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.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


The call from the hospital came at around 4:30 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, 1994.

"I'm sorry to tell you this," said the nurse on the other end. "But your mother died 15 minutes ago."

I was in shock because I was just leaving my apartment, preparing to go to the hospital for my daily visit. Plus, the doctor had scheduled her for release the following day.

So during the Christmas season I always reminisce about my mother, who was a good friend. She encouraged me to do better. She helped me with my legal problems during my teen years. She stood by me long after many others had given up.

During my 16 years of incarceration she'd write and send what little money she could. She was never judgmental. Rather she expressed hope that someday I'd figure our that drugs weren't good for me.

When she died I'd been clean for three years. She was happy to see me on the path to success.

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