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.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Learning by Suffering

"Suffering is one of life's great teachers."  Bryant H. McGill

When I was in my teens, I was residing in a juvenile hall for stealing cars. And I had a counselor there who was a very nice man. Although at the time I didn't think so. I fact, I thought he was a prick.

Because every time I'd start to complain about being locked up he sort of smiled. Then he'd say something like "So, you're not having a good time here?" or "Maybe you should have thought about what would happen before you took that car."

Then I'd take off on a tirade about how no one understood me. How the other kids in school had it a lot better than I did. There was always something for me to complain about. And it usually has something to do with how others were much better off that I was because they had more of everything than I did.

Probably the reason I didn't like this counselor is because he kept blaming all of my suffering on me. Which, of course, was exactly where it belonged. I'd get myself into trouble with the law and somehow I'd figure out a reason why everyone else was responsible.

The reason I like this saying is because it took me a long time before I realized that all of my suffering was due to my irresponsbile behavior.  No one else's.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could have understood at an early age that I was the author of my own misery.  I might have taken a thirty year short cut.