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.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Yesterday afternoon I got a reminder of my life over 25 years ago.

It happened while I was walking into a supermarket to deposit a paycheck. As I was entering the front door I became aware of a loud scuffle near the other entrance to the market. Off to my right.

At first I thought it was a husband and wife fighting about something. Maybe a domestic dispute.

Then I realized it was a couple of store detectives trying to take two boxes of merchandise from a young woman. She put up a good scrap, and screamed a lot. But they finally took whatever she had away from her.

Then when they tried to take her into custody that's when she got serious. Both of them were unable to subdue her. She finally made it to a pickup truck and quickly drove off. But not before the store employee wrote down her license number.

As I went into the store about my business I reflected on the incident. In my mind it was only one thing: a drug addict so desperate that she was willing to sacrifice her freedom to take care of her habit.

And I remembered a time when I regularly risked my freedom to feed my addiction. Then I got lucky and found my way to recovery.

Hopefully this woman will someday have the same kind of luck.