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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yesterday tested my patience. First I went to have the oil changed in my car. Even though I didn't have an appointment, the attendant told me it would be less than an hour and I would be on my way. An hour and a half later he came into the waiting room and tried to sell me $350 more worth of services. By this time I was nearly an hour late to be in my office and was pretty impatient.

To add to the mix one of my employees called and said the man who supervised the employment center had gotten angry and left, presumably to get drunk. So now I had two issues piling up on me. I was already late to start a project at the office, plus I had to find a replacement for the man who had left. By the time I left the dealership I was reaching a high level of frustration.

On my way to the office I called a couple of friends. One of them didn't answer, the other one didn't seem to understand my frustration. However, within a mile after I left the dealership God intervened again.

As I sat at an intersection with frustration gnawing at my gut, before me appeared the answer. Shuffling through the crosswalk on a cane, a beat up backpack on one shoulder, was a man in his 60s who appeared to be in poor health. He had long gray hair and it looked like he hadn't had a bath in a few weeks. My frustration immediately lifted and I knew what I had to do.

When I had an opportunity to turn my car around I drove back and found him. He was sitting at a bus stop and I drove up and handed him all the bills I had in my wallet. He thanked me for my gift and I drove away, gratitude washing over me.

While I hadn't felt like drinking or putting a needle in my arm I still was about as upset as I get these days. And God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, handed me the solution that he always does when I get in this state: he showed me what the world can really look like when our lives are a mess.