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, May 28, 2013


Sometimes I have mixed feelings about an old friend I'm trying to help, about should I keep helping him.

This comes up for me today because I've been sending money each month to an addict and alcoholic I've known for over 50 years, a former brother-in-law. And I help him because he can't help himself and lives in a nursing home as a result of a stroke he suffered some seven years ago. He has no income other than a meager Social Security check, most of which goes to to the nursing home for his care. I think he ends up with about $30 in his pocket.

So a couple times a month I send him 50 bucks to do with whatever he chooses. And I'm certain he doesn't use the money for toiletries or snacks. I know he uses it to buy vodka, which he takes back to his room to get blasted. Or maybe once in a while he'll buy marijuana or a few pills.

My stance is that it's none of my business what he does with money. Because he's never once in the 52 years I've known him expressed the slightest desire to get sober or do anything else to change his life. He's pretty happy the way he is. And I'm okay with that.

But the other day my daughter – his niece – called to say he was in the hospital because he'd fallen and suffered a concussion. He was in ICU for a few days then returned to the nursing home. The report was that he'd gotten dizzy and fallen on his head. Nothing was said about him being drunk.

Even so, I'll probably talk to my sponsor about providing him with money that I'm sure he uses for drugs and alcohol. I go back and forth in my head with rationalizations like he's going to get drunk or high somehow with somebody's help.

Does it make a lot of difference where he gets the money? Probably not.  But I'm still thinking about it...