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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


A 42 year old former TLC client, who had trouble living in sobriety, was shot to death in Apache Junction this week. The police reported his death, and that of his 22 year old companion, as the result of a “drug deal gone bad.” He’d been out of prison for around a month after finishing a three year term.

He’d spent several years at TLC and remained sober while in the program. But one day he got into an ego battle with a manager and left in anger. Not long afterward he was back in prison after he fled police when they tried to pull his car over.

We corresponded the first two years he was locked up. He was repentant for being back inside and indicated he wanted to work the 12-step program. I saw that he received recovery literature and encouraged him to study it. I also sent him money. But I quit helping him around a year ago when I heard he was in debt to the Mafia for drugs he’d purchased on credit. Shortly after that I heard he went to a protection unit. I felt disappointed, betrayed and gullible. He wrote about a month before his release, professing to not understand why I’d quit corresponding. I didn’t answer.

His death serves to remind us all of what might happen if we don’t get sober and change our lives. Over and over we receive these stark reports that remind us of the potential consequences of remaining in our disease.

Rest in Peace, Ed.