Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy 22!

Today’s the 22nd sobriety anniversary of one of my best friends. His story is inspirational because he is – like many of us – fortunate to be alive.

I was there the day he walked into TLC's Robson House as the 15th resident.

He was anxious. Confused. He was still spinning from the effects of a 27 year run on speed and alcohol that was periodically interrupted by prison. He suspected what we were doing at TLC was a hustle, that it might not be about recovery.  But he stuck around to see what our game was, hoping he might get a "piece of the action."

He stayed and worked hard. He not only had a job off the property. But also on the property. After spending a long day at hard labor he'd return and help wherever he was needed. And even though he did a lot of work for TLC after his day job, he continued to pay service fees. He was kind of surprised when told he no longer had to pay. And that he’d be our first house manager.

Over the years he came up with ideas that made a difference. He founded and guided the Hard Six program.  He also started the Blue Shirt program.

In his position as Chief Operating Officer he's worked tirelessly for 20 years to make TLC the program it is today. He's as responsible as anyone for our success.

During these years he's overcome health issues, such as hepatitis C, knee surgery, and lung problems. He was extradited to Texas to face a parole violation. Plus he went through an ugly divorce that drained finances and emotional energy.

Yet he never wavered in his commitment to his recovery – or in his love for TLC and his many friends.

And, he ended up getting a "piece of the action" we all get as we grow in recovery..