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 27, 2016

Something to Give

"A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers."  Chinese Proverb

Giving to others, helping others, leaves a trace of good feeling within us. Especially when we do it without an expectation of something in return.

Often I encourage our clients to help each other. Especially the ones who are newly arrived.

And the answer is sometimes, "But I have nothing to give. I don't even have a job yet. I barely have a change of clothes."

But I explain that what they have to give, the important thing, is their time.

When a newcomer arrives on the property they don't know what to expect. They might have just come from the streets. Or jail. They're maybe still a bit dope-sick. But that's the person who needs your encouragement. Your time.

You don't have to say much. Just be there. Tell him or her that it gets better. Tell them about the bus schedule. Job opportunities. Tell them how you got to the program. And what's keeping you from leaving.

You never know when your words will give them the strength to stay. In fact what you tell them may keep them from going back out and putting a needle in their arm.

That little bit of time you spend may save a life.  And you thought your had nothing to give.