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.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

First things First

Addiction is the disease that lurks within, telling us – often in subtle ways - that it’s okay to kill ourselves.

But, being cunning, it doesn’t say this directly. Instead it tantalizes us with the idea that now that we’re clean and sober we need to catch up – to hurry up and get our lives in order. To take care of our families. To repay the people we’ve burned. Make up for lost time.

And because mainstream society sees these as positive steps they support our efforts to take care of obligations. So newcomers to recovery, not realizing they face death or worse, sometimes focus on a everything but their addictions because their priorities are out of order.

They want to revert to a time when their lives were okay. They had a job, a home and a relationship. Everything was wonderful because their addiction was under control. But it’s an idea that’ll never work.

As it says in 12-step literature, “we are like men who have lost their legs, they never grown new ones.”

For us the externals are never the issue. We addicts have only one problem: our disease. If we recognize and face that daunting reality, then we have a chance to rejoin society, get back into the human race. Once we apply the concepts of recovery to our disease then we have a chance.

When we realize that our salvation lies in finding recovery then we’ll quit sacrificing our loved ones, our possessions, our health and freedom for drugs and alcohol.