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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Success

A client who's attending college talked of the stressful weekend he spent after taking a test on the previous Friday. 

After sweating through  the 2 1/2 hour exam he said he agonized both Saturday and Sunday over what the results might be. He was sure he’d flunked, that he might be dropped from the course.

But to his surprise and gratification he found learned he’d earned a B on the test – that he hadn't come near failing.

Because of his history as a long-term drug user who spent years in prison he sometimes faces challenges with self-esteem. On one hand he knows he's bright.  But on the other, his addictions have prevented him from realizing his potential.

As regards his self-esteem he’s like many of us in recovery. When we first get sober we enter a new culture, a new territory of unfamiliar values and mores. Almost like immigrants from another country we try to assimilate into this new culture, sometimes without the tools we need. Many of us addicts were middle-aged when we got sober. So not only are we trying to figure out a new way of life, we are also competing with many others our age who spent their whole lives working hard and trying to get ahead.

And then there’s that small insistent voice somewhere inside us that says “I don’t deserve this success after what I've done to myself.”

Our job at TLC is to help clients to ignore this voice and recognize they can enjoy success if they’re willing to pursue it.