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.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Patiently waiting isn't natural me. I have to work at it.

And it's not that I haven't had a lot of practice. During the years I spent in cages all we did was wait. Wait for the cell door to open. Wait in line to eat. Wait for commissary. Wait for the recreation yard to open. Wait for work. Wait to go to court. Wait for the parole board. Wait for a release date. On and on.  The minutes dripping by one by one.

To develop more patience and calmness I started meditating daily over 20 years ago. And it helps. But still I find that once in a while, when I'm unaware, I become impatient. It's still clinging on somewhere within, maybe wrapped around a strand of DNA.

For example, yesterday I'm behind a woman at a drive-through ATM, planning to make a deposit. I didn't pay much attention at first as I was taking my ATM card out and getting my deposit in order.

But soon I realized she'd been at the machine for a while. And she acted like this might have been the first one she'd used. She pressed buttons. Scratched her head. Opened her door part way to get closer. Removed things from the machine. Then put things back. Then took things out. Finally she seemed ready to go. She drove forward a few feet, then put her brakes on as I drove forward. She backed up to the machine, reached out and pushed some buttons. Then, finally, she drove off.

It took me a few moments to quit judging her and to look at this interlude as on opportunity to practice patience and tolerance.

It's a work in progress.