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.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Focus on Recovery

A former client who left our program after 30 days because it was difficult for him to comply with our guidelines used to call on a regular basis to give updates on his recovery.

"I finally got 30 days," he said during his last call. "And now I'm doing service work for my home group."

He was upbeat and proud of his success, and invited us to be there when he picked up his chip. Though we declined, we congratulated him. We know our program’s not for everyone. And we were glad this client was doing well.

Then the calls stopped and we heard he was using again – something that surprised none of us.

From the moment this former client arrived at our program he knew what he needed.

  • He had to get back to work. 
  • It was very important that he have a weekend visit with his only child, whom he hadn’t seen for some six months prior to his arrival. 
  • He needed to get into school immediately so he could make up for lost time. 

In other words, focus was on everything but the issue that brought him to us: his raging addiction.

My years of experience have taught me that we addicts have one issue: our disease. If we deal with that and make recovery the centerpiece of our existence everything else somehow works out.