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.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lesson From the Past

A few days ago, while walking into a supermarket, I was reminded of the insanity that drugs and alcohol can bring into our lives.

A loud and obstreperous drunk was being confronted by two security guards near the store entrance. Within seconds the shouting escalated into a brawl after the drunk punched one of the guards. Within moments he was subdued and handcuffed face down on the asphalt.

After a few minutes I’d forgotten the incident and was going about my shopping when I heard loud shouting near the front entrance. It was the same drunk, still struggling with the guards, being pushed through the store to an office at the rear. All the way through he was shouting things like, “Help me, I’m being kidnapped!” and “these guys are going to rape me!”

After the drunk was escorted into the office, two large police officers showed up to take over. And behind them were paramedics who were probably called to see if the man was injured.

While a few shoppers smiled and shook their heads, I reflected how this man’s life might change if he got into recovery. While I was never a violent drunk I had more than my share of embarrassing incidents where police and ambulances showed up to deal with my behavior.

I breathed a prayer of gratitude as I left the store – gratitude because I found the 12-step programs and haven’t lived like that for more than 20 years.