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, October 29, 2010

There are no bad reasons to get sober. During the past 18 years of volunteering as an aftercare facilitator I've heard clients give many reasons why they decided to change their lives.

Some change because of family or poor health. Others quit using for love or financial reasons. Among the most powerful reasons I've heard is from those who do it because of their children. And in this regard men and women seem equally motivated to change because of their children.

During a group this week a client with four children discussed her battles with an addiction that started after one of her oldest child died tragically several years earlier. She described the overwhelming grief that consumed her for years. Alcohol and drugs sometimes masked her pain. But ultimately her drug use put her in prison for five years for a drug offense.

Now, however, she is on parole and working an intense recovery program. Her children live in another state in the care of a family member in a Christian environment. She is determined to grow stronger in her sobriety and ultimately return to raising her children.

Another client told of relinquishing custody of her child to a family member until she gets strong enough in her recovery to resume custody. Her pain, as she discussed temporarily giving up her child, permeated the room. She knows that she will never be a good parent until she gets a period of sobriety. And she wanted her child to be in a safe environment until she achieves that.

In my own case I obtained custody of my seven year old daughter after I was sober two years and raised her until she joined the army. The responsibility of raising that child supported my efforts to stay sober and lead a good life. Even when things got tough I always knew I had the primary responsibility for that girl and she gave me strength when I needed it.

God bless our children for motivating us.