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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Passing it On


At yesterday's 12-step meeting a man with 20 years plus of sobriety showed up to speak in his work clothes. He'd come from a remodeling job on an investment property he owned and hadn’t had time to go home and change. Those at the meeting paid close attention because he told a story of coming from virtually nothing, to having an income where he's able to invest in real estate.

Often a speaker like this delivers a better message than someone who comes in well-dressed and very polished. This may be because most of those at the meeting were men in early recovery, probably half having 30 days or less. And some were homeless prior to coming into the rooms.

Even though he'd been sober for over 20 years, he told his story as if he'd only gotten sober days earlier. He said that during the first year of his recovery he had a nearly overwhelming urge to drink each day. But he didn't. Eventually the compulsion left and his recovery was much smoother after that.

He said that what saved him was that he eventually started following the suggestions of those in the rooms. He found a sponsor who was tough on him. He started doing the steps. He learned that the program is about learning how to live without reverting to alcohol.