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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I believe gratitude is a major factor in our sobriety. I was reminded of this yesterday while talking with a client who works in our car wash business.

He has been with us for about 18 months and is doing well in the program. However, as part of cleaning up the wreckage of his past he went to court for some minor offenses that earned him a jail sentence. Because he lives in a recovery program the judge was lenient. He let him serve his 30 day sentence on work furlough. Here in Maricopa County, Arizona many of those on work furlough sentences spend their nights in a part of the jail system known as Tent City. There is no air-conditioning in the tents: only swamp coolers. On summer nights the temperature sometimes sinks to 80 or 85°.

Aside from spending his nights in a sweltering tent, this client spends his days working in 100 plus degree temperatures in our hand car wash. Yet he doesn't complain.

When I asked how he was doing he replied, "I'm so grateful."

He listed all the things he was grateful for: a job, a place to live, and his sobriety.

He kept going. Before he got sober over a year ago he was homeless and living in a wash in the desert. He stole or panhandled every day so he would have alcohol and food.

“Looking at where I came from,” he concluded, “my life is great today.”