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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Going to Work"

A counselor called yesterday to say a client was leaving the program - before he completed his 90 day commitment.

“Before he leaves, though, he wants to talk to you,” the counselor told me.

Once on the phone, the client said he didn't want me “to be mad” at him for leaving. Then he gave me a few feeble rationales about his early departure. He’d be living with a sober cousin who’d found him a job - on the East side of town, 40 miles from his old neighborhood. He owed money for probation and other bills. He added that he’d be going to meetings and would continue to work on his recovery so he could stay sober.

I assured him I try not to “get mad” about much these days. Especially addicts who do predictable things like leaving before completing a commitment.

However, I was ungracious enough to point out that he’d relapsed twice during the six weeks he’d been with us – the last time less than a week ago. He had no response to that so I wished him well.

After 22 years of working with addicts, experience tells me he’s leaving to get high. In fact, I’m sure he’s been to the dope house by now.

While most of us must work, an addict’s priority must be recovery. While  “go to work” has a nice ring to it – and is something non-addicts might agree with – it is also one of the most common excuses addicts use when they head down the road to relapse.

If he decides to return we'll be here for him.