Monday, February 28, 2022

Following Suggestions

When I first got sober in January of 1991, I began following the suggestions that were given to me in AA meetings.

One suggestion was that I get a sponsor and I had a bit of a problem with that.  Why, I thought, did I need another person to teach me how to read a book or take an inventory?  But, I decided to get one anyway.  After all, it was my best thinking that had turned me into an alcoholic and addict so maybe someone else's experiences could help change my thinking.

So I went through two of them before I found one that I felt like I could communicate with.  The reason I got rid of the first one was because he came off like he thought he was a psychiatrist.  Plus he would never tell me how long he'd been sober.

When I found the second one we were a perfect fit.  He was a retired probation officer and he gave his opinion and never minced words.  For example, I once asked him how come I was always arguing with my wife.  He told me that he couldn't really give me any advice about that because he and his wife had a perfect relationship; he lived in Mesa and she lived in Prescott.  That way they never argued.  He was down to earth like that.

He also taught me how to volunteer and help homeless alcoholics get sober.  He set an example by volunteering at soup kitchens.  And he also gave money to alcoholics who approached him outside of convenience stores.  When I asked him why he did that, because they were just going to get drunk with the money he told me that was okay.  He said they might get drunk enough to decide to quit, that maybe someday they would get enough.

My point today is to get a sponsor; they might help save your life.

Click here to email John

Friday, February 25, 2022

Nothing New

TLC opened its doors January 9, 1992 at 132 South Robson, in Mesa, Arizona..  That was a little over thirty years ago.

And the reason I bring this up is because of something I read about our program the other day on a Google comment page.  

The guy who left the comment said something about everyone "is drunk" there.  About the "terrible food."  And "cockroaches."  He had more to say, but you get the drift.  Obviously, this was a former client who had been discharged from the program because he couldn't comply with the guidelines.  

Years ago it used to irritate me when I would read negative comments on the internet or hear them elsewhere.  Then I began to realize that normally when someone leaves a negative comment it has everything to do with them.  And nothing to do with us and the way we manage our program.

And the people that write slander like this are admitting that they were unable to comply with the simple rules that all of our clients live by.

We are one of the largest programs in Arizona, able to house around 850 residents.  Anyone can enter our program, whether they have money or not.  We allow those who are without funds to come into the program if they are willing to follow our guidelines and show motivation to change their lives.  There are very few programs that allow addicts to enter without insurance or money - which is probably why we have such a large pool of clients.

Those who complete the 90 day program have a good chance of living a sober life - actually we guarantee it - if they follow our simple guidelines and participate in the program.

To learn more about TLC either go to our website or call 480-833-0143 to learn how to enter.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

3000 Blogs

I happened to look at my blog counter today and realized that with my last blog I've completed 3000 postings.

It was while on vacation - in Mission Bay, San Diego in the summer of 2010 - that I posted the first blog.  And for many years I posted one each day.  

At first, I started doing a daily blog because I thought it would give our website a more personal touch.  And it has had that effect.

There were a few other reasons why I started.   One was to help acquaint readers with our website and program.  People would hopefully read the blog and get a better understanding of what we do here at TLC; and how, and why we do it.  And another reason was to force myself to post on a regular basis.  

For many years, both in and out of prison, I worked as a journalist and I wanted a commitment that would keep me writing on a regular basis.  I looked at it as another way to have to exercise my brain.  And, it has worked.  While I posted every day for the first five years, I eventually switched to posting every third day.  I think that it was getting more and more difficult to come up with a new topic each day.

While I do my best to keep to the topic of recovery, I sometimes wander off into other areas that I think might be of interest to our readers.

How long will I continue to do this?  I'm not sure.  I know that someday I'll likely take a long vacation in Mexico - or somewhere in that direction - and maybe take a week or even a month off.  Really, I don't want to look that far ahead because my rule today is to live in this moment.

