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.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Revolving Doors

The other day I was talking to a client who said she'd been in over a dozen treatment programs.

When I asked her why she had been to so many programs she said that "none of them worked."

The discussion went on from there. And I asked her a few questions about what would make a program work. And, of course, the answers I got were ambiguous and vague.

The reality is that when a client has been to a lot of programs without success it says very little about the programs. And it says everything about the client.

Most any program will work if a client is putting in the effort. Even though we have our own treatment program, I'm under no illusions that it's the best program in the world. Or superior to a lot of other programs.

Because most licensed programs offer a variety of effective treatment options and ours is no exception.

My belief is that when a client has had enough pain, then they are ripe for change regardless of the program they go to. I went to a couple of treatment programs 30 and 40 years ago and they "didn't work."  But I wasn't ready to change. I was just trying to satisfy the courts and my family.

When I finally got clean and sober 26 years ago all I did was go through a detoxification unit and from there to a halfway house. I've been sober ever since. And while the detoxification and halfway house helped me, the fact is that I was very motivated to do something different with my life.

And motivation is the most important thing in any client's success. An unmotivated client can be sent to the fanciest treatment program in the world, maybe along the beach on the California coast with top-notch psychiatrists and therapists. But that doesn't guarantee that he or she will stay clean and sober.

Recovery only works when we have suffered enough to want to change.