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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Even though I stopped smoking over 31 years ago, July 25, 1984, I still hate the habit.

My strong feelings came from losing several family members to emphysema. It was excruciating to watch them slowly suffocate. And it was something that didn't happen quickly; some of them lingered for years.

A cousin died at 43 -and an aunt in her mid 50s - both from emphysema.

And one formerly strong and healthy uncle died at 60. He couldn't walk from his front door to the mailbox during his last years without gasping for breath.

At TLC we encourage clients to quit smoking. But we do more than that.

For example we offer hypnosis for those who are serious. Plus, we sometimes buy patches if clients can't afford them.

As added incentive, I also give them statistics: over 450,000 Americans die yearly from the effects of smoking. That's more than die from accidents, murder, suicide and all other causes, plus the 225,000 American soldiers that died in World War II.

It's a difficult habit to kick.  But we can add years of healthy living if we're willing to go through a few days of pain.

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