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, January 20, 2016


A woman sends an eloquent email, complaining about treatment programs.

She claims to have contacted over 100 of them. And none will treat her family member.

She says all of them "want money." "Everything is about money." "None of them care about this young woman's health." And she goes further, but you get the idea.

Now I'm actually on her side in some respects. I think anyone who wants drug or alcohol treatment should be able to get it. But, there's a problem with this.

And that is that no matter what we get in the world, someone pays. I'm sure she's so blinded by love, frustration, or anger that she lost sight of this economic fact.

The reality is that doctors, clinicians, nurses, counselors, all invest years into their education. They have families, mortgages, car payments and other responsibilities. Just like anyone else.

Someone has to pay for offices and meeting rooms, for utilities, taxes, and so on.

To carry this woman's premise further, why shouldn't all treatment be free? Cancer care. Cardiac care. Diabetes care. Why should anyone have to pay for that?

When we line up the people that the world wants to help for free, we addicts are way at the bottom of the list. Maybe so far down as to be barely visible.

People would much rather help crippled children, the developmentally disabled, the elderly - even puppies and kittens - than to fork out dollars to help us addicts.

After all, we got into our addictions by choice, by our own hand.

Whereas the others didn't choose their handicap; it was foist upon by the whims of nature, the vagaries of their DNA.

Anyway, I suggested TLC’s women's halfway house program to her. Hundreds of women have changed their lives there because they were motivated.

Let's see if she responds to the offer.

Click here to email John