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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Birthday

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned 27, which caused me to reflect upon my recovery path.

While 12 step meetings, having a mission in life, and all-around healthy living contribute to sobriety - my sobriety was also enhanced by having a daughter to love and care for.

When she was born I hadn't gotten sober yet and wasn't sure about anything. I was living with her mother in a small mining town in Arizona and hadn't decided whether to return to Orange County, California. Had I returned, I likely wouldn’t be alive today.  That was the area where I grew and where I got into major trouble over because of my addiction.

But for some reason, becoming a father again at 46 changed my perspective. All of a sudden I had a new responsibility, one I couldn’t walk away from. While it took another five or six years to get sober, having this child helped me focus. In 1994, after I was sober two years, I acquired full custody. And for the next 10 years – until she went into the Army at 18 – I raised her.

Today she receives 70% disability for injuries she suffered while in Afghanistan. She will obtain her bachelor's degree sometimes in the spring of 2012. She's about to purchase her own home.

She expresses a lot of gratitude to me. But I'm grateful to her because raising her was one of the great experiences of my life. And I may be sober and alive today because she came into my life when she did.

Happy Birthday, Veronica…