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.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's easy to stay sober when life is good and things are wonderful. But it's when times are tough that the program provides support. I was reminded of this the other day when the mother of an old friend called. Her son had been sober for some time then relapsed when he faced some adversity. She was happy to tell me that he had finally gone back into treatment and had been sober for nearly a month.

On the outside it seemed that this man had everything going for him in sobriety. He went to three or four meetings a week. He sponsored others. He even taught a relapse prevention class at a local treatment program as a volunteer. He also had a great job, a nice place to live and a decent vehicle.

Then one day the company he'd been working for several years told him they were cutting his position in an effort to save money during a downturn. Within four hours he was drinking. Within days he had lost his apartment, his vehicle, and was living on the streets.

His friends and family were shocked at his rapid descent back into the grips of alcoholism. Periodic reports came in from those who had seen him at different liquor stores in town, drunk and disheveled. It was another testimonial for all of us of the power of our disease.

But what happened? How had he been sober one day, then drunk the next? Here was a man who was steeped in the literature of the 12 step programs. Why had something as small as losing his job precipitated his return to drinking? There are no easy answers.

But it says in the literature that if we are not spiritually fit there may come a moment when we'll drink again.