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.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In Love Again

Treatment romances have been around since the first day co-ed programs opened.

It’s always the same story: I’m in love for the first time. We have so much in common. She’s so wonderful. Or smart. Or beautiful. I’ve never met anyone like her. (Or him.)

The reasons for these romances are many. Clients are away from home and lonely. They are starting to become healthy again and want sexual contact. But most of it’s about immediate gratification. It’s not about impulse control.

Why do we care if clients have a relationship? One reason is that when clients enter relationships they lose focus on recovery. Their attention is on the other person. They miss the recovery they came for.

Another reason is that families trust us when they send a family member here. They expect us to protect their loved one from negative experiences.

So our staff spends a lot of time monitoring clients to stop relationships before they start. It would be hard to explain how a client became pregnant or contracted an STD while at our program. Even though clients can make their own decisions we try to help them to make the right ones.

The client might have met the most wonderful person in the world here at the clinic. But if a relationship is good now, it’ll be good 60 or 90 days from now.

That's what we tell them.