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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Talking to a Drunk...

A manager's phone rings around 2:00 am. When he answers there's heavy breathing on the line.

He suspects he knows who it is: a client who relapsed a few months ago and has been unable to find his way back.

The man calls again the next morning and starts chatting about the weather and other minutia as if he and the manager are old buddies. As if everything is normal. The manager tells him to call when he's ready to get sober and hangs up.

There is only one reason those of us in recovery talk with those who are drunk or using. And that's because we might be able to help save their lives.

There's a reason people contact us after they relapse. Part of it might be an attempt to put a normal face on their drinking or drugging. Maybe make things seem okay.

But I believe it's something deeper. They know that what they're doing is not going to end well if they continue. There's a nagging message inside that says that maybe we'll talk them back into recovery. The part of them that knows we'll tell them the truth.

Then there's the other part of them that doesn't want to hear it - the part that wants to keep the party going.

We can only hope this client gets enough pain and demoralization to get back to the program.

When and if he does we'll be here to help.

Click here to email John