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Recovering AA Members Share Their Raw Opinions On CBS' Mom

There are plenty of TV shows out there that tackle mature issues like addiction and substance abuse, but few are willing to base their entire premise around these concepts in the same way that CBS' "Mom" does. Across eight seasons, the series explores the individual lives of mother-daughter duo and recovering alcoholics Bonnie and Christie Plunkett (Allison Janney and Anna Faris). The show also delves into the complex and often strained dynamic they have with each other (Christie's absence in Season 8 aside). But while the story is rather heavy for a sitcom, it approaches the material with surprising levity in order to craft an altogether hilarious and hopeful depiction of addiction recovery and family ties.

Of course, any series that delves into such mature subject matter opens itself up to scrutiny from those with lived experiences that parallel the contents of the show.  When it comes to opinions on how respectful and accurate "Mom" truly is in terms of the way it tackles these heavy topics, real-life Alcoholic Anonymous members have some strong opinions.

Many AA members praise Mom's depiction of recovery

While "Mom" certainly takes a risk by highlighting the comedy in what can be a sensitive process for some, its bid pays off. Many "Mom" fans who have experience with AA have praised the show for its depiction of these issues. "I love how they tackle life and sobriety and all the ins and outs," u/pblack177 wrote in a post on the r/CBS_Mom subreddit. "I approach my own recovery with humour, and I'm able to laugh at how insane I was and all the dumb s**t I did when drinking."

While the show possesses some typical sitcom hallmarks — there are some fluffy "Mom" episodes that fans skip when rewatching — it's also not afraid to explore the darker elements of addiction recovery. Some fans have praised the show's threading between lightheartedness and seriousness for assisting them with their own sobriety journey. "I feel like this show actually helps me," u/HumanStain49 commented. "It gives me a sense of actually having some sober friends going through the same things I am."

Series co-creator Gemma Baker attributed part of the show's success to the writers' knowledge of when to dial back the comedy. "I think that's part of the reason why Mom works — we have emotional moments and we tell difficult stories," she said in an interview with SoberRecovery. "It's not just always wall-to-wall jokes because that would be difficult for people whose lives have been torn apart by the disease of alcoholism and addiction."

Mom is accurate to real-life recovery

"Mom" has also been recognized for its accuracy to real-life recovery stories, right down to including the exact terminology used in actual AA meetings. In 2016, TV Guide gathered a panel of recovering alcoholics to analyze how accurate popular TV shows with themes of addiction recovery were to the real thing. The group ranked "Mom" as the most accurate television depiction of the subject. "I would feel comfortable saying 'Yeah, it's like that' to somebody who is not in recovery but watches this show," one of the panelists said.

Of course, the show isn't a perfect recreation of how these issues play out in real life. There are even some pretty logic-defying "Mom" moments riddled throughout and the series often takes dramatic liberties to better fit its storytelling medium. For example, u/socksthekitten noted the dialogue during the AA meetings is more plot-focused than realistic, though they understood the change. "I agree that some things wouldn't happen IRL, but it'd be a boring show if it was closer to reality," the user commented.

Still, achieving accuracy served as a motivating factor for the creative team of "Mom." According to series co-creator Chuck Lorre, research was key in developing the story. "It's important to stay honest and true to what these issues are really about, not to make things up necessarily," he told Variety. "That would be unfair — that would be like cheating. We're trying to maintain some honesty when we're dealing with these issues."