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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

On the Job

Working in the recovery field isn't boring. There's always enough drama to keep the day interesting. And to deal with this, one has to be able to change course several times a day, and sometimes several times an hour.

For example, today started out pretty normal until my nine o'clock appointment didn't show. Which sort of surprised me because he'd been pretty stable lately. He'd been trying to get this appointment for some time then doesn’t show. No phone call.  No text.  And I start wondering: is he shooting heroin again?

Then someone from the insurance department tells me we have three incoming clients – beyond the three already scheduled. Do we have enough beds? All of a sudden a scramble is on to buy more mattresses. By the end of the day we'll need eight more beds. After a while we're able to locate them and a truck is dispatchd.

Over the past week I've been working against a deadline to update a real estate spreadsheet, a project that's required some focused research.

And, right in the middle of that project a former client who's drunk and wants to return to the program calls. I hear his girlfriend screaming in the background that she's going to call 911 if he doesn't get help. Then she grabs the phone from him and tells me he's been running in and out of traffic trying to kill himself and what should she do? I tell her to call 911. However, the next thing I know he calls me and I can hear them screaming back and forth about how much they hate and love each other and how much money they've stolen from one another.

I finally get them calmed down enough to give her instructions to drive him to our Roosevelt property so he can be taken to detox. And while I'm giving her directions, another client is blowing up the phone.

So when I get done with her I call to find out why he's phoned me three times in one minute. It seems he's angry because the van driver left him behind while he was trying to bum a cigarette. He thought it was very unfair that the driver left him behind because he was broke and didn't have money and no one understood. He somehow translated being left behind into thinking that everyone had it in for him and they just didn't understand his situation. He goes on and on to tell me that he spent his paycheck on a bicycle with a flat tire and that's why he needs to borrow a smoke until my head is ready to explode and I tell him that I don't need all that information. I told him we'd deal with it in group tomorrow where he could confront all those who have it in for him. He thinks that’s a good idea.

And there was more drama in this day.  Even while I'm putting this blog together calls are coming in. But you get the idea.

The best thing about today is I’m reminded to be grateful for my sobriety.

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