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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Raising Children

Even though most of our clients are over 21, at times it seems like we're raising children. Some of the behaviors we deal with are also seen in the daycare down the street.

It's not unusual for a client to throw a tantrum when they don't get their way.

Or, they'll walk off if they're not getting the answer they expect.

Tears are common, especially with female clients. Though some of the men aren't far behind.

A preferred response among our male clients is anger, especially when they get frustrated. Also they like to threaten.

In working with this population we take things in stride. We know these clients didn't just now learn to behave this way.  We have patience.

These are tools they've been using for a long time. They use them automatically because they worked for them when they were home.

But when their parents got tired of them and kicked them out of the nest, they weren't prepared to deal with life in the real world. Drugs and alcohol helped cushion their disappointment until their habits got big enough to get them in trouble.

So we're quite patient with those who act like children. We don't expect them to change over night. We know they need retraining.

And if they stick around they eventually find new tools that work better than the ones they brought with them.

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