Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th 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.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Meeting the Challenge

We find out what people are made out of when times are tough. Right now something like 20 million Americans are unemployed. There's a lot of chaos in government.  We hear a lot of anxiety in the press. Yet, other than a few isolated incidents it seems like everyone is hanging in there, at least in our program.

The interesting thing about TLC is that we are probably doing as good as we ever have, both population – wise and financially. And it seems like when we face challenges like this our clients rise up and do better than when times are are good and life is relatively normal. Whatever normal is.

Another example of this was during the last recession when Obama was president. There were several people in our staff who didn't take a salary for 3 to 4 years. They cut back on their expenses and lived off of savings or other income. A similar situation occurred during the attack on 9/11 when the economy went into a tailspin for a while. Some of our staff members took a 10% pay cut until things became flush again.

Maybe because of the nature of this pandemic we have lost a couple of key people who had been with us for at least 10 years. One of them just kind of disappeared with a very brief notice; the other relapsed and fell back into his old behavior after achieving about three years of sobriety. I'm not sure what went on with those two, but it may have just been the magnitude of this pandemic that made them realize how unpredictable life can be. For them, it might've been fear of the future, him him just been the slight push it took to send them back to their drug of choice – who knows?

All I know that in my 81 years I've never seen a situation that parallels this one. But it fits exactly with my motto: "The only thing we can count on in life is that things will be different tomorrow."

And how we handle that tomorrow tells a whole lot about who we are and what we're made of.

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