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.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Keith, a former client whose message reminded me of the deadly disease we face.

It is always wonderful to hear from former clients, especially those with long periods of sobriety. Keith wrote that he is “happily married and living the good life” here in Mesa. Keith's personal recovery validates what we do here at TLC – and his message illustrates the danger we face when we stray from path of recovery. I responded to his email and asked if I could quote some of his message in this blog. He graciously agreed, asking only that I not include his last name.

He wrote “...15 years clean now I also have watched many friends turn back to their old ways and once a month or two I anonymously stop by the main office to drop off donations and look over all the names of my buddies I met over the 2 entire years I lived at TLC. Sadly all of these friends will be missed but reading their names one by one I recognized over 20 names now on the plaques of past roommates, co-workers, acquaintances and great friends and unfortunately even 2 sponsors brings me back to reality how easy it is to forget how powerful and cunning our addictions are.”

While I never forget this powerful disease that has taken so many of my own friends and family members, e-mails like the one from Keith keep it fresh for me. It reminds me of the many clients over the past 19+ years who have not been able to grasp the principles of this program and apply them in their lives.

In closing Keith wrote:'Unfortunately we need to add another name to the wall of plaques, one of my best friends in recovery that I met in 1995 at TLC. “..................” tried many times, over and over to get his life straight, probably a resident at TLC 4 times or more but sadly passed away January 8th, 2010....”

Keith, your message kept me sober today. Thank you for that