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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

30 Years Later...

The speaker at yesterday's meeting was a wonderful example for those of us who are working our recovery. When he'd gotten sober some 30 years ago he was on the verge of losing everything. His family was ready to leave. He was broke and about to lose his business. His health was precarious.

Today he is retired and wealthy enough to spend several months each year vacationing at resorts. He is prominent in his community and engages in volunteer work. He’s able to spend time with his grandchildren, none of whom have ever seen him drunk.

The stories we hear at 12 step meetings fuel our sobriety. When a meeting is made up solely of newcomers, while there might be motivation to stay clean and sober, there are not a lot of examples of how the process works. But when a man stands up and talks about 30 years of sobriety, we all know he's been through tough times, good times, and faced the many challenges of dealing with day-to-day life. And the other part of the story is when someone keeps coming to meetings after 30 years, we have hope.

We've all heard of those who get sober and after 10 years or 15 years quit going to meetings because they don't need them anymore. But for those of us who work the steps, the 12th step tells us we had a spiritual awakening as a result of working the steps. The other part of the 12th step is that we carried the message to others. Nowhere in the step doesn't say we carried the message to others for five years, 10 years, or 20 years. There’s no time limitation on how long we carry the message. And the reality is if we carry the message, guess what? We stay sober ourselves by giving away our sobriety.

It’s in the book.