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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Be the Instrument

Part of keeping emotional balance is to not take things personally. Whether the things are good - or bad.

When a therapist said that years ago -  my first time in treatment - I didn't understand.

But, now, after having thousands of addicts stream through my life over 23+ years - I know what he meant.

If I don't take things personally then I don't go through ups or downs when things don't go as I expect.

If a client relapses it’s not about me. Same as when one is successful. I don't take that personally either.

Our obligation in this business is to carry the message as best we can.

If we look upon ourselves as an instrument of change - not the cause of change - then we serve both the client and ourselves.

When a parent screams at me because her child relapsed I understand her pain. But I don't take it personal.

And when one praises us because her child has done well - I don't get puffed up about that either.

We are only tools.

Yes, we can be a little sad at failure. Or happy about success.

But if we remember we are only instruments of change then we stay in balance and avoid burnout.

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