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.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Some are Sicker

When I first came into the 12-step rooms I'd hear the phrase "some are sicker than others."
But it's taken most of my 25 years of sobriety to fully realize the depth of the that statement. I just thought it was some kind of buzz term.

And as the years passed I've met some who really are sick in ways that are difficult to understand.

I've met men who had all the education, presence, and charm to do whatever they wanted in life. Yet they couldn't stay clean. In fact, before they started using they had everything a man could want. Yet they lost it all.

I remember one of of our former managers who could speak about recovery in a way that was eloquent and moving. He would bring tears to the eyes. Yet the police found him dead in a pile of liquor bottles in Apache Junction.

Another man was a marketing manager for a large corporation. He'd stay sober for six or seven months then relapse. He was found dead of alcohol poisoning in a field in Phoenix.

I have a long list of people just like these who couldn't overcome their demons. They couldn't face whatever was going on in their heads. So they threw their lives away trying to drown their demons.

Today I accept that many are too sick to make it into long term recovery.  I understand the phrase.

Still, it's frustrating when there's a simple set of rules to follow that makes the difference for those who succeed.