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.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A fellow I sponsor called me very upset at himself. He had been working on his spirituality and was puzzled because he found himself getting angry in traffic. He went on to tell me that he was driving onto the freeway and when he pulled into his traffic lane someone started blowing their horn and waving their fist at him in anger. Before he knew it he was waving his fist and shouting back at the angry driver. It was only after a few moments had passed when he realized his intense reaction. His heart was pounding and he was full of adrenaline. It was amazing to him that he had gone from serenity to near rage in a flash.

He was disappointed because the day had started out great. The sun was shining, he was driving to his office, and feeling positive. Then the next moment he's embroiled in an angry exchange with a stranger.

"I'm embarrassed," he told me. "I thought I was beyond that kind of stuff."

I explained to him that there will never be a time, in my opinion, when we live always on a plane of spirituality. It says in the literature that we claim "spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection." To me this means that we always face challenges. My experience has been that the more I try to be spiritual and serene and at peace the more challenges come my way. And in my life they always come as a surprise, when I'm least expecting obstacles in my path.

My belief is that being spiritual is not something we can really plan for. To me it is something that comes upon us naturally when we're in a good place. As soon as we start to congratulate ourselves on our progress, it seems that life intervenes with quick lessons.

If I live in the moment and enjoy everything God puts before me, even angry drivers, then maybe I'm making progress.