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, July 25, 2016

A Happy Life

If you're not happy you might look closer at your life.

When I was growing up, there was a philosophy many people lived by. It was go to school, get a good job, get married, own a house and a decent car. Retire with benefits and chill from then on.

Of course, those who believed that were from my parent's generation. Those who lived through the depression and World War II. And maybe some of them were happy when they acheived those goals.

I never asked them. While they were alive I was pursuing my version of happiness. Which was to  stay drunk and high for as long as I could.

And once I tired of the pain and misery I got sober and started living kind of like other people

It wasn't until later that the happiness question came up for me. I'd acquired what many consider success: happy marriage, business, friends, great income, investments, and so forth.

While these things are great, there's one thing that gives me special satisfaction. And that's giving others the opportunity to change their lives.

Every once in a while I'll be in public and someone will come up and thank me for helping them. And most of the time I don't remember them. They were at TLC years earlier. They now have a family, a good job or business.

They give us credit for their success. And I'm gracious and thank them. But the reality is that somewhere within they had a desire for a better life.

And they used our program to pull themselves up - just the way we designed it.  And that makes me happy.