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, September 25, 2016

Pain = Change

Pain is a wonderful teacher. And our most successful clients are those who’ve had the most pain.

And the pain takes many forms. Divorce. Loss of job. Homelessness. Health problems. Family alienation. And more.

And why is pain so effective? Usually those who have had enough start to think there might be a better way. Even though it might be a few year process.

Most of us hardcore dedicated addicts unsuccessfully try to use over and over. Even with setback after setback many of us persist until we're out of options. That's when we might start hitting the treatment or halfway house circuit. We've burned our bridges. We've worked ourselves into a corner. We're in a situation where the only options are death, illness or prison.

When addicts reach this stage they bring a degree of willingness that makes them open to change. The pain begins to subside, life starts feeling different. Hope begins to grow.

If we don't forget the pain we have a chance. And going on 26 years later I still remember the pain and demoralization I suffered through. And it helps me stay clean today.