Son's Addiction Made HBO Project Personal for Network Exec

HBO's acclaimed new documentary series “Addiction” has its roots partly in the personal struggle of a top network executive to deal with her son's addiction to alcohol and cocaine, the Associated Press reported March 13.

Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, traced the origins of the 18-film series to her realization that she knew little about the illness confronting her son, David.

“I was doing all these things and it never occurred to me it was a brain disease,” she said. “I didn't know the relapse rate was between 75 and 85 percent. I didn't really know. I thought relapse was my failure as a parent and his failure as a child.”

Nevins said that she realized that her ignorance was likely shared by many other Americans, and that she was in a unique position to do something about it. “I don't know about informational programming, but I do know documentaries,” she said. “I thought if there was a way to combine information with the passion of a documentary producer, it would be a great way of getting things across.”

David, 26, has now been sober for about a year. Nevins said the HBO project “gives dignity to the addict. They are responsible for seeking treatment, not responsible for the disease.” 

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