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.

Friday, July 15, 2016


In a recent article about her mindfulness practice a woman writes that at times she uncovers emotions that make her uncomfortable.

She explained that she expected something else when she first began meditating. She thought that she would float in constant bliss. That she would have perpetual joy and peace in her life. But that wasn't how it happened.

She said she often uncovered painful emotions that she'd covered up for years. She said that many times it was like peeling a band aid off an old wound that had never quite healed. She said that at first she found little peace. But she stuck with her practice anyway. And today things are good enough that she plans to continue.

Jon Kabat Zinn's definition of mindfulness is "fully aware of present experience, with acceptance." He says one should pay attention to whatever thoughts they have, accept them, then let them drift away.

And I like his definition. Because the more I pay attention to my thinking, the more peace and clarity I have.

As does this woman writer I sometimes face bad memories I'd long forgotten. Then while I'm in practice they'll pop up. But I do as suggested and accept them.

For me, the acceptance somehow takes away their power. And I do become more calm and peaceful.