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.

Friday, January 11, 2013

We Never Know

I took a call yesterday from one of our facilities about a man who failed a breathalyzer test.

While I normally don’t get reports when a client fails a test, I did in this case because I’d helped get him into the program. Because he was discharged a year earlier for fighting it took my intervention for him to return. So – because of my personal involvement - the house manager gave me a courtesy call .

Although I was disappointed, I was not surprised he’d started drinking again. He’s an alcoholic who came to us after spending more than 30 years in prison. The reality of living in a cage that long had warped this client’s personality to the point that he had a difficult time facing the stress of the real world.

But I took him back because he approached me at a meeting a few months ago – smelling of alcohol - and had the humility to ask for help. He was homeless. He was broke. He said he was tired and wanted another chance. So I helped him back into TLC.

He did well for a minute. He worked. He paid his service fees. He didn’t fight or argue with anyone. He seemed serious about changing his life and getting sober. Then his disease kicked in and he picked up a bottle.

More than one person cautioned had me about taking this man back and maybe they were right.  But on the other hand, he might have heard something this time around that will help him get sober.