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.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Publicity Agents

"You a friend of Bill W?" the new pool guy asked me.

When I confirmed I was a long-time friend of Bill W, and that I also worked at TLC, he got a look on his face – the look of those who’d heard bad things about the program.

But after he explained that he had a few sponsees who’d been ejected from TLC for non-compliance, I understood. The unsuccessful seldom have much good to say.

And he agreed he’s never heard bad things about our program from successful graduates.

Many addicts come to TLC seeking help because they can get in without money. But after a few meals and some rest they realize that the help we offer will require them to make some serious changes in their life.

And at that point they get pissed off and leave, usually owing money we’ll probably never collect.

I have a staff member who once suggested we change the name of our program, call it something else so that we wouldn't be affected by all of the negative publicity from those who haven't succeeded.

But my attitude is that the negative publicity is a form of positive advertising. Those who don't succeed, who badmouth us, really let the world know that we don't cater to those who aren't willing to follow suggestions.