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.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Looking at Ourselves

A client who became so angry that he stormed out of group after cussing out the therapist was confronted about his behavior.

But instead of seeing his part, he described how the therapist had insulted him and treated him like he was “stupid.” At no time did he say anything about his role in the incident. The counselor had singled him out the first time he saw him and started picking on him.

When I explained how improbable that sounded he got quiet. Finally, I asked if he knew about the 10th Step. Because he'd been in multiple treatment programs I was surprised when he told me he didn't know what it was. And, of course, that said a lot.

When I explained that the 10th step is about cleaning up our side of the street and looking at our behavior he acted as if he didn't understand. And indeed, he kept talking about the therapist as being the only issue. In fact, I'm not too sure that he didn't expect me to fire the counselor over the incident.

He made several attempts to tell me what the counselor had said. And each time I gently steered him back to looking at himself, which it appeared that no one else had done before. Because when it came to talking about himself he could find nothing wrong with his behavior. It was all about the outside world and everyone screwing with him.

Before the conversation ended I made an appointment to have a one-on-one session with him, hopefully to help him change his perspective.

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