Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th 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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drawing a Line

Our policy for 21 years has been to accept any addict or alcoholic who asks for help, whether they have money or not– with a few exceptions.

The exceptions are that we don’t accept sex offenders or arsonists. We don’t accept sex offenders because we don’t know how to help them. And we don’t accept arsonists for the obvious reason that they might burn down our property. In fact in the early days an angry addict tried to torch the Mac House but didn't succeed because he discovered that concrete doesn't burn very well.

But once in a while we add others to that list – those who might pose a danger. In these cases we flag them in the computer in case they try to return to the program.

So we added another to the list last week when we terminated a manager who was stealing client’s prescription drugs along with program funds. After he was fired he loudly threatened – on the phone and in voice mails - to retaliate against those who terminated him.

Up to the point he was fired this fellow seemed fairly bright and mild mannered. But years of being incarcerated and living in the underworld taught me to never underestimate anyone’s capacity to do evil.

And when it comes to protecting those I love – and me – I’ll err on the side of safety and security every time.