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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Judgment is tricky. And I think often misused. In the program we talk of not being judgmental - of others or of ourselves. But it's not so much about judgment. Or being judgmental.

It's more about discretion in how we use those words. If I use judgment in a negative way that's bad. Like if I compare myself to someone so that I come out looking superior. Like if we think we're stronger or smarter or richer than the next guy. That's a negative judgment where we're putting others down so we can repair our poor little addict self-image.

So how can being judgmental be positive? I think there's a way. And that's when we judge how fortunate we are compared to many in the world.

Whenever we're judging our situation as hopeless or bad - that's when we can compare ourselves to others less fortunate. And find gratitude rather than superiority.

We do that by realizing that much of the world is suffering. In poverty. In illness and pain. Lack of opportunity. Fighting wars.

When we use our judgment this way we find a different perspective.