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.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Paying for Help

Providing service to over 700 drug addicts and alcoholics is an education in human nature.

For example, in group the other day we were sorting out an issue about the rules. Some thought they were too strict.

One man said "I'm a grown ass man. I don't need someone to tell me how to live." Then he went on to say that he'd been taking care of himself "all his life."

He didn't like the idea of making his bed each day. Doing chores. Adhering to a curfew. Signing in and signing out. These, and other things about the program irritated him.

"Then why did you come here?" someone asked. "The door's right there.  This isn't jail."

The man didn't have much else to say other than to mutter a few mofos.

But his attitude illustrates how addicts in new recovery sometimes think. They don't want responsibility. They want to do what they want when they want. And want someone else to pay for it.

What I generally say to those who don't like us telling them how to live is that they pay us to do exactly that: to have us tell them how to live. They pay us to teach them how to live without drugs. How to stay out of jail. How to pay child support and be responsible.  To grow up.

Yet, when it comes to changing their behavior they sometimes forget why they're here.  However, we keep reminding them.