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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Still Learning

Heartfelt messages of gratitude and thanks kept lighting up my cell phone on Thanksgiving day.

Maybe 20 of them. Some were from long-ago clients telling me of their successes so many years later. Others were from family, staff members, and current clients. They were loving messages. And they reminded  me of the many relationships I've forged since entering recovery.

But it wasn't always this way.

For many years holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were kind of awkward. And for a time I couldn't figure it out. But then I realized that during my formative years I was either in the midst of my addiction or else I was incarcerated.

In those situations, even though I created them, I didn't find much to celebrate. I only experienced anything resembling happiness when I had enough drugs and alcohol. And that was always a fleeting experience.

So today, I'm grateful to have people in my life to celebrate with. To be surrounded by a network of people who care. They're teaching me what the holidays are all about.