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, January 13, 2013

Denial Lives

Denial, a prominent characteristic of addiction, takes many forms.

For example, a young man’s family called to get him into TLC’s Outpatient Treatment Clinic. 

When he called for his appointment he seemed enthusiastic about the prospect of getting off opiates. He was grateful for his family's help and wanted to change.

But he didn't show for the appointment. So we re-scheduled for the next day. He kept that one, though he was a half hour late. 

During his first interview he said he lived with a girlfriend who was using. When we suggested he move into our sober living so he’d be in a clean environment while detoxing he declined. He said her using wouldn't interfere with his desire to get clean. Of course we knew he was deluding himself if he thought he could get clean while living with an active user.

His behavior during the first few days indicated that – regardless of what he said – he wasn't serious about detox or therapy. That maybe he was going through the motions to placate his family. He then missed an appointment with the clinic doctor. He also didn't make it to follow-up interviews or respond to phone calls..

When we spoke to his parents, who were paying for his services - they said they were having “second thoughts” after talking to their son. He'd told them we were “strange,” that he wasn't sure we were "legitimate."

At that juncture we ended communication with them because they obviously were buying into their son’s excuses – which were really a smokescreen because he didn't want to get sober.

Eventually our disease will drag us down far enough to overcome our denial - no matter what form it takes.