Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Picking up the Tools

A construction supervisor spoke of the reaction he had several months ago when he was on a remodeling job and discovered a meth pipe wedged beneath a sink while looking for leaks.

“I stuck my head under there,” he said, “and there it was, right in front of my face.”

After his initial surprise he disposed of the pipe and continued working. It was only later he realized the difference in his life today and how he would have reacted before he got clean.

“A few years ago I wouldn’t have given a second thought about firing it up to see if there was residue in it. Instead I used what I’ve learned in the program.”

His story illustrates what happens to our clients once they become serious about recovery.

When clients live in our recovery environment long enough they develop attitudes and behaviors we hope will insulate them against the surprises that life deals all of us from time to time.

And the surprises are often much larger than what this man experienced. We might lose a job. Or a loved one gets ill, or worse, passes on. We might get divorce papers. The list is endless.

And when the pain of a bad experience smacks us what do we do? Oh, we knew what to do before didn’t we? A couple of lines to erase the pain. Or maybe a shot of Jack Daniels with a Bud chaser? These would cushion the reality and numb the pain. But now, now that we’re new beings, what do we do?

We call our sponsor or rally our sober friends. We fall back on the 12 steps. We go to a meeting. We have found a blueprint in the steps to guide us though trouble, trauma, and temptation. We use our new resources to survive.