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, May 27, 2016


At an early age I learned that if I wanted something I must work for it.

Even as a six year old living on a farm, I remember feeding the cattle, the chickens, the pigs, watering the crops, the garden, maintaining the fences. Life was a constant struggle for us to feed and support ourselves.

And in the midst of this, at the center of the family, was an alcoholic and violent father who took out his frustration and anger on everything and everybody. When things went wrong someone was getting their ass kicked because none of it was his fault.

He beat his wife, children, the animals - anything that got in his way.

Two things I learned from growing up in this environment was to work hard - and that I had nothing coming. That I was nothing special - just another mouth to feed.

I bring this up because I wasn't raised around spoiled people. Or anyone who had a sense of entitlement. It wasn't until I was middle - aged that I started meeting people who thought that their family owed them something. Just because they were born.

I've never understood those who have the idea that the world owes them a living. And that they shouldn't put forth any effort to get what they wanted.

But they learned it from someone, and usually the someone is the parents who raised them. I'm not advocating that children be little slaves. But I do believe they should learn something about having to put out effort to get what they want from life. Because some day those who were giving them handouts will be gone. And then they'll learn there's not a big demand for people with a sense of entitlement.

My sad prediction for them is that eventually they'll run out of people to mooch from, people to give them whatever they want when they want it.

And that's when they start showing up at treatment centers and detoxes looking for someone else to help them through life. Usually by then, though, it's too late.