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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

About Success

A man I've known for the 23 years I've been sober stopped by my office the other day.

Since it had been about eight years since we talked we spent a few minutes catching up.

When we first met in 1991 I was traveling by bicycle or bus, doing day labor, and living in the same halfway house he was. He was attending college then and was also in new recovery.

When I asked where he was working he said that even though he now has three Master’s degrees, he’s having trouble finding a job. Which surprised me.

When I explained TLC's latest operation - our treatment program - he seemed impressed. He saw that I'd become successful, even though I had little money or formal education at the beginning.

After he left I reflected on why one with his education would be unemployed. And his situation reinforced for me one of my basic beliefs.

And that is that success in any arena comes not so much from having an education, money, credit, or social connections. Even though these things help, I believe they are secondary to success.

What is most critical to success is perseverance, and the willingness to fail - yet to keep going in spite of that failure.

And this doesn’t apply only to business. It applies to success in any endeavor. Whether it's about getting sober, quitting smoking, getting an education, losing weight, or reaching any goal. The same formula applies.

Persevere and keep going in spite of falling down.  Because failure is our greatest teacher.