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.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Our Perceptions

Our perception of happiness was the topic of last Monday’s group.

One group member had never practiced controlling or changing his perceptions. Sometimes he awakes in the morning and however he feels that moment sets the course for his day. If he feels bad, then the day is usually rough. If he feels good, his day might be good. The idea that he could change how he felt by changing his perceptions hadn’t occurred to him.

Another addict talked about how he’d awakened that morning and was in a bad mood. Then he started thinking of the devastation that had occurred in the Philippines and the Midwest due to the forces of nature. Immediately he felt gratitude for his circumstances and his day turned out well. His whole demeanor changed.

It seems like the addicts I work with pay a lot of attention to their feelings. They place their feelings on a pedestal. They honor them with a quick reaction. Many move constantly back and forth, based on their feelings at the moment. Sometimes this gets them into trouble. Maybe even leading to a relapse.

The point of the group was to teach that we can change our happiness level by changing our perceptions.

If we look at our circumstances we can usually find a reason for gratitude, and thus happiness.

It’s only when it’s all about self-centeredness and our needs, above all else, that we get into trouble.