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.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Yesterday comes news of an NBA star who died in a Las Vegas hospital.

Most stories imply - or say - that cocaine was a contributing factor. It might be true, because 35 year old former athletes don't normally die of natural causes.

When people go that young it's more about lifestyle.

For me the story underscores the tragic consequences of drug use. Wealthy. Famous. Poor. White. Black. Brown or yellow. Educated or uneducated, drugs can take anyone down.

Over the years I've known many addicts. But most didn't die. Because they usually didn't have enough money to do themselves in. Heroin and cocaine are expensive.

But they were able to use enough to go to jail or prison. Lose their families. Lose jobs and homes. Sometimes their health. They dug themselves a deep enough hole that it’s taking years for some of them to dig themselves out.

For me this is the real tragedy of drug use. That many of us wasted a chunk of our lives trying to recapture the bliss of that first rush or drink. But it never happens, no matter how hard we try.

As advanced as we are in many areas of our society, the conundrum of drug use seems to defy solution.

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