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, June 20, 2016

Grateful for Pain

I know this may sound stupid, but be grateful for your pain. For pain, if we react to it right, might save our lives. I know it saved mine many years ago when I got sober.

At the time I quit using I was living in a stolen car. I had only the clothes I was wearing, and a heroin and alcohol habit that I thought was killing the pain in my life. But the reality is that it was slowly killing me.  It was a painful existence.

One day, even though I'd been offered the opportunity before - I went to a detox unit. I stayed ll days then moved into a halfway house that kindly took me in without money. I finally listened to the wisdom of my pain.

Pain is a great teacher. And not only for us addicts. People quit smoking when they finally realize what it’s doing to their lungs and the rest of their body. Once people feel pain when they look at the image in the mirror, they decide to try eating differently.

Those struggling with the pain of not being able to pay their bills eventually figure out how to find better employment. Or else start their own business.

So, pay attention to your pain. Embrace it as your friend.