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.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Upset Family Member

A client’s family member sends a well-written – but anonymous - email about her concerns with our program. She has a short list of issues that were brought to her by the family member.

Among them are under-cooked chicken and the fact that cooked beets were served with the same meal. She says she’s known “maybe 2 or 3 people in my life who actually like cooked beets.” She continues with the comment that she’s “dismayed that this is what qualifies as dinner and how often a “meal” such as this is offered.” She also heard that the cook has an “unpleasant attitude” and a “questionable 12-step program.”

She further wonders why we serve breakfast from 1:00 am through 6:00 am. Why we take most of a client’s labor group pay when they owe back service fees? If we’re incorporated? Who’s on the board of directors? Who provides oversight? Do we have policies and procedures? What about the grievance process? You get the idea – a lady trying to protect her loved one.

While I wasn’t rude in my reply to her, I admit I wasn’t exactly nice either. And I was unkind enough to point out that – for some reason - her loved one wasn't living on her couch, eating her food, and working for her.

Many family members over the years have contacted us with concerns. Some of their concerns are well-taken, but the reality is that addicts end up with us because no else want them around. And no one else can deal with them.

Nobody provides funding to TLC. Everyone must work to pay the bills. And in that process we may even earn enough to pay the 75-80 clients who help us manage the 650 addicts who live with us.

Do we do it perfectly? Never. Do we do our best? Most of the time.