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, January 14, 2014

23 Years

Twenty-three years ago this morning, at 51 years old, I walked through the doors of a detoxification facility in Mesa, Arizona. My life hasn’t been the same since.

I was consumed by a raging heroin and alcohol habit. I was homeless. I had 73 cents in my pocket. I was facing criminal charges. I didn't even have change of clothes.

I stayed in that detox 11 days. I finally admitted I was an alcoholic. I vowed to change my life.

For the next 12 months I lived in a local halfway house that was gracious enough to accept me without money.

For six months I worked menial day labor jobs, digging ditches, landscaping, washing windows. Whatever it took to pay my rent and continue my recovery.

My health started coming back. Family started talking to me. Criminal charges were dropped or dismissed.

When I first got there my plan was to stay for 30 days. That changed to 60 days. Then 90. Finally I made a year commitment because I realized I knew little about staying sober.

I left that halfway house after a year, forever grateful for their help. And the day I left I moved into TLC’s first house on Robson Street.

Today I have a wonderful life. I'm married to the woman of my dreams. I'm surrounded by a circle of supportive friends. I have a decent relationship with my children and grandchildren. I enjoy the blessings of recovery. The Promises have come true.

And I’m looking forward to 23 more-one day at a time.

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