'16 and Recovering': Students of Northshore Recovery School celebrate graduation day after battling addiction

The young students overcame trauma, stigma, mental health concerns and addiction in their journey that led to this day where they could celebrate a milestone

                            '16 and Recovering': Students of Northshore Recovery School celebrate graduation day after battling addiction
Johnny and Michelle Lipinsky (MTV)

'16 and Recovering' came to an end today. The MTV show was announced last month and it started airing at the beginning of September to commemorate National Recovery Month, a national observance for the past 31 years that aims to ease the dialogue around addiction and recovery. '16 and Recovering' was announced as a four-part limited series.

The episode that aired on Tuesday night (September 22) was the final episode from the series and while the past three episodes were traumatic and sad, this episode felt like a ray of sunshine. The students at Northshore Recovery School, where this series was shot, were two weeks away from graduation. It was a very important milestone for these young hopefuls to transition into a new life.

However, the founder of Northshore, Michelle Lipinski, was not very happy about the celebrations. In a confessional, Michelle said that the school serves as a safe haven for students, and in the past, there were a lot of incidents reported about Northshore passouts succumbing to overdose. This theory was somehow confirmed by students who were two weeks away from graduation but weren't happy to leave as they weren't sure about what awaited them outside life at the school. 

At the beginning of this episode, Michelle got news that her students Josh and Emily were expecting a baby. It was a worrisome situation for all parties involved, however, Michelle stepped in and adviced Josh to talk to his father and break the news to him. Surprisingly, the conversation with his father went well and it felt like a weight was lifted off them all.

Another student of Michelle who was dealing with a lot of emotions ahead of graduation was Johnny. He had aged out of his foster care and needed to find a new place for himself but he was unsuccessful in doing so. All of this was weighed him down and he chose to fall back on drugs in order to cope. However, it didn't help his situation and he spiraled from there.

He was brought back to the school by Emily and after a while, Michelle was able to calm him down. Another student, Abbie tested positive for benzos because the prospect of life outside Northshore was not something she felt she was ready for. 

It was quite a chaotic time for everyone at the school but in the end, with the help of support from one another and the staff at Northshore, the students finally made it to graduation day. After getting their degrees, they all took turns to deliver emotional thank yous to everyone present in the room. Everyone was thankful for the people present in the room and even for the ones that they lost to addiction but were there in spirit.

After the final episode aired, audiences took to Twitter to express their gratitude towards this show. "So many tears. I'm going to miss Michele and these kids. This ending couldn't have been more hopeful and beautiful. Thank you for letting us into you're world. #16andRecovering" read a tweet. "I’m honestly sad that this only got 4 episodes! I honestly want more. I’m so happy for these students! #16andRecovering," wrote another. "There needs to be more episodes of this show. What an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t know these kids but I’m proud of them and their accomplishment in graduating highschool. Johnny, stay alive and become that nurse so you can continue helping others #16andRecovering," read another tweet. 






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