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, May 25, 2011

Gratitude on Sunday

Gratitude is the elixir that drives my life. As I was thinking about what I was going to write today I felt kind of uninspired. The well was dry.

Then I heard a duck quacking downstairs, one that shows up every morning and every evening to be fed during spring and fall. As I was tossing bread pieces onto the pool surface I had a sense of gratitude for this small connection with nature. Here I am, living in the middle of a city of a half million people and yet this wild creature shows up to be fed. While the duck never gets too close, he knows enough about me to squawk at the back door or at the patio window until I feed him. He usually stays about an hour, floating about the pool after he consumes the two pieces of bread that I crumble for him.

I went mentally from enjoying the duck's presence to the larger subject of things I'm grateful for.

Since I got sober 20 years ago I've been blessed in so many ways:

- I have a beautiful and charming woman in my life.
-Two of my three children are sober, as are most of my grandchildren.
- I've been the CEO of the same non-profit for nearly 20 years.
-I have the opportunity to pass on recovery to the 600+ clients of TLC.
-I’ve earned several substance abuse counseling certifications.
- I’ve achieved financial independence- not bad for a guy who had 73 cents when he went into a detoxification unit over 20 years ago.
- I'm able to spend an hour at the gym six days a week and can do 25 chin-ups in one set.
- I have realized all the promises of the 12 step programs.

At the beginning of this blog I said gratitude drives my life. Gratitude is my choice. For too many years my choice was ingratitude and negativity and that kept me drunk and high.

Today I reflect on the blessings God pours into my life. And I will try to thank him by displaying my gratitude to others.