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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Karmic Cycle

A few weeks ago one of our managers called to the corporate office to report that a moneybag with $400 was missing. He said he’d left the office for a couple of hours, leaving an assistant manager on duty. When he returned, another staff member told him the assistant had left to go to a 12 step meeting. He said he'd be back in about an hour. That's when our manager discovered the missing money bag.

A search of the office and other places where the bag might have been misplaced turned up nothing. The obvious conclusion, after the assistant manager didn't return from the meeting at the time he said, was that he had taken the bag when he left for the meeting.

Our policy at TLC has been to make those in charge of money responsible for its security. And when the money is missing they are expected to pay it back. While this might seem a harsh policy, we haven't suffered much loss due to management theft. However, paying back a $400 loss can be daunting to a manager doesn't make much money. And that was the case in this situation.

The manager, who had been doing a good job, was understandably depressed because he had lost the money. Then something happened that restored his confidence and faith.

One of the clients at the house, a man our manager had helped on many occasions, replaced the $400 out of his own pocket. All of us were surprised this act of generosity. But from my perspective it was a testimony about the kind of relationship this manager had built with the clients. He obviously had helped this man during their early stages of his sobriety. And in turn, this man reciprocated when the manager was in trouble.

In my opinion three things happened in this incident: the man who stole the money is going to find out how stealing works in his life, the manager learned how the time he invests in his clients is not wasted, and the client who replaced the money gave us a lesson about giving back and being grateful.