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.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Here at TLC we often deal with those who have what they call "self-esteem" problems. It's a subject that often comes up in the weekly aftercare group I've been running for over 15 years.

And I agree with many of them. They do have poor self-esteem.

Most have used drugs much of their lives. Many of them have been in jail or institutions for years. Some have been homeless and never had a steady job. Some have never paid child support. Or learned a trade. Not a lot to feel good about.

So what to tell them? How to help them feel better about themselves?

My approach is usually to tell them to start with little things. Go to work every day. Make your bed and put your living space in order each morning.

Take care of your health. See the doctor for regular checkups. Start a fitness program.  Quit eating fast food.

Go to meetings and help out. Get a sponsor. Start being an example to younger addicts and alcoholics who need a role model.

If you don't have an education start out with getting a G.E.D.

Start changing these external behaviors and how you feel about yourself will change. Guaranteed.