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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Success Rates?

Sometimes we're asked about our success rate, how many clients stay sober and for how long. I don't have the answer.

There's a program in our area that claims a 67 percent success rate for those who stay a year. I'm not one to bash success claims by other programs. But my question is "how do you know if someone remains sober after they leave your program?"

Do you follow them around and give them drug tests? Do you monitor them over the phone? Do you make surprise visits to their homes? I don't know. I believe success claims are subjective - and a lot about corporate ego.

Do I believe some programs are more successful than others? Sure. In fact, some might be even more successful than they claim. But unless we spend a lot of time and money following former clients we won't have much more than an opinion or wishful thinking about our success rate.

Does that mean we shouldn't keep helping people into sobriety because we don’t know if we’re helping? No, I think we continue helping those who want to change - even if only a small percentage stays clean. Sometimes all we do is plant the seed. It often takes a while for it to sprout onto full blown sobriety.

I believe our mandate is to do the work – to carry the message. The rest is up to God.