Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The call came early in the morning, around 5 AM. And like most calls at that time of day the news wasn't good. A 20-year-old client of our program had been found dead of a probable drug overdose. It was devastating to hear that a man of his age had succumbed to his addiction.

The literature promises that if we fail to deal with our addictions three things await us: jails, institutions, or death. In this young man's case it was, sadly, the latter.

It is it is frustrating when those we try to help succumb to our disease. We know we are powerless over others. We know that life teaches us what works and what doesn't. For those of us in the recovery field it is sometimes hard to accept that our power over others stops when we deliver the message. Once we deliver the message, the outcome is up to the recipient.

Those of us in recovery want to share the blessings with those who are still battling our disease. We try to help them understand that there is a good life in sobriety. We want to let them know they can get their families back. They can regain their self-respect. They don't have to live with the anxiety of seeking drugs and risking their lives or freedom. It can be so clear to those of us who have been sober for a while.

For many years others tried to help me get sober. And I know those close to me felt the same kind of frustration that I feel when our clients don't get the message.