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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Comfortable Mess

A man in aftercare group was discussing a serious issue. At least serious to him.

However, the issue he was talking about occurred during a relationship with an ex over 20 years ago. As he spoke of her he was agitated and filled with pain. If an observer didn't know better it would seem this incident had occurred very recently, perhaps even the day before

These kinds of unresolved conflicts sometimes rule our lives for years.  Yet there are reasons addicts and alcoholics choose to remain emotionally unhealthy. For one, there is safety in living with a known misery. To dangle before an addict the prospect of an unknown joy is to ask him or her to venture into unexplored territory – a frightening place to be.  So, sometimes our mess is comfortable.

As the group proceeded the client dragged out some self-esteem issues that are keeping him exactly where he's at today. He used terms like "I don't deserve" anything different.  The foundation of his life today is based on a miserable past.

While this client has made progress over the past year it will likely be some time before he recognizes that who he used to be is not who he is today.

Even though we all did awful things during the course of our addiction we're never going to have serenity and peace until we can come to terms with them.

That's why we work the steps as diligently as we can - in order to have freedom.