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, May 29, 2011

Angels on Buses

A newcomer was talking of his journey to TLC from the other side of the country and of wanting to drink along the way. But each time he started to go to a liquor someone or something would intervene.

Once, at a bus station in Texas, he spotted the neon sign in the liquor store window a half block away. He asked the driver if he had time to run to the store to get cigarettes – though his real intention was to pick up a bottle. The driver told him he probably had time to get to the store. But probably not enough to get back in time to board as the bus was leaving in five minutes.

“And I don’t wait,” said the driver. “I’m on a schedule.” So, he stayed on the bus, not wanting to take a chance.

On another leg of the journey, he promised himself he'd obtain a drink at the next stop. Then, an hour or so before the stop his companion in the seat next to him began telling him his story of being sober fifteen years. He spoke of the benefits of sobriety. He told of living on the streets, of losing jobs and relationships, of jail stays. He marveled at the great life he had today and showed him pictures of his wife and children. Before the newcomer realized it the bus was pulling away from the station where he’d promised to buy himself something to drink. For some reason he’d forgotten about buying a bottle.

As the Greyhound cruised through the flat lands of Texas and New Mexico on into Arizona the newcomer said he had a sense that angels might be looking out for him. Because each time he was ready to drink it didn’t happen. And he was able to stay sober during the three day trip across the country.