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, June 20, 2013

Purpose in Life?

In the past few weeks we’ve had clients return to TLC after being away for five years and longer. While some relapsed and wanted to take another run at sobriety, others hadn’t returned to using.

Instead they came back because this was the place they’d experienced happiness and where their lives had a purpose

Their reason for returning illustrates an important core issue in the lives of most of us: we all need a purpose in our lives. And the purpose – our mission – doesn't have to be something grandiose or magnificent.

The mission can be something as small as wanting to feel a part of something, something that makes us feel fully alive. And when one spends six months or longer at TLC, he - or she - becomes involved in the rhythm of the recovery world. They become absorbed in the magic of personal transformation once the drugs and alcohol are removed from the body and the spirit.

It's sometimes miraculous to look around and realize that a power greater than ourselves is guiding us. We see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of our brothers and sisters in recovery. And when we leave to go on with our lives we sometimes don't find this camaraderie we enjoyed while at TLC. So sometimes people return to fill that hole in their lives.

While we don't recommend clients stay at TLC much longer than a year, we have many who’ve lived with us for 10 or 12 years. And we allow them to do that because this is where they’re living a life of recovery – one that's meaningful to them. And many stay because they’ve lost their families and loved ones during years of drinking and drugging. They stay because, in essence, we’ve become a surrogate family.

And that's okay. The idea that they're staying sober and enjoying life is what TLC's mission is all about.