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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Try Kindness

At one time I had a great job. I used to run the universe. I was in control. I knew everything. I trusted no one's judgement but my own.

I did such a good job that I left my second year of high school in handcuffs. Between the ages of 16 and 26 I was out of jails and prisons for 17 months. And I was so angry I didn't even care.

Reality was that I couldn't even manage my own life well enough to stay out of trouble. I kept losing things over and over. Businesses, relationships - eventually I pissed them all away.

Drugs and alcohol were my answer. I made money with drugs, while at the same time numbing my feelings.

Many people were kind. Teachers, counselors, family, friends. They knew I was troubled and wanted to help me. Not only when I was very young - but all through my life. It was only when I found recovery did I understand their kindness. And start taking advantage of it.

When people were kind and tried to help me before I got sober I used to think they should mind their own business. I didn't trust them and their motives. I thought they didn't know how to have fun.

Today I depend upon the kindness of others. There are so many people who support what we do at TLC. Not only those who've been with us ten to twenty years, but also newcomers.

One thing I've discovered since being sober is that most people want to do the right thing. Even if they don't know what the right thing is. I think most people want to do the right thing because they want to belong and be accepted. And for me there's nothing wrong with that.  We all need to be part of a tribe.

I welcome kindness from others and I give it back. And It's been working for me 25 plus years.

Try it.