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.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bad Review

Just read a Google review of our halfway house facility on Roosevelt Street in Phoenix.

A former resident wrote "the worst 90 days of my life, no kidding."

But if this former resident was so unhappy why did he stay 90 days? After all, our program is voluntary. No fences. No bars on the doors.

Although I didn't know this man, I'm sure that he came in without money like 98% of our new residents. He probably had no clothes. No job. No transportation. In other words, he had no other place to go.

After running TLC for 24 years experience tells me this former resident was unhappy about having to be responsible. About having to pay a service fee of $110 a week - which covers housing, meals, transportation, job leads and so forth.

Often when addicts come in they have the idea that our program is a place to crash. Maybe get a few meals in their belly and some rest. They're disappointed that we expect them to work and go to meetings.

Many come from the streets, the river bottom, jail, or their parent's couch.

When we wake them at 4:00 a.m. and expect them to get in the van and go to work they're in shock. Because many of them never held a job or supported themselves.

Those who stick around and work, go to meetings, buy some clothes, and save a little money are grateful for the help.

But those who continue to have the same attitude they had when they came in find that it's easy to blame others for their failures.

However, even when they're discharged for their behavior, we let them return and try again after three days.

We understand their frustration because many of us were in the same place at one time.

We too experienced shock when we awoke in a halfway house with no job skills, no resume, and a history of addiction.  But for those of us who stuck around life got better - much better.