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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Legacy

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. If she were still alive she would've been 93 years old. But she died much too young, at age 72, from the effects of smoking and emphysema.

One of the blessings in my life was that she was able to see me achieve my first three years of recovery.

Because for much of her life she blamed herself for my addiction. For my heroin use and alcoholism. And that's because at 16 she married my father, an abusive raging alcoholic until he dropped dead at 60. She realized he left his marks on my life.

But taking blame for someone else's addiction is futile. Whether or not they're your child. But eventually my mother learned. And she forced me to become responsible for myself by refusing to help me until I got sober.

On this anniversary of her birth I reflect upon the good example she set for me. She was honest. She was hard-working and responsible. She sent me to good schools and did her best to help me have a good life.

What better legacy could she have left behind?