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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Angry Father

A long time halfway house manager comes to my office and asks me to listen to a voice mail that he puts on speaker phone.

The man who left the message was obviously drunk. He slurs his words. He sounds angry. He snarls threats about what he plans to do.

One is a graphic diatribe about subjecting the manager to various sex acts. Others are about giving the manager a beating. There are many more adjectives, none positive or uplifting.

The manager told me he'd discharged the man's son for breaking rules. And that's why the father was angry.

Though it doesn't happen every day, this is not an unusual reaction from a parent.  Parents give us their addict children and expect us to change years of bad parenting in a few weeks. That rarely happens.

Some of these youngsters experience culture shock when they come to TLC.  They're not used to working. To waking at 4:00 am. To cleaning their rooms or going to meetings. To paying service fees. In essence, to being adults.

And while we work with them for a while, we eventually lose patience and send them back to mommy or daddy if they can't comply.

Our compassion goes out to this angry father. Because - on top of a hangover - he had an addict son back living on his sofa the next morning.

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