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, June 15, 2011

Giving it Away

A friend of mine who's in recovery called to tell me he was bored, felt stuck in his recovery. I told him he should go find someone to help, maybe go to a meeting and talk to a newcomer.

"You know," he told me, "that's the same thing my sponsor told me.”

I find that when I'm bored or feel stuck in my program one of the best things I can do is find someone to help. And because I have this peculiar disease called alcoholism, what I usually try to do is find another alcoholic to help. Or another addict of any stripe, because I can relate to most drug users because I also consumed every kind of drug available.

A principle of the 12 step programs is that we carry the message to others who are suffering. And there is something magical and healing, about helping another human being improve their life. When we reach out to others with healing words and advice about sobriety what happens to us? We ourselves receive another dose of healing, another reinforcement of the blessings of sobriety.

I've never come back from a 12 step call without feeling much more blessed than the person I helped. I’m so energized when I give away the good others have given me in this program.