Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

R.I.P. Mike

A manager walked up to me yesterday and handed me his cell phone.

"You remember this guy?" he asked, pointing at a photo.

He looked familiar. Like the typical all-American father, standing between his two sons. They were smiling, as if it were a photo of a special event.

Maybe a middle school graduation. A wedding party. But it could've been from any event where people might wear a suit and tie. It probably wasn't taken at a funeral though, because everyone was smiling.

Before I could dredge his name up from my memory, he told me.

And of course I remembered him. He'd made several tours of our Hard Six program. And had gotten as far as the aftercare segment of the program before disappearing for a while.

Every so often conversations around TLC start out that way. Someone will bring up a picture or a name. And they'll ask if we remember the person.

In this case, a lot of people remembered this man because he been in the program many times.

It had been a while since he was last with us. But every so often we'd hear about his escapades in the drug world.

And the next question is always about what he died from. An overdose? An accident? Or something else?

No one could say what this man died from. But because of his history most of us believe something related to his lifestyle killed him – rather than natural causes.

Whatever got him, we'll remember him as another member of our community who struggled with life - and lost.

We send condolences to his family. And wish him Godspeed on this next phase of his journey.