Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Every two weeks I drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada on business. I enjoy the five to six hour drive because it gives me time to myself. For the past several years of this drive I've been witness to one of the most amazing construction projects I've ever seen -- the bridge being built over the Hoover dam on the Colorado River.

Highway 93, linking Arizona and Nevada, crosses this beautiful arch of concrete that is poised gracefully over the Colorado River far below. The amazing part of the structure was how they built the archway. Construction crews worked from each side of the river, slowly adding to the arch for what seemed like years. As the arches slowly grew outward from the banks it looked almost like they were about to fall into the river. The only thing that kept them in the air were thick cables suspended from high towers anchored into the banks on each side of the river. But even the heavy cables didn't seem strong enough to support the massive weight of the concrete and steel arches. But somehow they did. Then one day I took the trip to Las Vegas and, sure enough, the arches had joined high above the river. It no longer seemed as if they were in danger of falling.

I mention this project because I have watched it from its inception and view it as a monument to human inspiration. It is a testimony to what people can do when they work together. While I know little about construction of this magnitude I do know that thousands of people have been involved with the project since its inception. While we passersby only see the people who are actually on site, I know that there are many many more in the background supporting the project. Planners, draftsman, environmentalists, supervisors, financial people, and a myriad of others have done a lot of hard work to bring the project along.

It is humbling to me because I know how difficult it can be to work with diverse people toward a common goal. In our small nonprofit we might have 60 employees, mostly volunteers. Yet even with a small number of people, accomplishing anything is sometimes incredibly difficult. That's why I am in awe of this complex project and the cooperation it took to bring it to fruition.

As a recovering person I can view such accomplishments as this bridge as an example of the power of the human spirit – the same spirit that helps us as we learn to live sober.