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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Believing the Lie

A recovering heroin addict sat in group this week, speaking eloquently about how his life had changed from a year ago.

He’d recovered from a life threatening medical condition. He’d attended months of out-patient treatment. He'd landed a good job, working in his former trade.  He had a sponsor.  He was re-connecting with old friends from high school.  He'd saved enough money to start buying gadgets for his room. He'd never been happier.

But as the topic passed around the circle, a group member noticed the client scratching his nose.  And that his eyelids were drooping.

So he was tested right after group and discharged from the program because the test was dirty.

Later, one of his close friends asked how he could trust anyone after his roommate had deceived him about using – especially after talking so positively about recovery.

I wasn’t sure how to answer him on the trust issue.  But those of us in long term recovery see people relapse over and over again because they start believing the lie that one or two fixes or drinks won't hurt. Or that they'll get high once and then stop.

The literature uses the term “cunning, baffling and powerful,” and this man’s relapse in another example of how our disease can waylay us if we’re not constantly vigilant.

After a year of intense recovery, this man had the tools.  For some reason he didn't use them.

We wish him well.