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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind. We buy a product. We love it. We find out it performs as advertised. So we tell our family, friends, and neighbors about it.

The same principle works for us here at TLC. Both in our halfway houses and in our treatment clinic.

A client stays with us for a while. Changes his life. Does well and returns to the community. Sometimes the client is from Arizona. Sometimes from Florida, New York, Colorado or another state.

When they return home and stay clean, others notice. And if they know someone who needs help they refer them to us. It happens all the time.

The reverse is also true. When a client relapses they'll often blame it on TLC. Negative word-of- mouth advertising.

"The program sucks."

"The food is terrible."

"Place is full of cockroaches and bedbugs."

"It's all about the money."

"Everyone's getting high there."

Excuses for failure abound.

But the reality is we provide a safe and sober environment for the willing. For those who are through blaming others for their failures. For those who can look in the mirror and see the responsible party looking back at them.

We like the positive word-of-mouth because it might help others find their way to us. A place where they, too, can change their lives.

As to the negative word-of-mouth, we look back and reflect upon a time when nothing at all would have worked for us either.

We don't even get angry about it because we – of all people - know it takes time get past denial.

Click here to email John