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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not Ready

A young man whose parents sent him from the East Coast to TLC last week to get clean and sober is not doing so well.

His first day in Mesa, he hooked up with another addict and scored some heroin. Because he came so far, and he expressed contrition, he was allowed to continue in the program. But he was put on probabtion.

Yet his pattern continued. Even though our doctor prescribed medication to ease his withdrawal, he was caught in possession of benzodiazepines the following day. And later he was found in another client's room, reportedly looking for something to steal to trade for drugs.

At that point he was referred to another facility, loudly protesting how we'd violated his rights by taking away his contraband drugs..

At TLC we sometimes give latitude to those withdrawing from drugs. But there comes a point when addicts must participate in their own recovery. None of us is going to work harder than the addict who wants recovery.  We'll help, but we can't it do for them.

A lot of us have had people in our lives who really hoped for us to recover. Mothers. Fathers. Wives. Husbands. Parole officers, counselors. Many people wanted us to get clean and sober. And most of them were interested in our recovery long before we were.

In my case, I ended up in prison long before I thought of recovery. People were tired of my nonsense. They were tired of trying to motivate me to change. At the time I thought they were mean and evil. That they didn't know how to party.

Today I empathize with those who didn't want me in their lives while I was using drugs and alcohol. And this young man whose parents spent money to get him here reminds me of the damage I did to others.

Hopefully he'll someday get clean and sober and make amends.