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 21, 2016


At 2:22 a.m. yesterday, my former brother-in-law, and friend drew his last breath in a California hospital. He's now pain-free.

I feel loss because he was someone I'd known since I was 21, when his sister and I first met. While she and I didn't last, he and I remained friends all those years.

We remained friends after I left California, even though we rarely communicated. Once in a while I would see him on my periodic visits to see my children.

When we first met we were on the same path: lots of partying and drugs. Later, when I left California I took a different path. I went to work and got sober in 1992.

However, as far as I know, the words "recovery" or "sobriety" never came out of his mouth. Even though his brother and other members of his family got sober, he never did.

But he knew that if he ever needed help there were plenty of resources available. But he was okay with what he was doing.

He was a down-to-earth and simple person. He did odd jobs, like working in car washes. Just enough for him to get money to take care of his habits. His using never took him to prison, though he did a little time in jail once in a while - though I'm not sure what for.

Even though he was known as the "Brown Bomber" who got into a lot of scraps when he had too much too drink, he was loving and protective of his family and friends.

He was basically a gentle spirit who was loved and respected by those who knew him.

May he rest in peace.