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, December 22, 2016


A lady sent me an email the other day that pointed out some inconsistencies in my blogs. And her issue was that I had written that we should never help anyone out who is still getting high. Yet in other blogs I mentioned giving panhandlers a few dollars for drinks or drugs.

When I read what she was talking about I understood the confusion.

When I write about not helping someone who's getting high or drinking I was referring to members of our family. Not to bums living on the street.

I guess with me it's sort of an economical thing. If one of my family members is getting drunk or using – and expecting me to pay for It, that's where I draw the line.

As a matter of fact, my only rule is that if my family members are getting high and expecting me to pay for it that's when I quit doing things for them. If they decide they want to get sober I'll spend money to send them to treatment one time. But if they graduate and do the same thing all over again that's when I'm finished with them.

Because I'm a person who believes that people should do whatever they want with their lives. They want to get high – go for it. They want become sober and go to school – I'll help them do that. But I won't let them lay around on my couch getting high and expecting me to support them. That's when we we're done.

But when it comes to bums living on the street, I'll buy them a drink or hand them a few dollars if I have it. That's because I'm not an evangelist or preacher. I wish other people would live a certain way. But if they don't, that's not my business. I think if someone wants to be an alcoholic they should get as drunk as they want. Because when people get enough alcohol or drugs they eventually get sober – or die.