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, December 26, 2010

Last week I spoke at our Glendale facility’s monthly awards meeting. When I finished speaking the house manager asked if anyone wanted to share about their recovery. As various people spoke it came out that one of the residents had lost a son that day to a heroin overdose. Those sharing expressed their condolences and told him they were there for him.

This man's tragic loss reminded me we face a deadly disease. I don't know the details of the son's death, but I doubt he awoke that morning thinking heroin would take his life.

When I shared my story at the meeting my theme was that any of them can change if they are properly motivated. I also told them I wasn't there to convince them it was a good idea to get clean or sober. I believe life teaches us drinking and driving doesn't work for some of us. As it says in the book on page 31, if we have any doubts about whether we're an alcoholic we should go across the street to the bar and try some controlled drinking. Then we might learn if we truly are powerless over our disease.

I told them if I could get sober any of them could. I cited my experiences through years of drinking and drugging. I told them of my 15 years of incarceration, of my year in a mental hospital. I told them of my hepatitis C, and of the many losses and successes I experienced in sobriety. In conclusion, my point was that none of us are too old or too sick or face too many challenges to change our lives if drugs or alcohol are the things holding us back.

We just have to pick up the book and do the work.