Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th 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, November 8, 2019

Sad Ending

I heard some bad news last week about a former friend. And to me, it's probably the worst kind of news a person can get. I know that if it happened to me I would consider it the worst thing that happened – worse even than getting cancer or dying.

And what I heard was that this person had developed dementia and that a family member was placing her in a nursing home.

Even though my relationship with her had broken up long ago, at one point we were good friends until my friend ended up getting a divorce over her volatile personality. From the time they divorced, she never had a good word for me again and in fact I don't recall ever speaking to her after that.

She went her way and started her own business and I lost track of her. However, once in a while rumors about her activities would trickle back to me. It turns out she'd run afoul of some Arizona Department of Behavioral Health Regulations and had lost her license to practice as a social worker in the state of Arizona. Although there are some more sordid details involved, it would serve no good purpose to spread it across this blog. She did what she did and she ended up paying serious consequences for her behavior.

It didn't shock me that she ended up with dementia. I had read more than once that dementia can be the result of having a lot of stress and anger in one's life. And if anyone was angry most of the time, it was her. The more successful she became in her business the more angry and arrogant she became. In fact, at one time she got so angry that she slapped and scratched one of our staff members and was charged with assault. She didn't go to jail, but she did end up having to take anger management classes and spend time on probation. And her anger never got better after that.

I guess this comes up for me today because even though I didn't have any love or real anger for this person, it made me quite sad when I heard where she ended up. I guess the part that I reflect on that's the saddest is that she was a good writer with a Masters degree in social work and was a very bright woman. At one point she'd helped a lot of people. But somewhere along the way she developed depression, anxiety, anger, and other things that I feel – from my layman's point of view – contributed to her present circumstances of probably living the rest of her life in some kind of nursing home.
I understand that dementia and Alzheimer's attacks not just angry people, but also nice people. But for some reason I think that her extreme anger in some ways had a lot to do with her developing dementia in her mid 60s to the point where she had to be institutionalized.

Even though there was no love lost between us I still wish her the best and hope that she doesn't go through a lot of suffering for the remainder of her life.

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