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, December 26, 2014

Magical Words

If I had one wish for the New Year, it would be to have magical words for parents of addicts.

Too many times I've sat in my office at a loss of what to say to a parent who's lost a child to addiction. Way too many.

I recall the mother whose oldest son overdosed months before. She'd brought her remaining son to us to see if we could help.

The sorrow in her eyes gave me an idea of her burden. I could tell she'd experienced crushing pain that most of us hope we never encounter.

But every addict's parents, whether they've lost a child or not, suffer greatly. They spend nights wondering if a phone call is from the police or a hospital.

When something's missing around the house they don't want to suspect their child. But deep down they know the truth. The weight loss, the changed attitude, the evasive answers all become part of a familiar pattern.

The only thing I have for them is not magic – just reality. If your child doesn't get clean you may lose him or her to our disease.

And while you're motivated – the motivation has to come from the child.