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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

No Butts

Often I'm with a halfway house client and they'll start telling me of health issues.

Blood pressure. Diabetes. Emphysema. Kidney problems or other conditions. And once we wind up the conversation, I always ask the same question. If I know they're a smoker I'll ask them if they still smoke, in light of all their health issues. Or, if I don't know whether they smoke I'll ask. And a surprising number - even in the face of what could be a fatal health issue - admit they still do. It's simply too hard for them to quit.

When I explain to them that quitting might be a good place to start healing themselves they'll agree. But the next time I see them they're still puffing away.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not some kind of evangelist who has no experience with cigarettes. I smoked for around ten years and quit 31 years ago - July 25, 1984 at 9:00 a.m. And as someone who's kicked heroin many times during my 38 years of using, I must say that cigarettes are much harder to ick than opiates. Plus I watched seven family members slowly suffocate from emphysema. One of them was my mother.

A lot of us don't want to face pain. And I understand - I didn't either. But if you can't do it for yourself, think of those who love you; do it for them.

It is selfish and self-centered for us to not care for ourselves when there are others in our lives who care about us.

Quitting is tough. But with a few weeks I completely forgot about being a smoker.

You can do it.

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