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, March 25, 2013

Disguises in Relapse

Relapse sneaks up on us in many diabolical disguises.

For one man who died recently it was in the guise of an attractive young woman who needed a drinking buddy.

For a recent client, it was in the form of anger and resentment at one of the managers with whom he was angry.

For another, relapse was disguised as a situation where he thought he was treated unfairly. So unfairly, that he had to leave and get high to assuage his tender feelings. For some, relapse whispers in their ears that they're feeling so good that they must've been mistaken – that they're really not an alcoholic and addict. They can handle it now.

There's both good and bad in relapse. A hangover or a period of remorse is good if the relapse teaches us it still doesn't work. The 12-step literature clearly says so. But the bad thing is that most of the obsessive addicts and alcoholics who end up at TLC don't have another relapse left in them.  They often don't return and no one hears of them.

TLC's history is littered with sad mementos, memories of those who thought they could successfully drink and drug again. Some were murdered in drug deals gone bad. Others, not so dramatically, were found decomposing in an empty lot - surrounded by empty liquor bottles.

The less fortunate live on in a futile attempt to prove they can do drugs and drink like the 80% of social users.

We hope they find their way back.