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.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What's Important

When addicts are serious about recovery they're not too concerned about amenities. Oh yeah, having a fancy place to recover that's like a nice resort is great.

But the environment is secondary for those of us who came in broke. We're happy to have a bed and something to eat. A place to shower. Someplace to be while we put our lives back together.

When I got clean in 1991 my first stop after 11 days of detox was a halfway house in Mesa, Arizona. I had no job. No car. And literally the clothes on my back.

They gave me a room with three other guys new to recovery. The mattress was thin and old. There wasn't a box spring, just a sheet of plywood under the mattress.

They had the same breakfast every morning - milk and cereal. No lunch. And a hot meal in the evening.

But because I had no place to turn I was grateful to those who ran the place. They took me in with no money and provided the basics. They had me attending meetings, both at the house and in the community. It was a good recovery environment.

They let me in without money. And I'm still impressed that someone would offer a homeless addict this kind of help. And with no guarantee they'd get paid.

I've learned over the past 25 years that those who are serious about recovery will go to any lengths. The living conditions aren't important - the recovery atmosphere is everything.