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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recently, one of our managers encountered a ghost from the past, someone he’d used drugs and hustled with some thirty years earlier. The man expressed surprise that our manager was prospering and alive, because the last time he saw him he was running and gunning his way down the path to destruction.

As they caught up with the lost years the manager explained that he’d been in recovery since the early nineties and that life had completely changed. He said he’d had the same job for nearly 20 years, had a circle of loving friends, and lived a relatively happy life. He said someone had once commented that his life seemed “boring.” But he told his friend he preferred boring to the insanity of having his door kicked in by the police, to sleeping on cold jailhouse floors, or working on prison chain gangs.

As the two reminisced, they discovered that several mutual friends had died from either drinking and drugging or a bad lifestyle.

When our manager shared this encounter with me he said he was grateful to be one of the lucky ones who’d been saved by the 12-step programs. He said if he hadn’t gotten sober he would be in an unmarked grave in a prison cemetery as had his friends who never had the opportunity to walk through the doors of recovery.

Indeed those of us who find sobriety are in the lucky minority of those who’ve been spared the miserable existence of living day-to-day trying to satisfy our addictions with another drink or fix.

Recovery transforms us into new beings.