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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Losing my Cool

I must confess that once in a while someone gets under my skin, shatters my calm demeanor. And that happened yesterday afternoon when I turned my phone on and saw I had a voice mail from an unfamiliar number.

As I listened to the message I heard someone saying “This f----ing guy never answers his phone.” And that was the entire message. Since I take calls as they come - unless I’m busy - I was intrigued enough to call back.

The gentleman said he was looking for a halfway house and wondered if we had a bed available. I assured him we did and gave him the address.

Then he inquired about the living conditions. Would he be in a single room? I told him he’d probably share a room with at least one other client, and maybe two – information that seemed to displease him.

He said he'd had a single room at the halfway house he just left. When I asked why he left he mentioned something about his anger management problem - which led to a disagreement with the manager. A disagreement he apparently lost because he was suddenly homeless.

When I told him we had an anger management class at the facility he said he’d already taken a couple of them – but that they didn’t work.

When I suggested he might look at other programs where he could find the accommodations and program that might suit his needs, he didn’t like that idea either.

He got lost on the way to the address I’d given him and called twice for better directions. I gave him the same directions I’d given him before and he finally found the house. However, when the manager said there’d be at least six people in the entry room he left.

He then called again to see if I could get him a single room at one of our other houses. And, of course, you know my answer.

So why did I let this guy interrupt my peace? Probably because he asked no questions about the recovery services we offer. Nor did he say he had a problem with alcohol or drugs. Nor did he exhibit a shred of gratitude for what I was trying to do for him. And while I’m accustomed to ungrateful and demanding addicts, he’d perfected it to a fine art.

Once I took a few breaths and regained my center I thanked God for the lesson in patience.