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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In less than a month I’ll have been drug and alcohol free for 20 years, over a quarter of my life. When I arrived in sobriety January 14, 1991 it was because I was trying to escape the pain in my life. Addiction had cost me my job, my apartment, my friends and my self-respect.

One more time I’d lost everything to my addictions. I’d had a great job as the vice-president of a nationwide cable company, I had an expense account, a nice apartment, a sports car and could do pretty much what I wanted.

But one more time I started drinking, just a little. Within a few weeks that wasn’t enough and I was seeking heroin. Before long my full time occupation was no longer the cable company, it was the job of supplying my drug habit. With a matter of months I was homeless and stealing to survive. I was totally demoralized and in the grips of depression.

In retrospect that final relapse was the best thing that could have happened. At 51 years of age I finally came to grips with the idea that I was an alcoholic and powerless over any substance I put into my body.

I went into a detoxification facility in Mesa, Arizona, determined to change my life. After 11 days I was referred to a halfway house where I lived for the next year.

Had anyone asked me to draw a picture of the changes that would occur in my life it wouldn’t have been a very large one. Probably it would have had something to do with having a job, a car, and a place to live. It seems, though, that God had other plans.

Now, nearly 20 years later I have a great life that includes a relationship with lovely woman, the same job for almost 19 years, two colleges degrees and three counseling certifications. I also have a relative amount of prosperity and fairly good health at nearly 72 years of age.

What more can a man of my background ask?