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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Saying No

It's not unusual for us to get a call from the other side of the country from someone who wants our help.

The scenario might go something like this: The person is homeless. Strung out on meth or something else. Has no job skills. Their family won't help them. Some have been in more than a dozen treatment programs or halfway houses, jails, prisons or mental institutions.

The story goes on. The person might be on several medications. Maybe they're on parole or probation. They have mental issues. Oh, and since they're broke could we send them a bus ticket?

These are frustrating calls. I mean how do we help someone who has so many issues. And who's never succeeded no matter what help they've received.

At one time, when we didn't have as much experience, we'd try to help most anyone. Even with the set of issues I've described above. As long as they were an addict.

But we've learned that our program is not for everyone. There are those who need to be in a mental facility because they can no longer function without 24 hour supervision.

I bring this up today because I get a call from a mother begging me to help her son. And she's been making these calls for 20 years. And for the first few years we'd try to help her.

Until we realized we were working harder at changing her son's life than he was. Or that he was so mentally ill that he couldn't help himself. 

 We learned how to surrender and say no.

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