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, July 17, 2013

Courage to Return

A TLC client who once managed one of our largest houses spoke in group about how he felt after returning from a relapse.

He said his gut was in knots for weeks after he returned. After all, a few days earlier he'd been managing the house and helping 100+ clients with their recovery.  And then he returned to undergo the embarrassment of having relapsed and starting over.

However, he said everyone was supportive after his return. In fact no one said anything negative.

And this is an important lesson for those who go out and are afraid to return. Often clients say they didn't come back for a few years because they were embarrassed. Finally, however, things got so bad that they were forced to return. And when they did, no one treated them poorly. Everyone respected them for being willing to take another try.

One thing we learn in the recovery field is that relapse is part of the process of getting sober. After people relapse so many times and try to use drugs or alcohol in a controlled fashion they come to realize that there must be a better way.

And that's when true sobriety takes root.