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, May 11, 2016

Starting a House

A few times a year I get an email from someone asking how to start a halfway house or treatment program.

Questions like this used to irritate me. So I'd answer back with something like "Would you call Jack-in-the-Box or Macdonald’s and ask them how to make a burger?"

But I've become more gracious in my advanced years. Now I'll explain that each city has its own regulations and requirements. So a place to start is to see if your property will meet the standards.

And, of course, if you don't have a property, that will be the first hurdle: finding one.

So now you have the property and know how to get started, the next thing is to find the right location. Near transportation. Close to jobs. Around meeting halls.

You'll have to figure out how to pay the bills. A lot of wannabe entrepreneurs think the government will beat a path to their door with an envelope full of grant money. But usually the only government you'll see is a city official answering complaints from the neighbors about why you’re in their neighborhood.

The one thing you'll definitely need is a lot of patience and a lot of heart. Because you'll have many addicts and alcoholics show up without money - expecting you to care for them. And then they'll become resentful when you ask them to compensate you for their food and housing.

It’s the nature of those of us who are enslaved to drugs.  You just have to be tough enough to deal with it.

But if you have compassion, if you love your fellow man, you can help them get sober.  And that's what it's about.