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 13, 2011

We addicts and alcoholics often have difficulty keeping balance. A good friend, sober for many years, comes to mind. He works a strong program, attends meetings, but also works about 60 to 70 hours a week. His work ethic is full speed ahead until he succumbs to exhaustion.

I understand him, because I also have difficulty with balance. It probably the addictive part of my personality: if a little bit is good, then more is better. And a lot more is a lot better.

Even though I've been sober for over 20 years, keeping balance is at times difficult. On one hand I have goals for myself - and for TLC. And sometimes, when I'm unaware, these goals transform into obsessions.

So how do we find balance? With a schedule? Do we work so many hours a day and so many days a week? Because some days work gets done in half a day. Other days business and life intervene. Then there aren't enough hours in the day to complete everything. There are no easy answers.

One solution is self-awareness. There are times when I walk away when tired or frustrated. I don't have the obsessive need I had years ago to complete it right now. The key is self-awareness. Sometimes I lose self-awareness when phone calls stream in and people are knocking on the office door. There are moments when I'm able to say whoa, but not always. Sometimes the responsibilities of life come rolling in so fast that awareness go out the window.

But this blog started out with my friend and his situation. What do I do about a friend who goes through these cycles of hard work, then crashes from overwork and stress? If I'm a caring, loving friend, I'll do what I have to about changing his situation. Maybe I'll put him on a rigid work schedule, so he can’t wear himself out. I guess the real question is how do I not interfere with my friend’s independence yet still be a responsible employer?