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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


It’s all over the news this week about a heroin overdose death.

The press loves the story. That’s because the victim was a Google executive who overdosed on his yacht after shooting heroin with a high-priced prostitute.

But in Arizona opiate users die all the time. In fact, over 120 opiate addicts died in this state in 2013. They're so routine there's rarely anything in the press. There's nothing newsworthy about something as common as the death of an addict.

Because it happens all the time.

They're found blue in the face on the floors of cheap motels along Van Buren. In fields around the city. In the back seats of cars. Sometimes in nice homes in Scottsdale. In the family bathroom. Every setting.

Because they're not wealthy executives for major corporations no one knows. Like addicts for years, they been dying anonymously, mostly alone, maybe a needle still in their arms. Maybe their families care – if they’re still in touch.

The news will die down until the next prominent user dies. Law enforcement will dust off their “war on drugs” speech. The nice people will blame the prostitute, not the victim.

In the meantime, there’s some good news.

Once in a while some of us get tired of the misery. Sick of trying to find enough dope to feel normal. We get into recovery and start living like other boring so-called normal people.

Then we find that boring is good so we stick around.