Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th 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.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Be the Solution

Clients have been complaining about a long-time mid-level staff member.

They say that often he doesn’t listen when they have concerns. According to them, when he does listen, he brushes them off or dismisses them as if they’re unimportant. Sometimes he hangs up when they call, or walks away while they’re talking to him.

When it came to my attention I suggested they invite him to a group session where then could confront him directly with their concerns. And so they did.

Group confrontations have been used for a long time at TLC as a forum for clients to vent concerns. We set it up so it’s non-threatening, yet as a means for direct confrontation. The only rule is that participants cannot resort to violence or threats of violence.

Some staff members might feel they’re above question. But any of us – from top to bottom – can be grouped any time there’s an issue that can’t be resolved on a one-on-one basis.

This tool acts as a leveling process that helps staff members realize that we’re here to offer recovery to our clients, to help them change their lives.

We always need to part of the solution, not create stress among the clients..