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, December 27, 2011

Living a Bigger Life

"There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."

Nelson Mandela
11th President of South Africa

I read this saying this morning and it spoke clearly to me. Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years as a convict under the harshest conditions, is fulfilling his destiny as a leader of South Africa.
As someone in recovery it’s important for me – in my own way - to do my best in life. And of course, my first challenge is stay clean and sober.

 But beyond that, I'm enjoying a rewarding life by giving back to society. After all, for the first 50 years of my life I was a taker. I self-centeredly pursued my heroin addiction and alcoholism with little regard for anyone – including myself. 

Today, working in the recovery field, I share my experience with newcomers in the hope they won’t spend years walking prison yards before they get the message. I’m blessed that God has given me the self-discipline - and put a wonderful team of people in my life- to achieve this mission of helping others.

As the New Year approaches I encourage those of you in recovery to step out of your comfort zone. Put away the video games. Turn off the TV. Sign up for school. Volunteer somewhere. Look for a better job. Start exercising. Quit smoking. Now that you’ve given up drugs and alcohol find a new challenge!

Remember, our life is not a dress-rehearsal. We’re center stage right now. Let's not play small...