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, May 26, 2016

Tough Love

While in California over the weekend at a party I encountered a woman I hadn't seen in a few years. Even though I've known her since she was a small child.

She was clean. Well dressed. And sober. I congratulated her for that.

The thing that amazed me, though, is that for years I heard she was strung out on methamphetamines and God knows what else. For a while she lived in a city park in a tent with several other addicts. Yet, here she was at a social gathering. And unless you knew her history you'd never suspect she'd ever used drugs.

Now it's not unheard of for people to get clean and sober. It happens all the time in 12-step programs and also here at TLC. And sometimes for no reason at all.

But the story behind this woman's recovery is a little different. She got sober because a tough relative kept pushing her to change her life. The relative told her that she'd help with most anything but first she had to get clean and start working on herself.

But until then she'd do nothing for her. She wouldn't pay her light bill when they were shut off for non-payment. She wouldn't give her money for food. Gas for her car. Nothing.

And it pained her to have to be that tough. Because this woman is not an addict or alcoholic. But she's a strong Christian who does know human nature. In fact, she'd helped this woman in the past. In any case she stuck to her guns and it worked.

The woman agreed to go into a rehab, seek work, and starting changing her life. And within less than a year she has a car someone gave her, a rented room, and a job.

And all because her relative was willing to let her suffer if she was unwilling to change her life.

I congratulate both of them. The one for changing. But especially the one who was willing to be tough.

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