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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


It’s easy to find occasions for gratitude. Yesterday, while on vacation, we walked into Mexico for a short visit. Coming back, we spent an hour in a half mile line of people waiting to cross into the United States.

As we waited, several handicapped people passed by with cups, soliciting donations. Some had twisted limbs, two appeared to be blind. A woman with deformed legs was pushing a crippled teenager in a homemade cart. They were successful in collecting donations along the way. A few women with small children were crouched along the walls, half hidden under grimy blankets, their children thrusting empty cups at passersby. Even though I see panhandlers at home, somehow these in Mexico seemed more desperate and deserving of help. I finally ran out of small bills and change. Later, on the train back to Imperial Beach, I reflected that even the poor in our country seem better off than the poor in Tijuana.

Though the fabric of my recovery is interwoven with gratitude, seeing the stark reality of sickness and poverty is a powerful reminder of how blessed my life is today. I’m grateful for blessings God has given me. He is doing for me what I could not do for myself.