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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Find something Good

A twenty-something client shares an inventory during a counseling session in which he’s pretty hard on himself.

He’s done little with his life. He’s only finished high school. He feels guilty about the death of a young relative who died at a young age; guilt over the way he treated her at the end. He has no job skills or training. He feels aimless. He’s tired of being a burden to others.

So how does one encourage a client with this kind of resume? This bleak outlook?

In the case of this client he mentioned gratitude to a family member who’s supported him emotionally and financially for years during the chronic illness that limits his activities. This family member has helped him navigate the medical bureaucracy and spent major money on treatment. And the expression of gratitude was so heartfelt that he teared-up as he spoke.

I pointed out that in spite of the negativity he expressed in his inventory, his gratitude in itself is a positive emotion that could enhance his life. A touchstone that might help him see some potential in other areas.

It seemed like he listened.