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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Powerlessness is a conundrum for many of us addicts.

Those with years of recovery say that powerlessness gives us genuine control over our lives. But how can this be? Give up control to gain control?

In retrospect, for many years I blundered through the world seeking solace and gratification through chemical relief. I somehow had the bizarre idea that I had control; that I was in charge of everything.

Drugs and alcohol created the illusion that I was running things because for a little money I could change how I felt – at least for a while. But at some point there wasn't enough money to create the chemical balance I was trying to achieve. I’d use whatever - until I was unconscious. Then come to and start the process over.

This quest for instant nirvana required more and more money. Money I had to raise through illegal activities that stripped me of my freedom over and over.

When I’d finally beat myself up enough to want to change I also found real power. I understood the beauty of accepting that I was powerless over all chemicals – and most everything and everyone.

Suddenly I came into the light of recovery, accepted who and what I was. And I began to enjoy the freedom of powerlessness - lifting the burden of no longer having to rule the world.