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.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Blessings Come

A manager sends an email to share her excitement about the impending birth of her first grandbaby. She plans to fly home next month to be there for the birth. And she rightly gives credit for being able to be there to her sobriety.

While the experience is unique to her, this is typically what happens after we get into recovery – assuming we have anyone left. Over the past 23 years I've witnessed thousands of clients reuniting with families and friends. It's joy to witness them coming together.

Many clients, especially younger ones, are disappointed when the reunion doesn't happen right away. It seems like they're thinking, "well I've been sober for a month now, where's my family?"

However, that's rarely the way it works if we’ve been drinking and drugging for a while. It sometimes takes six months, a year, or longer depending on our age and how long we were out there being a fool.

In my own case, my family was still talking to me. But from a distance. They really didn't want me around and I understood why.

After a few years though, when I stopped asking for money and I sounded sober each time I called, their attitudes began to change. I started sending gifts and cards on holidays. I made amends. After a while they started believing I was serious. That's when the doors opened.

Today, I'm blessed to be able to take the whole family on a couple of vacations each year. Sometimes I'm able to help financially.

But it all took time. And I would have understood their reluctance if it had taken even longer.

I’m so happy for our manager. As she stays sober more blessings will flow her way.