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, September 25, 2011

Ready to Relapse

            “I have this urge to go back home,” an out of state client said during aftercare group last night. “But I know I’m not strong enough to stay clean. I’ll be using with a week.”

Her statement summed up the dilemma that faces many addicts and alcoholics. We usually have an intuitive warning when we’re putting ourselves in danger. It’s that precarious balancing point where we know if we don’t make the right move we’ll relapse. One more time we're facing disaster.

This client wanted to return home because she missed her adult children. Yet all but one of them had moved on – some to different parts of the country. She missed them terribly because she’d focused on being a mother her whole life – and when they left on she hadn’t filled the vacuum.

One group member suggested she find employment or do volunteer work that would allow her to help others – such as at a hospital or a hospice. Another thought she might benefit from joining a fitness club, a church or social group. These activities might build her build new relationships that – while not not equal to those with her children - might help her fill the emptiness in her life.

As the group wound up she said she knew what she “needed to do,” but that it was hard to make the right choice - even knowing she was on the brink of relapse.