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.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Buying them Off

Anxious parents regularly bring their late teen and 20-something “children” to us, wanting us to help them with their addiction - and their behavior issues.

And some of these children are angry about their parents and how they were raised.

“I hate my f---ing parents,” a tearful young man told me last week. “They gave me everything. They just wanted me to stay out of their way”

He described being raised in an affluent California suburb, sent to a good school, given a nice SUV, and a fat allowance that took care of his party and drug habit. It wasn't until his folks realized their pot-smoking little boy had morphed into a heroin monster who was pawning everything they owned that they belatedly intervened.

Two other mid-twenty clients have no clue about life. For years they've played on their father’s guilt about their upbringing. They don’t know how to make a bed, do laundry, cook, work, or do anything on schedule because he did it for them. Dad put up with their behavior and drug use until he had a melt-down of his own.

While I’m no parenting guru I know that doing everything for anyone doesn't build character. Two of my three children grew up without succumbing to drug or alcohol abuse. They learned about responsibility because they weren't handed everything. They worked and earned privileges.

The interesting thing about the “children” who get dumped on us: the parents still try to do things for them – even though they know that’s the worst thing they can do.