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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


This might sound woo woo, but I don't believe in accidents. For me, everything happens for a purpose. Even if I don't understand it.

And today, leaving one of our storage lots, I spot a somewhat familiar figure outside the gate. And because I'm farsighted I didn't recognize him until I got closer.

It was a man who's been making a half assed attempt to get sober - both in and out of TLC - for at least 15 years. I was happy - and a bit surprised - that he was still alive.

We greeted and made small talk. Then I asked where he was staying. And he stepped back, spread his arms wide, and said this is it. This is where I live. Meaning that he was homeless again, something he did for over six years before coming to TLC the first time. Other than needing a bath, he didn't look too worse for the wear. Maybe that's the benefit of experience.

And then he talked for a while, trying to convince me how great it was being homeless. The freedom. The lack of responsibility. Doing what he wanted when he wanted.

He also said he hadn't drank for seven days - and was on his way to a nearby 12-step meeting. Then he had plans of going to another state to help a daughter do something. He just had to figure out how to get there.

As he walked off I had a sense of gratitude that I wasn't in his situation. And maybe that's why we met accidentally - to get a dose of gratitude.

Or maybe it was a chance for God to remind him that there are places he could go to get sober.
Sometimes it takes a long time for good ideas to sink in.

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