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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A characteristic of some in recovery is that they try to make their problem our problem.

For example, one client is supposed to complete 26 domestic violence classes. However, he always has an issue.

He can't afford the classes. He doesn't have a job. He doesn't have a ride. He can’t find a babysitter. Can he be excused?

Another client, at one of our outlying locations, has similar issues. She can’t afford the $15 weekly fee for DUI classes. She doesn't have transportation and on and on. Can we give her a break?

And while they might have real issues in their lives, don’t we all? The idea that we’re going to be the solution to their problems is misguided.

While we're not heartless, we have guidelines we must follow while running a treatment clinic. Clients must show up to participate at a certain time for so many weeks, to get a certificate of completion.

Our responsibility – when clients don't show up – is to report that they were noncompliant. Almost without exception, we have no other options.

The primary responsibility for those of us in recovery is to learn to be responsible. That means showing up on time. That means paying our bills. Finding resources to help us comply with probation and parole rules is a responsibility we must meet - unless we want dire consequences.

I deal with clients like these from a history of personal experience. There were times when I behaved just like them. And my life never got better until I did my part.