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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tough Parents

I sometimes lament about parents enabling their children. But I don't write often about those who practice tough-love . I don’t hear much from them.

But this week some tough parents showed up.

One mother learned that her son, who’d been clean for over 60 days, had convinced a doctor that he was suffering from Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). As a result he was prescribed a narcotic like drug that would hopefully prevent him from relapsing.

In any event, his mother was enraged. So upset, in fact, that she cancelled his insurance – which was good for seven more months.

He asked what we’d do when his insurance lapsed. I told him he could either buy his own through COBRA. Or else move to the halfway house and find work.

(PAWS, incidentally, is a serious precursor to relapse. However, in this man’s case, he was overheard asking another client about how to fake symptoms prior to visiting the doctor.)

And in the other instance, a client refused to accept punishment for breaking rules. Instead, he said he’d call his mother – that she’d send him to a cushy program in Florida.

However, when she spoke with our staff, she said "Hell no, he's not going anywhere if I have to pay for it! He can stay and accept his consequences.”

It was refreshing to hear them get tough because most clients are able to convince parents that nothing is their fault, that they're being treated poorly and so forth.

With parents like these our clients might actually have a chance at recovery.