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.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The attack of 9/11 is unforgettable. When the towers came crashing down our world changed. Because I live under the flight path few miles from the Phoenix airport, and many planes take off and land directly over my house, I remember the eerie quiet of the sky for several days afterward. The impact of that tragic day touched us all in some way.

As time went on I would periodically use the event as an example during our peer counseling groups, usually in the context of making the most of our lives today. I tell those in my groups that the victims awoke that morning and went about their life as they would on any other. Many had dinner dates for that evening. Others prepared a crock pot of food. Others left their pet at the groomers, to be picked up later that day. Some had plans to get their children from daycare.

I point out that some of us addicts and alcoholics live our lives as if we're going to be here forever. We waste days and nights, hours and years pursuing drugs and alcohol trying to relive the unattainable first rush. It never happens.

Many times those I counsel act as if their drinking and drugging career will keep them from ever attaining anything. I respond that the important thing is what they do today, that they can do nothing about the past.

If anything, 9/11 illustrates the unpredictability and uncertainty of life.