A Man With a Plan

Earlier this week, I was asked to meet with Swenny’s new bosses about his drinking and its implications for his job.  From a place of wanting to help, they had researched treatment options in our community, and seeing the cost, designed a 60-day recovery plan that they would manage.  It would remove him from our home, establish strict guidelines to which he must adhere, and leave him with no say in his day-to-day existence.  Agreeing to the plan would secure Swenny’s job for at least two more months.

I appreciated their effort because these aren’t just any bosses, and it isn’t just any job. Both are men who Swenny loves.  People who have navigated addiction, either personally or through the experiences of their families.  Men who have remained by his side, believing in his chances for a future free from alcohol.  People willing to lend him a hand when others pulled theirs away.

And it’s not just any job, but one where Swenny finds meaning in helping people who need it most each and every day.  A job where people share in their commitment to putting others first.  A job he loves.

I arrived home from the meeting and chose to be upfront with Swenny, telling him where I had been and what had been discussed. I delivered the ultimatum as I understood it – follow this plan or lose your job.  Rather than accept immediately, though, he chose to weigh his options.

Long conversations with more questions than answers continued for three nights.  The first night, he made it clear that he felt deceived by our meeting.  He had been upfront with his bosses about his most recent relapse, and to use that against him seemed somehow unfair. To not be included insulted him. My explanation that the meeting was called in an effort to help him rang hollow, and I knew excluding him was a misstep.

The second night, Swenny continued to evaluate the offer before him, uneasy still with the choices he faced: his job or his independence.

By the third night, Swenny had developed a plan of his own.  And when he delivered that plan to his bosses on day four, he went from being an alcoholic to being a man with alcoholism.  A man who wants to take ownership of his recovery and in the process, be present in his own life and in the life of his family.

Making today – Day 5 – the first day of the rest of his life.  The first day in a very long time in which he trusts himself to lead the way.


5 thoughts on “A Man With a Plan

  1. Ad dy says:

    I read what you say but …..

    My husband was always adamant he wanted to be in control of his recovery. I too had gone behind his back and consorted with medical staff and counsellors on the best way forward only for him to feel hurt, betrayed and intent on doing it HIS way. Of course, what it really meant was that he did not want to do it at all. He would find all manner of excuses why being away from home on a rehab programme would not be a good idea (ie he would miss contact with our daughter, the dog, the postman,whoever and not be able to do things in the house such as access finances on the computer, do DIY, whatever, plus he had got it into his head I would walk out while he was away and never come back. ALL EXCUSES. He never did pursue his own plan of recovery and the result was his death a few years later. I read what you say, but……..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ad dy says:

    Fingers crossed for you. By the way, I hope you don’t think I keep being negative to crush your hopes. I just want you to know that denial in an alcoholic is so strong, that even they don’t realise alcohol will get you in the end unless you completely stop. I do sincerely hope that swenny will be that one in ten that recovers completely. Wishing you all the best for the future. Addy


  3. Ad dy says:

    Not sure if my last comment got there, so sending it again.

    Fingers crossed all works out well for you both. By the way, I do hope you don’t think I am being cruelly negative just to stamp on your hopes. I just want to get over the fact that most alcoholics are so much in denial that they do not realise alcohol will get them in the end, unless they stop drinking completely. I do sincerely hope swenny is that one in ten that recovers.


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