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 23, 2015

Christmas Season 1990

The 14th of January I'll celebrate 25 years of recovery. God willing.

This came up for me because I was reflecting about what I was doing during Christmas week 25 years ago.

At that time I was supporting an addiction to heroin and alcohol. And I wasn't doing it by working. Or from the proceeds of a trust fund.

Each miserable day I'd drive around in a Mustang I'd stolen a few weeks earlier. My first goal would be to find alcohol. Wine was fine. Beer would do. But anything with alcohol in it was okay. Whatever I could shoplift was what I drank.

The alcohol took the edge off, gave me courage. Once I had some false courage I'd move on to steal something larger. Something that would allow me to buy heroin - my drug of choice.

I didn't care what it was. As long as I thought I could get it in the car and find a place to sell it, I'd take it. New clothes. Tools. Televisions. Computers. Cigarettes. Generators. Cameras. I looked for anything I could sell right away.

But something happened to me around that time. I don't know if it was a moment of clarity. A spiritual awakening. Or what it was. Maybe I was just tired.

But I somehow came to the realization that if I kept doing what I was doing I would be back in prison. I wasn't having fun. I was demoralized and depressed. My life had no purpose or meaning. And that's a horrible place to be - living a life without meaning.

Within a few weeks I found my way to detox. Then after that to a halfway house that accepted me without money.

And that put me on the path to the blessings I have in my life today.

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