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.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Helping the Helpless

Years ago I watched a television interview of the producer of “All My Children” who was asked where she got ideas for the bizarre plots of the long running show.

As I recall, she said it was simple: her inspiration came from the daily newspapers. In other words, from real life.

And the longer I write this blog – now at 1300 days- the more I understand what she meant. Because truth is stranger than fiction.

This comes up because some of my subject matter is obtained from often heart-wrenching emails from readers seeking help for themselves or family members.

For example, this week a young woman wrote a desperate email from someone else’s computer. Apparently, she’s been the virtual prisoner of an older drug dealer who’s kept her addicted for years - while abusing her sexually and emotionally. She has no phone, car, or money and is seeking to escape and start a new life.

Further, this is only the surface of the story, because it’s even more sordid than this. At the moment, though, we’re working to get her to a safe place until we can get her to Arizona.

Even though I spent years in the drug world and prison and think I’m hardened to the diabolical, I find things that test my limits. And this young woman’s story is one of them.

While on the streets and in prison a lot of rough things happened, the code I was raised with didn’t allow taking advantage of the helpless. In fact, when I was in prison, those who committed crimes against children, women, and the elderly were used for target practice in gang initiations.

The situation this woman is in is beyond civilized behavior.

Probably stories like hers are one reason we work hard to keep our doors open for those who need help.