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.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Secret

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Mathew 7 12

Someone asked the secret of our success. How did we go from having five beds 22 years ago to having more than 750 today? Plus an outpatient treatment program? And the secret is simple, one that I apply it in my daily personal and business life.

And the secret – which I shoplifted from someone somewhere many years ago – is this: give people what they want and they'll give you what you want. So how does that apply to the recovery business?

Well, what people want, when they first come to TLC, is to get clean and sober. Or so they say. So we offer that place, that opportunity. And if they stick around and do as they're told they find work, get into recovery, and pay service fees.

And when they do their part TLC gets what it needs: which is an opportunity to carry out its mission to help addicts rebuild their lives and the financing to help them. It's a wonderful cycle.

The same cycle works with our client/employees. Some show up with no job skills. No resume. No education. They want us to help them improve their employability. And we do. We teach skills through on-the-job training. And what TLC gets out of it is affordable help for a few years until the client/employee moves on to a better opportunity. We give them what they want and they give us what we want – and in the process we all hopefully stay sober and clean.

And the only time this give-and-take doesn't work is when clients show up, get some rest and a few meals in their stomachs, then decide they've gotten what they want. And they don't want to give us what we want. So they end up leaving because even though we've given them something, they don't give back. And when they break the cycle the relationship is pretty much fractured.

Try this formula. Figure out what the world wants from you, then give it. You'd be surprised what you might get back. 

 I'm still in awe of what I've gotten back.