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.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


To keep from suffering burnout we make an effort to keep an emotional distance from the clients. And sometimes that's difficult.

After all, many of those we deal with are personable and charming. They may share heart wrenching stories of their upbringing. Stories that put their addiction in perspective. It's easier to understand why they're on a path of self- destruction. And it's easier to help them change direction.

Unraveling their stories might help them deal with their dilemma. To help them realize there's hope if they give themselves time for the process of recovery to take hold.

Yet all too often something triggers relapse and we have to start over. Because we never give up on a client as long as they're putting in some kind of effort toward positive change.

Through this back and forth process, though, we come to know them quite well. So when they do relapse or leave early it has a strong impact on our counselors.

After all, most who choose this field get into it because they have empathy and compassion. And it can be difficult to not have feelings when a client doesn't make it.

And too many times those feelings can lead to burnout.