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.

Friday, April 26, 2013


"I'm different from the rest of these guys," said the client in group. "I'm a lot more sensitive. That's why I hang out with the girls. They understand me."

And, of course the whole group lit up and jumped all over him. After all one of the things that gets us headed down the path to trouble is when we start thinking that we're unique. The rules that apply to other people don't apply to us because we're so special.

A error seen over and over and over in 12-step groups is when a member starts feeling he's special or different from the others. Once we start feeling that the rules don't apply to us, that we're different from the others, then we might start applying that same thinking to the idea of whether we can successfully drink or do drugs.

That's happened over and over again at TLC. When clients first come in they're willing to do almost anything. But after they start feeling better, get a few meals in their bellies, and get a job, they all of a sudden think that the rules might have been written for someone else.

So far this year we buried a number of people who thought the rules were written for someone else.