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.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Many of us who've relapsed over and over often look at ourselves as failures. We might even say something like "I'm a loser." "I can't do anything right." "I'm good-for-nothing."

And traveling through life with that kind of attitude pretty much is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are what and who we believe we are. Because if we think we can't stay sober, we're right. And if we think we can stay sober we're also right.

But if we turn our failures around and look at them as learning experiences then we can see their value. On page 31 in the Big Book there's a suggestion that if we doubt we have a problem that we try having a drink to see how it works. It goes on to say that it's worth a case of the jitters to become convinced that we do indeed have a problem. Just because we fail a time or two doesn't mean we wear that label forever.

This principle doesn't just apply in the recovery world. I was reading a business article the other day about what venture capitalists look for in those to whom they loan money. One thing thing they make note of is whether the prospect has ever gone bankrupt. Or failed in business.

I thought that was strange until I read the explanation. Those who risk large sums of money want someone who won't give up or run away at the first sign of trouble. They look at setbacks as part of the learning experience.

They want someone who'll have the grit to keep going regardless of the challenges.  That's the same way we eventually learn to stay sober.

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