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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy B'day

Today is my 77th birthday so don't expect much out of me. Though I do plan to show up at the office. And I'll pretend to act busy.

One of the most surprising things is that I've survived this long. Because I poured a tremendous amount of rotgut wine and other horrible chemicals through my liver. As long as it had alcohol in it I would drink it. And as long as it was opiate based I would shoot, snort it, or swallow it. And if you had a little cocaine I'd throw that in the mix also.

I attribute my survival to a few things. One is the justice system. They spent a lot of time and effort to catch me and keep me locked up. Which they succeeded in doing for around 16 years between prisons, jails and mental institutions. A lot of people are mad at the police. But I'm grateful to them because they saved me from myself on more than one occasion.

And while I was locked up I learned a lot. I worked in the prison educational department. I learned to type. I was editor of the prison magazine for a few years. I learned Spanish. I worked in the business department - where I learned much of what I use at TLC today.

The other thing I attriibute my survival to is that in jail I developed the habit of regular exercise. I lifted weights, I ran, played handball, did yoga - and did my best to eat well, depending on the institution I was in. Habits I still practice today.

And the last part of my survival is due to the fact that I've been sober for 25+ years. I have a marriage to an exquisite woman who takes wonderful care of me. In the 12 years we've known each other we've never had a fight. We are kindred spirits who had tough upbringings. We have a peaceful and loving relationship that also helps keep me healthy.

What more could I want at 77?

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