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, June 16, 2015

Loving them to Death

Last Sunday I posted a blog about helping a loved one who's an addict.

Then yesterday I receive a tearful call from another relative of an addict. Only she has a different scenario. And that's because there's extended family involved.

I give this caller pretty much the same answer I gave on Sunday. But this situation has a twist because one relative is a holdout. She says the family shouldn't be tough on the addict. That they shouldn't force him to get clean.  She says if the rest of the family won't help him, then she will.

The caller wonders how to deal with this complex situation. And it isn't easy to answer.

But my suggestion was to have the family confront the holdout. Explain that her help may result in the addict's death. They may lose their loved one because one person doesn't understand the danger he's in. 

Often family members say they fear the addict will hate them for forcing them into recovery.

But I've never heard one person in my 24 years of recovery say they hated the person who forced them to get clean. No matter who the person was.

In fact, the only thing they express is gratitude.  I know, because someone forced me to get clean. And I've always loved them for it.