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 26, 2010

I'm always motivated to go to the gym. Since I've been in recovery, some 20 years ago, I've been working out. I just feel better when I put in 45 minutes a day doing something. I don't care whether it's working out with weights, riding my bicycle or using an elliptical. Motivation is not a problem for me.

But if motivation ever were a problem I see examples at the gym all the time of people I can use as role models.

I remember a fellow I met 15 years ago when I was a member of the YMCA. This man, who was relatively young, suffered from multiple sclerosis. He would show up at the gymnasium on a walker. Once he started working out he would set the walker at the side of the gym next to the wall. Because he couldn't walk unaided, he would use one machine, get off of it, then crawl to the next machine. He would repeat that routine until he had worked out for forty-five minutes to an hour. Witnessing his struggles to work out, I never had even a moment where I lost motivation.

At the gym where I currently work out there's a fellow in a wheelchair who shows up several mornings a week at 4 AM. Even though he has only one leg he struggles in and out of his chair onto a bench or machine, and works up a sweat. He is quite strong, stronger than many of us who work out at the same time. He doesn't complain and always has a smile on his face. There's never a moment, when he's around, when I think that my workout is a struggle.

After being in recovery for nearly 20 years I have developed ways of thinking that help me maintain my sobriety. One is to always be grateful.. And when I see people who have physical challenges exercising and trying to maintain what they have left I find it inspiring. After all, who can complain when there are people in wheelchairs, or who are suffering from terminal diseases, still out there fighting to maintain themselves?

I'm so grateful for the blessings God has given me...