Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th 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, August 23, 2010

I was at a Big Book study this weekend when I heard another lesson in gratitude.

A woman I know, who has been sober for some 16 years, was talking about her back surgery. She recently had undergone her fourth surgery, this time on her neck. When it was her turn to share she described an experience she had while at the drugstore picking up a prescription for pain medications.

She said there were two other people in the waiting area with her at the pharmacy. One of them was a young man who appeared to be in good health, but who had a large swelling in the area of his liver. Because she is in the medical field she recognized this a sign of cirrhosis, a progressive and deadly disease. She said the other was a very heavy woman who whose face wore an expression of sadness and depression.

At that moment the realization came over her that there are many people in the world with problems much more serious than hers. At that point she began to enumerate her blessings. She had good health insurance. She had a good marriage. She had a secure job to return to when she recovered. Even though she was on her fourth surgery she had received excellent medical care and was expected to fully recover. And she would soon be able to stop taking pain medication.

She went on to tell us that her brief encounter with the two people at the pharmacy had reminded her to be grateful. She expressed the truth that we can always find someone who's in a worse situation than we are.