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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Back After Two Years

Last week my grandson showed up after two years. Even though I thought we had a good relationship, he suddenly just dropped of my life. His disappearance came right after I loaned him several thousand dollars to buy a vehicle.

I wasn't sure at the time what had happened – why he suddenly quit talking to me. We’d always had an excellent communication - since he was a small boy. At least I thought so. I read Harry Potter to him when he was a child. And we used to body surf in San Diego while on vacation. I used to visit him while he was in juvenile hall. I could have never predicted that we’d not talk.

Because I've been in the 12 step programs for some 20 years I was able to deal with this emotional experience. I talked to my sponsor about what happened. I talked to my friends about this young man's sudden disappearance. It was very baffling to me. But because I've been sober for nearly 20 years I was able to realize that I don't control the universe.

The consensus was that this boy's drug and alcohol use changed his behavior. For me that was the only explanation.

I was gratified when he showed up. We embraced and cried. I told him that whatever was going on in his life, it didn't mean we had to stop communicating. He said he was ashamed because he hadn’t been in touch. I told him shame was not a great emotion. He agreed to communicate no matter what was going on. I believe most anything can be worked out – but it can't be worked out if we’re not talking.

It's good he’s back. And it's great to have the tools of the program when emotional situations cloud my life.