The show brings me back to how it was. Bonnie even has a relapse after losing her job and we get to see her in all her glory and all her misery.
The show is one whoâ€™s time was due. And approaching lifeâ€™s snags with a little humor is not a bad thing, by far. Most of us take life too seriously as it is. Alcoholics Anonymous has come a long way since the early days shrouded in mystery, and itâ€™s not bad to dispel the uneasiness one may feel just out of treatment, by giving one a glimpse of what we do there. I believe our society is reevaluating the way we look at addiction in general, and thatâ€™s a good thing. What I do not see is shame, embarrassment, and unrealistic expectations. Thatâ€™s a good thing, too. Even muddier recovery issues, like women breaking the dysfunctional cycle families get caught up in, are touched upon and dealt with in a surprisingly delicate, but realistic manner. Love in early recovery? Mistakes? Got all that, too, with nary a preachy undertone.
The show airs on CBS, on Monday nights here in the Midwest. Itâ€™s a good watch for those in recovery, those contemplating recovery, or anyone curious a about how it is for us. This seasonâ€™s final episode airs April 14, but I would bet there will be many more seasons, as well as DVDs. Check it out!
B. Lenz, Intervention Services