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.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Staying Calm

Someone asked the other day how I remain as calm as I do.

I explained to her that it took a lot of practice to develop  a calm demeanor. And I didn't become calm because I wanted to be some kind of monk. I changed because it became too painful and stressful to be uptight and angry. And even though I haven't been that way for years, I remember how anger caused me problems.

Most of it came from wanting to be right. Which is to say it was about my ego. And also - while still in my disease - I disagreed with everyone about everything. I thought the world was against me, that someone was out to get me. That attitude makes one defensive. And that was me.

Remaining calm equals getting what I want in life. And what I want comes more easily when I approach things in a calm and peaceful manner. For example, I rarely tell our employees what to do. Instead I ask for help. And while I could use my big voice and order them around, things go better when I ask for help. They respond with less resistance.

And maybe the other part of being calm is that I'm lazy. After all it's a lot of work to get angry - then work myself back to peace of mind.

As much as possible I avoid taking that detour by deciding to remain calm.