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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Copy the Successful

I find it interesting that addicts ask us for help then after they're around a while they tell us the kind of help they need.

This is not unusual among our clients – both in the treatment program and in our sober living houses.

Addicts come to us with virtually nothing. Yet within a matter of weeks are telling us exactly what they need to stay sober. They don't like the way we manage the program. Even though we've been running the program pretty much the same way for the last 21 years.

Now I'm not saying we do things perfectly. Nearly everyone on our staff, top to bottom, is an addict or alcoholic in recovery. And we make our share of mistakes. But we believe our experience with our own addictions, plus our time in recovery, qualifies us to help others with similar problems.

Reality is that if people knew what they needed they wouldn't be with us in the first place. For some reason their life wasn't working and they came to us.

Maybe it's part of the disease. Maybe it's a form of denial. Maybe it's a control issue. Who knows?

My answer is always pretty much the same: If you want something in life hang around those who are successful at it. It's not complicated.

If you want to get fit socialize with gym rats. If you want to be thin, watch what thin people eat. Want to make money? Copy what the high earners do and you’ll have it. The successful are never perfect but they go beyond their mistakes until they succeed.

When I wanted to get sober I listened – not to my dope fiend alcoholic brain – but to those who had what I wanted.

I didn’t always agree with them. But I agreed with them enough to stay sober.