Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th 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.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ten Months Sober

"Before I came to TLC," the client told me, "I'd never been sober for more than 10 days.”

This man's story is one of homelessness, jail, and a drug habit he knew was about to kill him. He’d been living at a homeless shelter where he was discharged when he threatened another man at the shelter who was a known pedophile. He left the shelter handcuffed in the back of a police car. As they were driving away the policeman said he understood why he’d threatened the pedophile. He also said he wasn't taking him to jail, that he would take him home.

When he said he didn't have a home nor friends he could stay with, the policeman said he knew where to take him. Even though this client had never heard of TLC, he shortly found himself in the office of one of our Phoenix properties undergoing an interview. He said it took several weeks to adjust to the TLC program. Change came when he began to realize everyone was there to help him get sober, to help him change his life.

At this writing he's been sober ten months and never happier. He’s grateful he was accepted and shows gratitude by giving back. He runs educational meetings. He escorts new clients to 12 step meetings in the area. He works and pays his service fees. He has hope today.

The man expressed gratitude to the point where it was embarrassing. I thanked him and told him I was grateful to be a part of his recovery. I told him we provide structure for those who are motivated to get sober – that he’d done the footwork.

And it’s true the motivated can get sober nearly anywhere. The real difference between TLC and some other programs is we accept anyone who asks for help - whether they have money or not. It's difficult for men and women to get into recovery unless they have insurance or money up front. And a real addict has often burned all resources before showing up at our door.

All we ask is that they be motivated and willing to go to any lengths to change their lives.