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, October 28, 2012

Lying to Ourselves


An addict told himself a lie yesterday. He told himself that because his drug of choice wasn't alcohol – that he was just a heroin addict – he would be able to drink. So he did.

And now he's in a detoxification unit with a hangover, trying to figure out what happened. Even though he didn't use heroin his first time out, I’m sure that would've been his next step.

A lot of people in new recovery believe they only have a problem with their drug of choice. But our experience at TLC is that if one is a real addict they're not able to drink or use anything. Experience has taught us that no matter what we use, whether it be marijuana, cocaine, meth, or alcohol, if we indulge in it we’ll eventually find our way back to our drug of choice.

Because heroin was my drug of choice I would plan – while still in jail – to only use other types of drugs. "I'll just drink." "I'll just smoke pot and take a few pills." I'll only use on my days off - but stay away from heroin."

But it never worked. Within days I found myself knocking on the dope house door – looking for heroin. That was always the beginning of the end, the path back to jail.

In the 12-step literature there's a line that says "half measures availed us nothing." While that might seem arbitrary and dogmatic, this is the only thing that works for a true addict.