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, March 22, 2014

Having a Mission

I was raised by a generation that had a lifelong goal of retiring. They saved their money. They had retirement accounts. And when they achieved their goals they seemed okay doing pretty much nothing. And when I'd visit them I never figured out what they got out of living that way. I knew that kind of life would kill my spirit. And then my body.

So – even though I'm approaching 75 – I don't believe retiring will ever work for me. Not as long as I can drag myself to work.

After spending a week in the most beautiful place on earth, I'm beginning to look forward to rejoining our mission back home.

And it's not like I’m bored or there’s nothing to do. I spend time at the gym and swimming pool. Sometimes I walk on the beach in the early morning. I read and write daily. A massage here and there. I visit some of our favorite restaurants. I take my wife shopping for clothes and jewelry. Maybe it's like eating chocolate cake: too much can be cloying.

The larger perspective is that even though I've been working with addicts for over 23 years I never feel like I don't want to go to the office. It enriches the soul to help others smile again. To have a mission of helping others makes me feel alive.

Yes, working with recovering addicts and alcoholics produces energy – sapping drama. But it's nothing a week or two away doesn't remove.