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, September 14, 2014

Gratitude Blog

A man in recovery sent me his reflections on gratitude.  His sentiments are worth sharing.

"I just read your blog post on gratitude and I sometimes experience the same thing. I often forget to write a gratitude list every morning, but then I see someone living on the streets and I thank God that I am no longer homeless.

One of the things I do every time I go into the bathroom is thank the rehab I’m currently living in for accepting me into their program even though I didn’t have any money when I applied to get into treatment. And I feel grateful every time I walk down one of the hallways. They took me off the streets, gave me a hot plate of food and a warm bed, and they said, “Welcome”.

It’s easy to become complacent when we’re in a drug treatment center. Not only that, sometimes we become resentful if the staff doesn’t allow us to do something we want to do. When one of my peers becomes resentful, I tell him to remember that when we were on the streets and we had control over our lives, we were not able to do the important things in life because our addiction kept a tight grip on us.

In other words, when we were in control, when we could come and go as we pleased, we never took care of business. That’s why most of us addicts become homeless. We simply cannot make it to work in the mornings and we can’t make those important meetings that are supposed to help us.

When I want to go somewhere I always ask staff for permission. And if he or she says no, I don’t become upset because I know that they’re only protecting me from the addict that’s inside me and is waiting to come out.

You blog is an inspiration for me. I smile every time I get an email that you’ve published a new blog post and I almost always read it immediately. I’ve read some of your articles a couple times if it really resonated with me and what I’m currently going through in my life.

I started a blog too. I called it Trying to Change My Life. I write a blog post at least three times a week. I write about what’s happening in my life and sometimes I’ll write about something I read about how we can change our life for the better." 

Ramiro’s blog is: