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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We Ceased Fighting...

Over the years I’ve found profound wisdom in the 12-step literature. For example, a phrase that has stayed with me is "we have ceased fighting anything or anyone...." While there are other parts of the book that have stuck with me, I've been able to apply this nugget of wisdom often in the last 20 years of my sobriety.

Before sobriety I used to fight everything and everyone because of ego and wanting it my way. It was about control, being right and thinking I knew best. In sobriety I began to realize that the stuff I used to fight about wasn’t worth the effort. After all, who cares who’s right? Who cares who gets to the red light first?

Yet, until I got sober I looked at life as a battle. It was about winning. It was all about being the best. It is about proving you wrong and me right. However, once I got sober and into the literature the idea of not "fighting anyone or anything" appealed to me. 

If I apply this sentence I’m blessed with serenity and peace. After all isn't that what the program is about? When we have serenity we don’t need drugs or alcohol. We are spiritually fit.
We can focus on helping others and enjoying life as God intended.

Does not fighting anything or anyone mean we let people walk all over us? No. We still stand up for ourselves. But we do it, not by fighting, but by being assertive. Often in my business life I have people who get angry to the point where they're almost becoming abusive. I normally shortcut this by making a simple statement: "I hope I didn't do anything to offend you because it seems like you're becoming upset." I make this statement in a calm manner, without becoming confrontational. The statement has always resulted in other person changing their demeanor. And once that happens we go on with our conversation. I've never had anyone walk away or hang up the phone when I've asked them this question.

Using this procedure I've achieved my goal of not fighting about anything with anyone.  I have the peace we are promised in the book.