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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


While I'm no expert on parenting (just ask my kids) I believe that most of the young addicts we see in our clinic get there because their parents spoiled them from the time they were very young.

For example, we've had clients whose parents gave them their own condominium. Their own SUV. And a fat allowance. They just wanted to keep the kids out of their lives and to keep them from complaining. Then all of a sudden they realized that they had raised a monster, a drug addict who was stealing everything they could get their hands on.

At that point they call someone like us for help because they don't know what to do.

In a few other instances we've had parents bring us adult children who almost went into shock when they realized that we weren't going to cater to their demands. When they found out their tactics of emotional blackmail and childish anger didn't work they’d threaten to leave. Then they would find that the parents didn't want them back until they had a period of sobriety -plus cut them off financially if they didn't comply.

At that point many of them would reluctantly enter into counseling or therapy, counting the days until they woke up from their nightmare.

While many of these grown-up brats with a sense of entitlement don't succeed, some do. The ones who do get it somehow overcome their bad upbringing and realize they’re responsible for themselves.

While no one has ever asked me for advice on raising children I will offer this: let your children know you love them. But don’t let them think they’re special or unique because they’re not. They’re simply inexperienced human beings who need to be taught how to survive in a competitive world.
When we fail to do that they may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain of reality – and end up hating us in the process.