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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More Gratitude

There are many opportunities for gratitude.

This morning, while at the gym for my four a.m. workout, I met a middle-aged man who had a brace on his leg. He seemed like a nice enough fellow and we started chatting.

By the time we were done he became a hero in my eyes. He's the father of four children ranging from 7 to 18 years old. One has severe disabilities, and has been fed through a tube most of her life. The man's wife faces difficulties of her own and is applying for disability. He sometimes works 12 hour days to keep things together.

But this man wore a cheerful demeanor and said he met his challenges "one day at a time." It was interesting that he used this aphorism, even though he isn't part of the recovery community.

While I know many people face daunting challenges, I automatically juxtaposed this man's situation with that of addicts and alcoholics in recovery.

Many deal with demons that make their lives seem almost unbearable without drugs or alcohol. And though we can't minimize the challenges we addicts and alcoholics face, when we meet people who bear a heavy load every day - we get an idea of what real challenges look like.

After hearing this man's story, I recognized that there are many in the world who are strong enough to face their burdens with equanimity and grace.