Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Predicting Recovery

My 22 years of working with substance abusers has led me to form opinions about who will enjoy long-term recovery.

One is that the more self-centered an addict is, the less likely they will stay clean and sober.

Those whose number one concern is how they feel, how mean everyone is, how they've been mistreated, who are constantly whining about what they need, don’t have a good chance.

As part of their self-centeredness, they expect the world to conform to them. They are like babies. Many seem to have not matured beyond early childhood.

This is in contrast to those who enjoy long term sobriety. They spend time supporting others. They sponsor. They volunteer. They give of their time and resources. They've learned that giving helps one stay sober. And they have deep gratitude.

A client whose conversation is about how others need to change, about what’s going on with the managers, with their roommates, their parole officer, their spouse, their living conditions and blah, blah, blah, may soon be at the bar or the dope house.

Clients who speak of gratitude, of the internal changes they need to make, of the blessings they enjoy in recovery are following in the footsteps of those who have 5, 10 or 15 years of recovery.

It’s so predictable it’s almost a cliché.