Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Making $. Or helping Others?


In 21 years we've had many former clients who tried to emulate what we do at TLC by starting programs of their own – many of them because they are angry about the way they were treated at TLC or about how we do things.

Some have even stolen our paperwork and brochures on their way out. The only difference between their literature and ours is that they inserted their name at the top. But today I can't think of a program started by a former client that's still operating.

And it's not that we're so smart. It's simply that we're dedicated enough to do the hard work it takes to deal with angry addicts and alcoholics day in and day out – without much expectation of getting paid well for our efforts.

One motivation for people to start a program is they think it's a great way to make money.  They do the math and think they're going to get rich. But after a few months they discover that clients sometimes pay nothing and rarely the full amount. Then they realize they have to pay mortgages, phones, transportation, insurance, food and on and on. And that’s when their motivation fizzles.
They never figure out that the real reason to do something as difficult as running a recovery program is to have a mission in life.  That helping others into recovery is its own payoff.