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.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I learn from the variety of addicts – mostly young - who make it through our doors.

Some are grateful. Others angry about nothing they can explain. Momma’s boys are pissed off because family didn't teach them about challenges.

Others are hollow, seeking a speck of self-esteem when they've never done anything they felt good about.

Some are tough trailer park survivor types who finally ran into a drug habit that kicked their butts.

One faces daunting physical and psychological issues that are sometimes overwhelming.

And I admire them because they show up – something I couldn't do at their age. They haven’t run away. Their presence is a statement about a desire to change – to stop hurting.

This week a twenty-something man showed up at my office with a suitcase. When I suggested he leave it in his room he said it was medication and medical equipment for an illness he’s suffered since childhood.

The only part of his life I can relate to is his desire for recovery. His courage brought tears to my eyes because at his age I couldn't even deal with emotional pain. I doubt I would have survived his physical challenges.

I've learned that many of these young addicts believe they can change before their disease takes them places they don't want to go.  I have so much respect and admiration for those who are willing to the hard work to change their lives.