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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


At a coffee shop the other day with a friend I overheard a couple at the next table talking about a pop star who'd been found dead. There was speculation that he died of a drug overdose. Or perhaps committed suicide.

They seemed puzzled that he would take his own life or even use drugs.

"After all he had everything money could buy. He could do anything he wanted."

They kept the conversation going for a while, speculating on why someone who "had it all" would die in such a manner.

But I know why they couldn't understand it - it had to do with their values. Their conversation told me that that their idea of happiness is having enough money to do or buy whatever they want whenever wanted.

And I also understood them because at one time I thought the same way. I was successful in business and was able to do whatever I wanted. I also bought what I wanted. And I did this for a long time, trying to find happiness in this way.

But it took me a long time to realize that expensive toys and self-indlugence wasn't what life was about.

It was only when I started giving to others to help them achieve thier goals in life that my own happiness blossomed and grew.

New toys get old fast. But being helpful and kind to others can last forever and move through generations.