Click here to email John

Friday, February 18, 2022


Last night I awakened with a start. I'd been in the midst of a pretty boring dream about being in my car in a parking lot, backing up.  I recall making sure to look in my rear view mirrors to be certain the way was clear.  And it was.  At least I must have thought it was, because I kept backing.  Then all of a sudden I smacked into the front of a car behind me and I awoke and sat up.

As I sat on the edge of my bed I began having a dialogue with myself about what a strange dream I'd had. And then I realized why had I'd had it.

On the 7th of this month, around 11 days ago, on a Monday, I was passing through an intersection less than a mile from my home with my daughter as a passenger.  As I passed through the intersection another driver ran the red light and plowed into my driver's side door at 40-50 miles per hour.

The crash was explosive.  All of our airbags deployed and I felt like I was being squeezed in a giant fist into a tiny ball.  I remember thinking to myself that I was about to die.

Both my daughter and I were taken to the hospital.  She was released after a few hours and I spent two nights because I had a broken sternum and related injuries. Both of us are still healing.

But, back to the dream.  I knew that it must have occurred because of the accident, kind of like PTSD.  So, I devised a plan to help me absorb and accept the memory of that event.  What I'm going to do is take a route to work and home each day that requires me to pass that intersection.  And every morning and afternoon I'll make a turn on that corner and see what memories come up, if any.

I've heard that exposure to bad memories can help us accept them until they have no more effect upon us when they do come up. Because we come to accept them and absorb them as the accidents they were. 

In any case, I'm already a more cautious driver.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A lot of Support

We never know how many others care about us until we have a serious problem.

I found that out this last week when we I ended up in the hospital after a serious accident when a driver ran a red light and t-boned the left front door on my Tesla.  The car was totally destroyed.

Fortunately, my daughter and I were both wearing seat belts. She was released from the hospital the first day.  And I went home after two days and two nights.  She has injuries to her legs and pelvic area; I have a broken sternum, broken ribs and various other damage.

I've been receiving a constant string of messages from family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances near and far.  And that means a lot to me.  Because sometimes things happen in the world and we feel better if we know that we're not the only ones that care about our well-being.  These messages have helped elevate my attitude and speed my recovery.  It's nice to know people are supporting us when bad things happen.

That's why I believe that kindness to others is so important.  We never know when others will face challenges or go through tough times.  We need to be there for them.

Click here to email John

Saturday, February 12, 2022


It's interesting how unpredictable life can be.  Last Monday I'm driving to lunch with my daughter on a beautiful, sunny day. Not a care in the world.  Just a few business chores.  

The next thing I know a car slams into my driver side door and I'm sitting in the driver's seat, thinking a lot about life and maybe death - with a crushing pressure in the middle of my chest.

Then I'm on a gurney, being loaded into an ambulance, and on my way to Banner Desert hospital.  It seemed to take forever to get there and that the driver hit every bump in the road while on the way. 

Finally I'm being pushed down a long corridor, then into a large room that's partitioned off with a lot of curtains.  I'm hooked to a few high-tech machines that check blood pressure and other vital signs.  Every so often they make strange noises that nobody but the medical staff understand. I find a strange comfort in having so much attention directed at my well-being.

Every once in a while a nurse or technician will come and take x-rays of my chest and other parts of my anatomy.  Later in the afternoon one of them returns and tells me I have internal bleeding behind my chest wall, along with a broken sternum, broken left ribs and bruising along my left arm and leg.

After all of their scrutiny they decide to keep me overnight.  After 12 hours of being in the ER I'm sent to the fourth floor to a nice corner room that has its own private balcony and a comfortable bed that vibrates my legs every so often.  The nurse says that the vibration helps prevent clots.

My stay lasts for two nights and days.  Finally, on the last day a trauma team comes to the room and discusses their plans,  It's kind of like I'm not even present.  They're trying to decide whether to keep me there and cut me open so they can repair my sternum or else send me home to let it heal on its own.  

