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, April 29, 2011

Don't Break the Cycle of Giving...

A client came to me this week because he was having a problem with his ego. It seems he'd spoken out of turn, before he could think through his situation.

"Some of my family offered to fly me to my son's graduation," he told me. "But for some reason my ego wouldn't let me accept the help. They've done so much for me over the years and through my addictions that I don't want to ask them for anything else. Now I'm not sure how I'm going to get to the graduation. Or if I'll get to go."

My suggestion was to tell them exactly what he told me. When he talked to me he was very transparent and honest and upfront about what was going on with him. I had no argument or disagreement with anything he told me. I knew exactly what he meant. If he talks to his family the same they’ll appreciate his candor and his about-face. And obviously they can afford to help him – or they wouldn't have made the offer.

I'm not sure what he'll do but I believe he should do whatever it takes for him to make it to his son's graduation. This client has spent years in prison and on the streets pursuing his addiction. Naturally, in these circumstances he neglected his family even though he continued to love them. Although he has a job he likely won't have enough money to buy the plane ticket to the Midwestern city where his son is graduating from high school.

My sponsor told me this a long time ago: when people are trying to help accept their help - if I need it. He said one of the laws of the universe is to not break the cycle of giving. If someone wants to help, then accept. He said there’ll come a time when I'll be able to help another - that's how the cycle of giving works.

That’s what I told our client. While I'm not sure if he'll accept my advice, if he does he'll experience growth.