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, April 12, 2016


In the recovery business the news is usually very good or very bad. And when I went home from the office this evening my heart was heavy with the bad.

A man in his early twenties - who had been with us several years ago - had succumbed to this disease that takes so many of our youngsters in the blink of an eye.

I'm not sure about the details. In fact, the details don't matter when a man in his mid-twenties is on the planet one moment and in a grave a few days later.

He is one of the reasons that counselors shouldn't get too involved with clients on a personal level. It can be painful when they sacrifice themselves on the altar of a quiet rush.

Because of policy I hadn't been in touch with him. Just once in a while I'd hear a story from the state he was from. Things about how good he was doing. His plans to become a counselor. The party they'd had to celebrate his sobriety date. News that let us know he was doing well. The kind of things that make us feel like what we do is worthwhile.

Then, a sudden slap in the face letting the world know he didn't make it after all. And a flash of anger because of the rush of powerlessness that overtakes us when we lose another one of our brothers.

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