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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

One lesson I've relearned this Christmas season is the impact our disease has on those around us. I have a relative who got sober several years ago, but really never got into the 12 step programs. He's been away from his wife and sober members of his family during the Christmas season. No one is sure of his whereabouts.

However, for seven or eight years he was successful in his business and personal life, at least to a degree. he had a job making nearly $100,000 a year. He bought a home and got married. He went to church. But, he really never got into the basics of 12-step recovery. He didn't get a sponsor, he didn't go to meetings. He voiced that he'd completed the 1st step, but if he had, that was the extent of it.

Eventually, though, it all caught up with him because he hadn't done any work on himself. He still had the same residual anger at the way he was raised. He still was full of resentments. Everyone else was the problem or the cause of his problems. He lived totally by his feelings; reason and logic had little place in his limited repertoire of coping skills.

And the result is he's been away from home a few days, reportedly using pain pills and hanging out with family members who are long-time addicts. In some ways it is sad, but in others it might be good.

In my experience relapse can be a good thing if one is able to return and realize that alcohol or drugs doesn't work for them.