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, May 22, 2013

Maintaining Sanity

A challenge at TLC is keeping excess emotion out of business decisions. Addicts sometimes are overly sensitive about territory. Their work areas. Who has the authority to tell them something? Everything's personal. Sometimes they let clients irritate them and they become upset.

Probably 75% of my job is ironing out issues with staff members who have difficulty communicating their needs. Sometimes managers – whose self-esteem has been in the trash for a long time – talk down to other employees. Or the clients. For many, it's the first time in their lives they've had a job supervising. At times they may use their position as a palette to work out personal issues.

The way I normally deal with this is to remind them of our mission which is: to help recovering substance abusers rebuild their lives. I explain that our sick population needs kindness and compassion, not an expression of impatience from those trying to help them.  I also explain that when doing for others they are reinforcing their own sobriety and mental health.

We must look at those who come to us in the light of being compassionate and helpful. We need to remain above the fray when clients-or other employees-have a meltdown. 

 That way we do the best for them and for our program.