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, August 20, 2012

Honoring our Family


A new client, whose grandfather had died earlier in the week, said she felt like going back out and smoking crack.

"And if your grandfather were here, what would he think?" I asked her.

"He wouldn't want me to do that," she said with tears in her eyes. "It's just that I miss him so much."

"If he were here he'd probably want you to continue to rebuild your life, wouldn't he?" I asked. She nodded in agreement.

It's not uncommon for clients to relapse when they're grieving the loss of family members. And their pain and sense of loss is totally understandable, because we've all lost family members.

But killing our pain by picking up drugs or alcohol is not the solution. Oh yes, it might temporarily ease the pain. And then we have to start the cycle of recovery over again unless we want to continue down the path of destruction. I told her relapse wasn't worth the temporary respite from what she was feeling.

A pleasant memory for me is that my parents were able to see me finally get into recovery during the last several years of their lives. While I didn't feel the urge to use when they died, I know they would have expected me to continue a life of sobriety.

And I've been able to do that.