Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Gain of Pain

Much unhappiness in life comes from clinging to unrealistic expectations. From expecting too much.

Say for example, you want your child to get sober. But every time she gets out of treatment she relapses within a short time. Now she's been in several treatment programs and nothing has worked. I've heard this more than once.

But there is something that works. But most of us are unwilling to try it. We're afraid our kid - or whoever we're trying to help - will no longer like us.

The key to helping is often to not help them at all. For example, I think it's okay to send your child to treatment for help. But if they don't get it the first time, what are the chances they'll get it a second or third time?

When you put your foot down and say "this is the last time I'm doing this," you might get a different response. Instead of your kid thinking you're going to keep financing recovery time after time - they might change their thinking.

They may get tired of panhandling, sleeping in an abandoned car, or in a jail cell. The pain may help them change their thinking. 

When I ask other addicts why they changed they say they got tired. Tired of being a bum. Tired of being locked up. Tired of being alienated from the family. Tired of looking at a future that offered no promise.

It happened for me. Once the pain became too intense I got sober. And it can happen for anyone