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, July 25, 2013

Skewed Priorities

A young new client, homeless when he came to us, is concerned about everything but recovery. Instead of doing his best for himself and the family benefactors who are helping him pay his way he spends most of his time thinking about the impending arrival of a new baby.

He's so focused on this event that he doesn't show up on time for scheduled activities. Instead, he's off somewhere meeting his girlfriend. It seems that the last thing on his mind is recovery.

But the one thing he'll soon realize is that neither his girlfriend nor a new baby will keep him clean and sober.

It's almost painful to hear his rationalizations about what he needs to do with his life. He's failed other programs. And it looks like he's on track to do the same with our program.

The lesson we teach at TLC is that if one focuses on the primary issue, recovery, then everything else works out. Of course things never work out the way we expect and on our schedule. But the amazing thing, is that sometimes they work out much better than we thought they would.

TLC has hundreds of graduates who finally surrendered to the idea that they were addicts or alcoholics. Once they accepted that idea then everything else worked out for them.

I saw another example of this Monday night when I was talking to a client who spent many years walking prison yards and dealing drugs in the ghetto. Today he's starting his second year of college and pulled me aside for a minute to brag about the good grades he was getting.

And all of this happened because his primary focus was not on jobs, or a girlfriend, but solely on his recovery. And today he's reaping the rewards.

I hope this new client can follow his example, though things don't look to positive at the moment.