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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Becoming Openminded

The speaker who qualified at this morning's 12-step meeting picked "open-mindedness" as a topic for those who shared afterward.

And I liked the topic because it caused me to reflect on how I finally finally reached a state of open-mindedness and got into recovery.

It was a long process. I didn't get sober until I was 51 years old. And I had to go through many levels of pain before I finally said "enough."

I lost homes. I went through divorces. I went to jail and prison multiple times. I spent a year in a mental hospital. I lost several high-paying jobs. But when I finally got done denying I had a problem I surrendered.

And I believe that's the same way it works for all of us who are real alcoholics or addicts. Most of those at meetings describe a fairly long period of trying different ways to drink or use drugs – without success.  Their histories parallel mine.

And their recovery story is similar. They had a watershed experience where they realized they had enough. And perhaps someone suggested they go to a 12 step program and get into recovery. And that's when things began to change. The plot's always the same. Only the setting and the players are different.

And the open-mindedness I experienced when I first got into recovery has allowed me to change other areas of my life outside of recovery. Today I enjoy the success that eluded me through all my years of using.

And I attribute it all to the fact that I was open-minded enough to listen to what someone else had to say - another addict at that.