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, October 31, 2012


This week we celebrated the graduation of one of our earliest outpatient clients – a man no one expected to last more than a few weeks. His success is an example of what can happen with even the most resistant client if they stick around.

At first he didn't participate much in group sessions. He would say things like “I have to be here, but I don’t have to like it.” Then he would slump in his chair with his arms folded. And only respond when asked a question.

He did something similar in individual sessions. Sometimes he would go through half the session with his arms folded on the desk in front of him and resting his head as if he weren't paying attention.

However, his attitude didn't deter us. And eventually he started opening up. He picked up tools to help him deal with his frustration and anger. He started talking about how he'd defused confrontations with others. He stopped making big deals out of everything.

During the past few months he became more accepting of others. He started realizing that most of his problems were of his own making. And that he had the power to change.

There were a few moist eyes when he spoke at his graduation.