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.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Collateral Benefits

When I started TLC nearly 20 years ago it was for self-centered reasons. I wanted to work with alcoholics and addicts so I could stay close to my recovery. I figured running my own halfway house would keep me in touch with recovery on a daily basis. I didn't have enough foresight to see the collateral benefits.

But I saw them again yesterday while talking to a client who's been with us nearly four years. We were in my office talking about a construction project and the conversation segued into how grateful he was. He mentioned several things he was grateful for: having his children and grandchildren in his life. Being out of prison. Having a job where he's able to help other addicts and alcoholics. For his health. For his home in our sober living apartments. He was so grateful for his life today he said he should pay us - instead of us paying him - for the work he does at TLC.

This kind of overwhelming gratitude and loyalty is one of the blessings of what we do here. I recognize the privilege it is to help others make positive changes. And the effect is not just on the client, it also affects their families and friends. Like casting a pebble in a pond, the ripple effect spreads to future generations.

An interesting part of his gratitude is the powerful effect it had on me. His gratitude makes me think of the blessings I have in my own life. This morning I'm still reflecting on what he said.