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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Program for Everyone

The speaker at yesterday's 12 step meetings said his drinking story was pretty boring. He drank beer at home, staggered around the backyard knocking down shrubbery, and passed out when he had too much. No DUIs.  No arrests. No fights. He simply drank,  passed out, and woke up with terrible hangovers.

 It wasn't until years later that he realized his problem was how much alcohol he consumed. Prior to that discovery he went to therapy and looked in other different directions. He tried drugs, including marijuana. But he could never find the right chemical balance. So he reverted to alcohol until finally discovering the 12 step programs. It was then that life began to change.

While listening to this man I once again appreciated the diversity found in 12 step programs. Many of those who share the podium have a dramatic story of arrests, fights, homelessness, prisons and lengthy hospitalizations. Some of these stories are entrancing. And it's easy to understand how an alcoholic of this type discovers a 12 step program.  But to hear a speaker who didn't experience a lot of drama made me appreciate how the founders designed the program to accommodate all of us.

The stories told in 12 step meetings always have the same plot: what it was like, what happened, and what it's like today. In layman's language that means what our drinking or drugging experience was like, what inspired our change, and how life is today

But the storyline accommodates any alcoholic or addict – just the particulars are different.