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, October 26, 2010

I was at a 12 step meeting yesterday where the topic was the first step.

After one of the old-timers shared about the first step he segued into a discussion about finding role models in recovery. He said that when he first came to the program he tried to find people who had been sober for a while. He said that he was so serious about recovery and sobriety that he was desperate to find good examples. He didn't pay attention to those who complained at the meetings. He didn't try to pick apart the stories that others told about their experiences in recovery. If he heard something negative he shut it out. He was so desperate to change his life that he focused on those who had what he wanted.

Since he had been in business for much of his life before attempting to get sober, he looked for people with a similar background. Finally his focus fell upon a man who had been sober some 10 years. He noticed that this man came to the meetings in a relatively new car. He was always well dressed in casual business attire. He seemed calm and relaxed and serene. The old-timer noticed that when the man shared he told stories of drinking and drugging that were similar to his own. Finally, he had found someone to whom he could relate.

It isn't imperative to find someone whose story matches ours perfectly. But I believe it boosts our chances of success if we find someone who has a similar background who's been sober for for some time.

My own sponsor is a man I have known for nearly 20 years. He is five years older than I am, retired, and was in the recovery of business for many years. His background is close enough to mine that I can relate to him on many levels. In fact, when I go to him for advice, he often tells me that I know the answer. And he is right. He and I think enough alike that our answers to problems are generally the same.

Try to find someone to whom you relate if you're trying to stay clean and sober.