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 14, 2013


I write a lot about our successes in this blog. And, as an educational process, I also write of addicts who don't make it. And over the weekend, we had one who didn't make it. He was found dead in his bed of a heroin overdose early Sunday morning. He was 38 years old.

And, and is usual with addicts, it wasn't as simple as a resident buying dope and shooting it by himself in the secrecy of his room.

The way this story evolved is that the man who died was away from the house, drinking at a local bar. Apparently he realized he was late for curfew and called a staff member to say he'd be late. When he also mentioned that he was at a bar drinking, the staff member went to help him get home safely.

Instead, when the staff member got to the bar he also started drinking. After that things get murky. Apparently the two got into a fight with others at the bar. And that part seems true because there was a blood trail leading up the stairs to their room the following morning.

And at some point during this venture – although no one knows exactly when – the two obtained heroin. In the morning, one man woke up. The other didn't survive. At this point it's anyone's conjecture how he died. It could have been from a drug overdose. It could have been from alcohol and drugs mixed together. Or it could have been the result of injuries from the fight they were in.

At this point the cause of death is unimportant. What’s significant is that another addict succumbed to our disease - simply because he didn't follow the guidelines.

We're all promised the same thing if we don't put our recovery first.