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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Anger Subsides

Anger’s an emotion I’ve never dealt with very well. In years past I’d let it get out of control and usually ended up looking like an ass – or at the very least feeling stupid.

So today, while driving to a three day family vacation in Las Vegas I realized I’d changed a lot since entering sobriety in 1991. This occurred to me while on Grand Avenue, heading through Sun City toward Wickenburg.

Traffic was snail slow and I was resigned to flow along with it, knowing we’d get there in God’s time. Then, all of a sudden, a truck nearly hit the front of our car as it pushed into the small slot in front of us. I was startled and tapped the horn to let the driver know I was there; at which point he signaled his contempt by flipping me off. And for good measure he slammed his brakes, causing me to do the same to avoid him.

My initial reaction was an adrenalin powered surge of anger. But then I took a deep breath and made a conscious decision not to carry things further. That was a much different reaction than I would have had in early recovery.

I’m not sure when I gave up on anger; it was likely a slow process of change. I think that at some point I didn’t find it all productive. And it seemed to be a lot of work to get back to serenity and peace of mind.

One reason I entered sobriety so many years ago was to have peace and joy in my life. I have that today and I don’t let my reaction to other people take it away.