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.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Dog's Life...

In reflection, I think our two Chihuahuas, Jose and Lucy, are much smarter than the rest of us. Because they live lifestyles many of us addicts don't enjoy – even in the drug induced fantasies from days past.

After all, neither one works. They don't have credit cards. They sleep 14 or 15 hours a day. We serve them the best dog food, prescribed by the veterinarian, twice a day in nice little porcelain dishes. They live in a 2000 square-foot house, but pay no mortgage or rent. Or utilities. They have a large play area. Swimming pool. Fluffy pillows. Big screen TV.

José, the fattest of the two, has been hooked on pain drugs for a few years because he has a pancreas condition. So every night I get to watch him nod out in front of the TV around 9 o'clock. He's not thinking about quitting.

Every few weeks they visit the doggy day spa for a bath and nail trim, coming home smelling like lavender.

They teach me valuable lessons though. One Is how to be transparent. For example, my dog Jose, who I have owned since 2005, decided after my wife moved in that he liked her much better than me. And the other dog, Lucy agrees with him. They don't even pretend.

Now I understand why they would rather hang out with my beautiful wife rather than me. Still, the addict part of me developed a small resentment about how they so easily cut me loose. However, this is not something I've brought to my sponsor.

The other thing they teach is how to do a 10th step. Sometimes these two will be playing and one will bite the other too hard. Or else they'll be scuffling over a morsel of food or a treat and find themselves growling and snarling. But before long – much faster than I could after someone bit me hard – they've made amends and are playing again as if nothing ever happened.

They live a happy life without much effort. Something I’m still trying to figure out.