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, June 15, 2016


A few days ago a TLC resident I've known a long time relapsed once again. He's probably spent half of the past 15 years with us.

After he relapsed the stories about him started trickling back into the program. He was seen at a nearby bar, so drunk he could hardly walk. Someone else saw him at a local Circle K, drunk and panhandling.

Someone else said he'd moved into a nearby dope house that masquerades itself as a recovery program. However, on the second page of their web site they mention that "At this time, we are not able to accept individuals that are currently on parole." Hmmm. I wonder about that. The Parole Department has good reasons for where they place parolees.

In any case, I was saddened to hear of his relapse. I've know this person at least 15 years. And he's probably relapsed a number of times. We always take him back because we fear that he'll die if we don't.  But this last time he came back to the program I felt he might make it.

He'd found a sponsor. He chaired meetings. He did it by the book. Plus, he'd started having random seizures for which he was taking medication. Something I thought might add to his motivation to stay sober.

In the AA literature there's a phrase about some alcoholics being "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves."

I'm not trying to be judgmental, but it's difficult to find an explanation for someone who can only stay sober in a controlled environment.

In any case I pray that he survives.