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 28, 2016


Once in a while I get an email like this one - written from the heart - by a TLC graduate.  I wanted to share his gratitude with you:

"Hello John..... Hoping all is well with you..

Sometimes when I am out in the community I hear negative things about Transitional Living Communities. For instance, while waiting to cross the street the other day I over heard the following conversation between two disheveled people sitting on a park bench. "You don't wanna go to TLC, f*** TLC. They wanted me get up early and work all the time... They all about the money and they got bugs."

I have also heard complaints from parents about how unfair their forty plus year old son was "treated" as a resident of TLC because he had to be up by 6 AM or earlier and that TLC didn't serve the food that their son likes to eat.

Before I made the decision in 2012 to return to TLC, the places that I lived had bugs as well. Like the two story oleander bush that I slept under on 27th Avenue and the I-17 freeway, and along the Colorado River near the Mexico/Arizona border. After a while of knowing the true feeling of being alone and exhausting all of my resources to obtain money for methamphetamines and booze, the TLC Roosevelt House started looking pretty darn good!!!!

Granted there are some people that are homeless due to extreme examples of bad luck. It is my experience that most people end up homeless and alone because of drugs and alcohol. I personally had to surrender to win. Today I live a sober and relatively happy life. TLC gave me a safe sober environment for me to have structure and suggested that I go to AA meetings and get a sponsor to help me get through the 12 steps. I was told that nobody was going to put any effort into me until I started putting some effort into myself. Therefore, I was able to start making some positive changes. I was able to realize what was wrong with me, instead of looking at what I thought was wrong with the rest of the world.

Thanks to God, Transitional Living Communities, and Alcoholics Anonymous and the people that have come before me in sobriety, I am able to live a simple and peaceful life today... Thank you for hearing me out."  (name left out to protect anonymity)