Freeform's latest drama is "Recovery Road," based on the popular YA novel of the same name by Blake Nelson. It stars Jessica Sula as Maddie, a party girl who is confronted with a choice -- expulsion from school or rehab.
Maddie chooses to live in a group home for recovering addicts, where an assortment of new people come into her life -- some friendly, like Sebastian de Souza's Wes, and some that are not so friendly. But what they all have in common is facing the pressures of teenage life and trying not to succumb to the temptation of drugs and alcohol.
Sula tells Zap2it that the honest exploration of addiction is what drew her to the project.
"[Maddie] doesn't know she's an addict, so I did a lot of research on addiction myself. I read a lot of psychology books about the mind of addiction, I went to a couple open AA meetings," says Sula, adding that she discovered a lot about how alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases.
"It is a disease and it does take over," says Sula. "It's not something that you can just shut down. If it's in your brain, it's a whole other side of you that's communicating with you and people don't really have patience for addicts because they're being hurt or they don't understand why they can do this to themselves.
"[The show] sheds a light on how nothing that they do is on purpose to anyone, it's just a sheer battle within their minds that this is what they're worth, this is what they deserve and they need to recreate that first high they had -- they're trying to escape from something."
De Souza adds that what he likes about "Recovery Road" is the fact that it shows these kinds of problems aren't only for adults, they happen to teenagers as well.
"It makes people more aware that this is something that goes on and being able to perhaps understand better what it means to be a young person in this country. Kids take drugs and they drink and they have sex. And there are ways people can get better if they're in trouble. That's exciting to me, being involved in [a show] that shows that," says de Souza.
"It's an honest show with a lot of heart and love, but it's also quick and it's funny. It has a nice way of painting teenagers where they're not all monosyllabic, they're quite sharp and they're very hyper-aware and have real-life struggles and problems that are overlooked because they're young," adds Sula.
"Recovery Road" premieres Monday, Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.
Reporting by Megan Vick