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, October 26, 2014

Honest Addicts?

TLC is as big as it is - 700 beds - because we accept anyone who shows up - whether they have money or not.

Young or old. Any color, any background. Male, female and anywhere in between. Healthy or unhealthy. We accept everyone.

The only addicts we don't accept are those with arrests for sex offenses or arson.

However, our generosity has been a problem for us for over 20 years.

And the problem is that when addicts show up to our program they're not very honest.

I mean, the phrase "honest addict" is an oxymoron, is it not?

So we take addicts in without money. We feed and house them.  We provide counseling. We help them get a job. Then wait for them to get paid. This is usually a three-week process.

And at the end of three weeks they might owe $250-$350. But once they get paid, many will leave rather than pay something on what they owe.  Even though they've signed a contract agreeing to pay.

They'll find another halfway house, pay a week's rent, then put the rest of the money either in their pocket - or else invest in drugs.

We estimate that we lose 25% of our revenue to those who use our services, and then run off without paying.

But we've been operating this way for a long time. Yet we're somehow able to pay our bills and help others.

A more important aspect of this is that many stick around to change their lives. They pay their bills. They get sober. They give back to the world.

And that's enough for us.

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