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.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eating an Elephant

A client in one of our aftercare groups spoke to me the next day about anger he’d felt during our aftercare group while listening to others procrastinate about reaching their goals. Because he was at the end of the circle there wasn’t time for him to share.

“I got so pissed,” he said. “That I told myself I’m not going to be that person. I hated listening to those guys making excuses for not getting things done.

During the group in question a few clients were talking of goals to have their driving privileges restored. Each had reasons why they couldn’t get it done. They didn’t have enough money. Or they had charges in more than one jurisdiction. Or they didn’t have a car. The list went on and on. When I’d try to explain that you eat an elephant a bite at a time, they still had excuses for being unable to take even small, preliminary steps.

The client who was upset at their procrastination went on to say he made a decision right after group to quit smoking, stop eating crappy food, and to continue his exercise regimen.

His comments illustrate something I know about the group process. Even though some don’t get a chance to participate they still benefit by listening to others.