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.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mixed Feelings

Today I have mixed feelings. I get a call from my daughter about her uncle, the Brown Bomber, who's in the hospital.

He's had a cancerous lung removed. Overnight his kidneys started shutting down. He has a breathing tube down his throat and is under sedation.

When she asks the doctor about his chances he shakes his head and says it doesn't look good.

A while back he told me he was tired- that he wanted to die. And I understand why.

Some 12 years ago he had a stroke while in jail. And because of poor and untimely care he's spent the last 12 years paralyzed in a wheelchair, while living in a nursing home.

One relative tried to care for him, but couldn't deal with the responsibility. She ended up leaving him at a bus stop in his wheel chair.

My mixed feelings come from losing someone I've known for over fifty years, since he was a teen. On the one hand the idea of recovery never crossed his mind. But on the other, he was a kind and loyal friend and protective of those he cared about.

People criticized him for drinking and drugging. But - as with anyone else - that was his choice - one he pursued all his life.  A few relatives were unhappy with me because I'd send him money each month; they said he used it for drugs or alcohol.

But I don't condemn those who get high.  I'm not an evangelist who preaches that everyone should get sober.  I'm simply an addict who's here to help those who do want to quit using and rebuild their lives.

On one hand I hate to see him suffer. On the other, I hate to lose someone I've know for much of my life.