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, April 18, 2013

Give back Love

"And I can't wait to see his life crashing down around him," said an angry client, whose boyfriend had cheated on her multiple times with other women.

The client and her boyfriend had been coming to counseling for some time, trying to sort out their relationship. Finally, he stopped coming. But she continued to attend. She wanted to see if she could makes sense of their issues, to figure out how to make it work.

However, she probably has an insurmountable hill to climb. The man she loves is a self-admitted philanderer. He dates any woman who catches his eye. He lies about his whereabouts. He lies about being late from work. He regularly makes excuses to take part in activities that don't involve her. And he isn't ashamed to admit his indiscretions.

But because my job is not to be judgmental, but to help people achieve goals, I didn't point out to her that having a relationship with this guy was poor judgment on her part. That if she continued she was going to also live with tears, disappointment, and jealousy.

However, when she said couldn’t wait to see bad things happen to him, I saw an opportunity to help. What I told her was that it was probably better to wish him well in the future. To hope that he had success in all his endeavors and relationships.

And while she seemed to have difficulty wrapping her brain around such an esoteric idea - when she really wanted him to suffer - she halfway listened.

So I reminded her that when we carry around bad wishes for others it hurts us more than it does them. Often times they don’t know the depth of our anger. And sometimes, if they did, it might please them to know they have that much power over us.

Kindness and compassion help us live in peace and harmony.