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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

In Love

It's not uncommon for our newer treatment and halfway house clients to get into a relationship at the first opportunity. When we see clients heading this way we move quickly to put a stop to it. And when we do this you can't believe the protests.

"I've never met anyone like her. She's awesome."

"He's the most understanding man I've ever met. We're planning on getting married when we graduate.”

“We’re just friends. But we have so much in common.”

“I’m just hanging out with her because her ex is stalking her.” These are just a few of the many excuses we get from those violating our guidelines.

Most of the time there's no reasoning with clients who are lovestruck. Even when we put them on restriction they'll go to any lengths to get together. They'll go to the same twelve-step meeting, and then hang out outside rather than attend the meeting. We've even had clients sneak out after curfew to meet one another.

And it seems that no amount of intervention slows them down. We put them on restriction. We have them write papers. We put them on a "hi and bye" which means they can only say "hi" or "bye" to one another in passing. But nothing – not even the threat of discharge – seems to deter them. Those who are determined to focus on the short-term gratification of a new relationship will go to any lengths.

We point out to them that 50% of all marriages end up in divorce. That relationships are tough among so-called normal people. And even tougher among the addict and alcoholic population. But some clients are determined to do what they want to do when they want to do it.

It's very difficult to have a successful intervention when a battle is going on between logic and hormones.