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, August 23, 2014

Euphoric Recall?

Ecstasy is upon her face as she talks of the first time she put a needle in her arm and felt the joy of heroin rushing through her body. Even though she's been clean for several months, her eyes glaze over as if she'd just fixed moments before.

Euphoric recall sometimes does this to people. Their countenance and demeanor reveal the subconscious power drugs continue to have over their lives.

As we talk about her disease I suggest that she not dwell upon the pleasure she once experienced. And I share with her my own defense mechanisms when euphoric thoughts arise.

I know that drugs and alcohol would still have a wonderful effect upon me – at least for a while. But then I play the tape to the end. And the end for me was always disaster. It was jails and prisons. Divorces. Bankruptcy. Poor health. Ongoing legal issues. Disappointed family and friends.

And even today, at nearly 24 years clean and sober, I don't entertain the idea that I can ever successfully use drugs and alcohol.

Instead, I feel good by building positive things into my life. I go to meetings. I meditate. I do yoga. I ride my bicycle. I swim. I pay attention to what I eat. I study. I work with others. I do everything I can to keep my stress down.  The result is that most of the time I feel great.

Once we leave the drinking and drug culture, we must build positive habits around our lives. That's our best defense against relapse.