THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY TO presents: “RECOVERY”
by Anne Lucas
The drug addiction epidemic shows no sign of slowing down. How do the mothers of addicts recover?
“Recovery” is a drama of three young women, all lost in the pain of addiction, and their mothers. They meet at a place called The Mountain Rehab, where all six women must confront their problems, and are influenced and guided by two competing characters who battle for their souls: Reverend Stephanie Jackson, the spiritual director of the institution who is also a recovering alcoholic, and a Demon who embodies all temptation. He is Rev. Jackson’s Jungian shadow. Like the Devil in Daniel Webster, he manifests her inner demons and challenges her for the souls of the young women. The play explores the experience of addiction from the perspective of two generations. Denial is portrayed is a powerful tool in the weaponry of darkness and facing the truth is portrayed as a painful path but the only one that leads to lasting recovery. The audience is taken on an uplifting journey from darkness to light.
Playwright Anne Marilyn Lucas says, “It would be remarkable if anyone didn’t have an addict in the family or as a friend.” Her aim in this play–which she went back to graduate school to write–is to reach the addicts’ mothers and families, with whom she strongly identifies. In 21st century America, Lucas points out, there are there really only two kinds of parents: those who have experienced addiction in people they love, and those who are yet to. So the wise parent is the one who understands this disease. Lucas adds, “Nobody talks about the mental and emotional changes that occur in parents who are desperately trying to keep their children alive. There’s a self-neglect that goes with the myopic focus on saving your kid.” She observes that because of addiction, parents not only lose their children, they sometimes lose their financial security (including their homes) and descend into depressions they can’t get out of. Understanding addiction as a medical problem, not a moral failing, is the key to overcoming it. Denial–on the family level as well as the social policy level–is the primary obstacle. The play is conceived to illustrate the mechanisms of denial and healing.
Many incidents of the play come from Lucas’ own life, but they are spread across three families. Hailing from different socioeconomic backgrounds, each daughter character has fallen victim to a different substance of choice, but they are not street children or abandoned kids. They are children middle-class families–the kind where parents are unlikely to talk about their kids’ addictions because they are ashamed. Lucas hopes the play can reach such people, who often need to know more than they know right now.