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.

Monday, December 17, 2012


It was a 4 x 5 postcard, addressed to TLC’s corporate office.

Since it looked like junk mail, I started to toss it.  But then I noticed the name of a former client in the return address. The card was a graduation announcement from a mid-western college, saying the client would receive his bachelor’s degree this month.

The former client had been at TLC off and on for some ten years. When he first came he kept relapsing. He wasn't stupid. It just took a long time for principles of the 12-step programs to penetrate his thick skull.

Finally, after much struggle, he got it. He became a TLC manager. He started working with others. He finally graduated.

Every so often we get this validation of our mission, which is “to help recovering substance abusers rebuild their lives.”

Sometimes it comes in a graduation announcement. Other times a client starts a business and stops by to leave a business card. We see some in public with their family, seemingly happy and healthy. We get wedding invitations. Or birth announcements.

It’s rewarding when clients succeed.