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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Insanity Returned

This week two managers relapsed within a few days. And a ripple of anxiety rolled across TLC – especially among the newcomers.

They were understandably upset that someone who taught recovery one day began taking pills or drinking the following day.

The obvious question for them is “does this recovery thing work?”

Or, “Oh my God. I so looked up to her. And now she’s sloppy drunk and fighting in a bar.”

“Or this guy was so smart and gave us so much good information. And now he’s using.”

But recovery programs don’t function off of personalities. They function by principles. And if one doesn’t pay attention to recovery precepts then anything can happen.

In the case of these managers they likely weren’t talking to their sponsors or dealing with the stressors in their lives. They ignored the resources available to them.

For several days before their relapses signals were coming in from other staff members and clients about their behavior.

The woman, for instance, was extremely short and emotional with the clients. She’d mentioned that the job was - all of a sudden - “driving her crazy.” Earlier in the week she’d asked someone to help her prepare a resume.

In light of that information plans were made to replace her. However, before we could make the change we were getting phone calls about her drinking.

In the case of the other manager, we heard he was behaving “differently” and not his usual self. When we heard it from one person, we didn't pay much attention. But when it came from several we asked him for a drug test. Before it could be completed, though, he admitted being under the influence. And at that point he was terminated.

Both these former managers were offered the opportunity to detox and return to the halfway house. But they declined. When they get done using we can still help them if they choose to try recovery once more.

They just have to get enough pain.