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, November 22, 2013

Not Angry

"I learned a long time ago that I could only drive one car at a time." Dean Wolfe

Last night while driving to dinner with my wife we encountered an angry driver in a big pickup. He drove up behind us very fast, slammed on his brakes, and blew his horn. As I looked in the mirror to see what the commotion was I realized that he was signaling me with his middle finger. Then he immediately swung around us to the right, slowed down, and red-faced, began shouting something out of his rolled-down window. I'm not sure what it was, but I don't think it was very nice, based on the look on his face. And as he continued along the road I noticed that he was still waving his arms and hollering something.

And as he drove off I was grateful because I realized that at one time that was me. Everyone and everything, in traffic particularly, irritated me. Wherever I drove I always had something to say about the other stupid drivers who were cluttering the road and keeping me from getting where I was going.

But I quit doing this after I arrived at a 12-step meeting one day, bitching about another stupid driver who slowed me down on my way there. My wise sponsor at the time, Dean Wolfe - now many years departed - said nothing to me directly. But when it was his turn to share he uttered the line at the top of this blog. And it's something I've never forgotten: "I learned a long time ago I could only drive one car at a time."

And the best evidence that I'm making progress in my recovery is that I actually felt compassion for the other driver. While I'm not sure what I did to piss him off - or whose fault it was - the real thing is was it important enough to rage about? Or risk getting into an altercation? To get his blood pressure up? To become angry? To maybe ruin the rest of his day?  I didn't think so.

Peace in my life today means not fighting with anyone about anything – whether I’m right or wrong.