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.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

One day this week I returned to my office to find an interesting message on my desk. It was from a woman in Northern Nevada who wanted to talk to me about starting a branch of TLC in her area. When I returned her call, I began to realize that her real motivation in starting a branch of TLC was to help a drug addict son who is living with her.

As the conversation progressed she told me about her son's drug problem and the emotional issues that required him to be on medication. She and her husband had sent the son to a well-known clinic in California, an expense of almost $30,000.

One of her prime motivations for a TLC facility in her area was that her son had a young daughter and she thought it was important for him to have a relationship with her. He wouldn't have been able to have that relationship if he were in a program far from home. Also, she thought it would be better if he weren't staying with her while he was in a precarious state of sobriety.

After I heard her story I explained some of the realities of the halfway house and recovery business. Programs like ours don't do very well in smaller cities like the one she lived in. To make a program work there has to be employment opportunities, public transportation, and reasonable access to public services such as medical facilities. Smaller communities don't offer a great support system for even a 10 bed halfway house.

I also discussed with her the zoning and halfway house regulations in Nevada. They are relatively restrictive compared to other states and there is a lot of red tape one must go through before being able to open the doors.

Our conversation ended with her saying that she was determined to look further into the idea of having a recovery home in her area. I encouraged her to consider all aspects of the project before she jumped in completely.