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.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sacrifice? Or Act of Love?

A friend of mine and I were talking about an addict who’d given her children up for adoption. He didn't think it was a good idea to give up the children. He questioned how much the mother loved the children.

However, I disagreed with him. I believe one of the best things an addict or alcoholic can do is to make sure their children are in a good environment. To me it takes a lot more courage and love to give up the children than it does to drag them through endless rounds of addiction, trashy apartments, and an unstable life.

My brother and I were raised in an alcoholic home. We experienced ongoing abuse from a raging alcoholic father – and an angry stepmother. Our life was chaos, fear, and the constant anxiety of never knowing what to expect. County authorities intervened on more than one occasion. They offered to put me in foster care. But at the time I was so insecure and afraid that I couldn't make that decision.

Being raised in this environment led me to years of drug use, incarceration, mental hospitals and broken relationships. I was fortunate enough to get find recovery; my brother died of alcoholism at an early age.

It takes great courage and sacrifice to recognize our addiction is destroying our children's lives – and to make the decision to let them be adopted. To me it’s an indication that someone is not blindly self-centered when they’re able to make this kind of decision.

There are many childless couples looking for children to raise. They must be saluted because they're willing to take on the children of addicts and alcoholics with the knowledge these children might have serious emotional issues by the time the adoption is completed.