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.

Saturday, July 25, 2020


I've found myself being angry and disappointed in the last few weeks. And it's not because of the politics. It's not because of the rioters and anarchists who are tearing down Seattle and Portland, using the death of a black man as an excuse to create chaos.

No, my anger is much closer to home.

No, my anger pops up when I see people not even doing the basics to prevent the spread of this virus. I see people I'm fairly close to walk around without masks and who don't have a care about social distancing. At first, I was one of those people who was very skeptical about the effectiveness of masks. And even though I still have questions about whether they work or not, I come from the streets and the drug world and have zero medical background. Therefore, when the bulk of the medical community is wearing masks and is advising us to wear masks, then that's what I do. 

I don't want to wear a mask. But nobody has come up with any other suggestions that would possibly slow this thing down. Masks and social distancing is the best they've come up with so far.

Yet, people I know well and care about somehow don't seem to get it. I have a couple of friends who have frail, elderly relatives and friends – I'm over 80 myself – yet I have never seen a mask on their face. And because I know that deep inside they're loving and caring people I can't figure out what's going on with them. I even know one person who has a family member who is bedridden. 

Yet have never seen a mask on his face.  Is it because the mask is too uncomfortable and inconvenient?
Is it because this person is spaced out? Is it because he doesn't care? Or does he think the idea of masks is a bunch of propaganda? I'll never know why he doesn't follow the majority and I'm sure that if I asked him he would come up with some kind of excuse that he felt was logical.

All I know is if I say I care but I don't practice the basics that might protect my fellow man – then I'm lying to myself and everyone else.