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 21, 2016

The real Reward

I used to think the only reason to work was to earn a paycheck. The more one made, the better life would be. But this last 25 years has proved that's not true.

The real payoff for me is not the money I earn or the stuff I accumulate. The real payoff is the feedback I get from people whose lives our program has touched along the way.

Some are former clients. Some are parents of addicts. But I always get a sense of wonder when I read their words of gratitude. (Names left out to protect anonymity.)

For example, the mother of an addict from out-of-state wrote "my son has been clean from heroin for six months..." "...he had plans to move in with me when I got a new place.." She goes on to explain that she found the strength to tell him that he couldn't live with her. And that he understood why she was taking a strong position with him.

Another man wrote: "Good morning John. I don't think you'll remember me but I went through TLC McDonald House in 1994. October I will celebrate 23 years of sobriety I always tell people that my time at TLC is a huge part of the reason for my success I just wanted to tell you thank you have a great day."

Another man who was with us more than once, writes: "I wanted to tell you how much what you and Rockie do have meant to me. I have gotten so much better at life and I really want to thank all the people who helped me along the way. You guys helped me multiple times through out my life and for the better. It may not have seemed that way at the time since I always just got up and left one day but your knowledge and counsel have sunk in. You always gave me good advice and Rockie always called me on my bullshit. Exactly what I needed when I needed it. So thank you for what you do. You are really helping people make the changes they need to in life and so is Rockie."

I feel privileged to be able to be a small part of helping another human being improve their life. Without being melodramatic I think that helping someone better their life is the greatest blessing I've  been given.

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