I have so many painkillers in me that I don't care what they decide,  So now I'm finally at home.

Click here to email John

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Thought I was dead

Last Monday, the 7th, my daughter and I were driving West on Brown Road in Mesa at about 45 miles an hour - getting ready to cross Center Street.  We were on our way to deliver payroll checks to some employees at a business we have at Brown and Country Club.

We had the green light and were about in the middle of the intersection when I noticed out of the corner of my left eye a car traveling at about 45-50 miles an hour headed North, directly for the driver's side of my Tesla.  I think I tried to swerve right to avoid the impact but am not sure because after I noticed him everything was a blur.  I do remember thinking that I was about to die as the car smashed into my left front door and the air bags deployed.

The next thing I remember is coming to and my daughter screaming at me to wake up.  She thought I was dead or dying.  When I woke up I tried to open my door, but it wouldn't open.  So I ended up crawling over the console and out the passenger side of the front seat with the help of my daughter and a woman who was following us and also saw the other driver run the red light.

Once I was at Banner Desert Hospital the emergency staff took ex-rays and discovered that I had a broken sternum, along with fractured ribs and small cuts and bruises.  I also had bleeding behind my chest wall.

So what's the lesson?  For me the lesson is that we never know what life will bring us. While I was sitting on the curb waiting for the ambulance I was thinking how grateful I was that my daughter survived without too much injury and that I was still alive after such a high-impact collision.

While I'm still somewhat in shock and traumatized, I'm applying the lessons I've learned in the rooms of 12 step recovery.  I'm in acceptance of what happened - and I have deep gratitude that I may enjoy more years of recovery.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Staying Forever

Transitional Living Communities is different from any other program that I'm familiar with - in Arizona - or any other state.  I'm not saying that I'm 100% sure, but I'm unaware of any other programs that allow clients to stay as long as they want.

We actually have many residents who've been here as long as 20 years and consider TLC their home.  We've had several residents who became terminally ill and asked to stay with us until they passed away.  And we've allowed them to do so as so as we're able to get them to their medical appointments and trips to their pharmacy.

There are a few reasons for clients staying so long.  Many clients who stay extended periods do so because their family has disowned them.  Or else their family has passed on or else lost contact with them.  We've had many clients who make friendships with one another and end up staying because they want to maintain sober relationships. 

We have some clients who worked as volunteers for a number of years and don't feel like leaving, yet are of retirement age.  They want the benefits of a sober environment and the recovery community they've come to know and love.

There's a happiness study that was started over 80 years ago at Harvard University - that's still going - which found that people enjoy the most happiness in relationships with friends, family and those they're close to.  That may provide a clue why people sometimes spend years living with us.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Let them Go

A lot of clients who come through our doors only get here because their parents are tired of putting up with their addiction.

In fact, unless someone writes us from prison or jail, it's usually the parents who call seeking help for their children.  They haven't yet mustered the courage to send them to the streets.  Instead, they think that if they treat them nicely and help them they'll get the message and quit using on their own.  But that rarely happens.

In most cases when clients come in on their own it's because our program is the last resort for many of them.  And the reason for that is because we accept anyone who seeks help - whether they have money or not.  We help them find jobs, feed them, get them clothing, glasses, dental care and provide therapy so they can deal with their addictions.

But many of them were never taught how to be responsible for themselves.  A lot of our new clients, the younger ones, don't know how to make a bed, clean their rooms, fill out a job application, or wash their clothing.  Without mommy and daddy they're totally helpless.  In some cases it's like we're raising other peoples' children.

A lot of parents often call us to complain about how they're children are treated at our facilities.  And that's because they'll call their parents to complain about the food.  Or the fact that we expect them to go to work and pay a service fee for their food and housing. Or that we make them go to meetings and peer groups to learn about their disease.

After most of these calls from the parents they understand that we're trying our best to save their children's lives - not be mean to them.

We tell them they need to let their children go - let them grow up and be responsible for themselves.