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, October 21, 2012


An alcoholic who's been with our program for several months announced last week that he's moving back home.

            "My family's having trouble and I need to help them," he said.

While I didn't try to talk him out of moving - because caring for the family's a noble thing - I believe he's moving prematurely.

He came to the program because he'd failed a urine test and didn't want to lose his job. And his employment was the most important thing to him. In group he talked a lot about his job. He seldom talked about his alcoholism. He regularly said how important it was for him to get back in good with his employer.

My experience, though, has been, that when an addict focuses on the main problem in life – recovery – everything else falls in place. And I say this based on a lot of personal experience.

On many occasions over the years I had great jobs, owned different small businesses, only to give it all up because responsibility interfered with my drinking and drugging.

On one occasion in the seventies I went to the hospital with a broken arm after falling from a tree while under the influence of heroin and alcohol. When my physician told me I should either quit using or sell my tree business, I sold the business. I had my priorities.

After many more years of poor decision making I changed my priority from jobs and money to learning how to live sober. After I made that decision I quit losing jobs and businesses. I've prospered ever since.

I may be wrong. I hope this client has it all together. But my sense of his situation is that his priorities are mixed up.