Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

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

Friday, September 24, 2010

The young woman's voice broke, and her eyes filled with tears, as she spoke of her mother, a drug addict who died last year in her sleep. Her heroin addict father had recently been released from prison after serving six years and lived with her and her children. Her story reminded of the damage that our addictions do to others.

She talked of living with drug addict family members all of her life until she was able to move into her own apartment. She said she thought drug use was normal when she was growing up. Throughout her childhood she was accustomed to seeing family members use drugs. She witnessed firsthand all of the behavior that goes with an addict. Fortunately, she made a decision at an early age to do something different with her life. She was proud of being placed on her college honor roll. She had a good job and was able to support her two children.

Many times our clients say they never hurt anyone else when they use drugs. The only person they hurt was themselves. But the reality is when we live in a society and engage in any kind of antisocial activities we harm not only those close to us, but society as a whole. Because we don't live in a vacuum, our behavior always affects those around us, even if the effect is only minimal.

This woman's two children, by the grace of God, will never have to see their mother use drugs in front of them.