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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recovering Whiz Kids

Over the years new clients have expressed concern about how much money TLC takes in. They come into the program, look around at the number of clients and start multiplying by $110.00.

“My God, these guys are taking in thousands of dollars a week,” they’ll exclaim, as if there’s something relevant about their observations.

Usually those who have an interest in the financial operations of TLC don’t have a lot of interest in getting sober. They forget that a few days before they were broke, hungry, and homeless. They’re starting to feel better physically - but the idea they might have to look at their how they arrived at this point in their life might be too painful for them to confront. So they start looking outside themselves to find fault with the world around them.

Most of those who take this tack have never paid rent anywhere, have lived with mommy and daddy - or have been homeless. They’re finding that being responsible for themselves is a bigger job than they anticipated. In fact, it’s so difficult that many of them revert to drugs or alcohol to cushion them from the pain of work and paying bills.

Nor are they particularly good in their calculations. If they were, they would figure out that it also costs a lot to care for more than 600 people. They might calculate a few of the yearly costs of such care:

Utilities: $700,000
Rental: $750,000
Food: $200,000
Auto Insurance: $60,000
Liability Insurance: $72,000

The list goes on-and-on. And one thing our newly recovering financial whiz kids don’t figure is that 25% of our clients pay nothing. Members of this group obtain jobs and leave with their first paycheck before they pay anything. Whoops! Didn’t calculate that one.

Those who are concerned about our finances are welcome to meet with me at the corporate office; I've always had trouble figuring out how to make this thing work. I need all the help I can get.