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, October 5, 2020

Helping the Hopeless

Many clients who come through our doors have nothing.  They don't have a job, or job skills.  They have no money. No home.  What friends and family they once had long ago abandoned them.  A percentage have rotten teeth, or none at all - also known as "meth mouth."  Others have serious health issues such as COPD, diabetes, heart problems.  Others have mental health issues, like bipolar or psychizo-effectice disorder and others.

On top of these issues many have few social skills because they were either either raised by addict or alcoholic parents.  Some have tatoos on their face because in prison that shows a committment to a life of crime - something that doesn't play well with potential employers.  Nor do they have much basic education.  And few have degrees.

Yet we take them in without upfront money because we know that addicts and alcoholics spend their money on their habits before they'll use it to get into treatment.  We know that, as we've been there ourselves because our entired organzation - which has eight hundred beds - is comprised of addicts and alcoholics in recovery.  Even the staff.

Some outsiders think we're a government funded organization.  But that's not so.  TLC raises all of its funds by collecting $135.00 weekly from those employed outside the organization. Plus, we make a small amount from several small businesses that also serve as training programs for the inexperienced.

Clients who are unemployable for whatever reason, are allowed to volunteer in our program.  For this activity they receive a small weekly stipend, housing, medical and dental assistance, and other benefits, such as peer counseling.

At times we have resistance from the community because they view addiction as a moral issue as opposed to a medical problem.  We've sued more than one community - and won the lawsuit - because addicts and alcoholics and addicts are a protected class under the Americans with Disabilites Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act.  If anything gets in the way of their recovery they have standing to seek recompense.  After all, the disabled - like cancer patients, and the mentally ill - are entitled to help -regardless of how much the community objects.

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