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, August 13, 2016


I think it's far better to tell your child that he can do something you know he can't accomplish than to discourage him from trying.

We have many addicts who don't feel they can do or complete anything. They have zero confidence. They've never tried to learn much because their parents told them repeatedly that they were too stupid.

And when someone is repeatedly told that they're incompetent they give up. So instead they fall in with companions who approve of whatever they do. Especially if it's something criminal or daring. That's why many youngsters fall in with bad companions.

There's nothing that will build our self-esteem like success - and then being recognized for we did.

As a child I wasn't given much encouragement. But somewhere deep inside I knew I could be successful. I worked at money making projects from my childhood. Some were unsuccessful, some made me a little money.

As I grew older I found it easier to earn money illegally. Since my road to self esteem was about how much money I could make, I didn't pay attention to whether it was illegal or legal. And of course you know where that took me.

Like many addicts I did whatever it took to make money and take care of my habit. And it didn't affect my self-esteem much until I started getting into serious trouble. When I realized how far behind I'd fallen from the rest of my peers, only then did my self-esteem take a real dive.

It took years for me to dig myself out of the hole I'd gotten myself into. I started doing positive things to change. And it wasn't an overnight process.

Today I enjoy success and feel good about what I do. But it took self-determinatiion and a desire to change.