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.

Friday, April 15, 2016


A mother calls to ask what kind of drugs we provide to clients.

When I ask why she says he'll only go to programs that offer opiates and benzos. That if a program doesn't offer what he needs he'll leave and start using heroin again.

I asked her why she didn't let him work it out for himself. But she's afraid he'd commit suicide if he didn't get what he wants. Or that he'd overdose if he does get the drugs he was seeking. She was facing the kind of dilemma that I wouldn't like to be facing. Though my response to her son would be entirely different.

I meet parents who let their children blackmail them into a corner like this. They're afraid they'll lose the child if they don't give the drugs or money or whatever he/she is trying to extort.

My advice is to never give in to blackmail. And, so far, none of the children have carried our their threats. The only reason they take this approach is because they know it works.

They're the same kids you'll see lying on the floor screaming and kicking beside the grocery cart at the supermarket. And all because thy didn't get the candy or toy they wanted. In other words a little dope fiend in the making.