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, August 22, 2016

Still go to Meetings?

On a recent Sunday morning I was on the phone with someone and told them I had to hang up. I was on my way to a meeting.

"You still go to meetings after all these years? the other person asked, sounding puzzled. Because they knew I'd been sober for over 25 years.

"Yep. 25 years I've never gone a week without a meeting, unless something else demanded my presence. Or unless I was sick.

The other person didn't understand the point. Isn't there a time when one knows the literature and the steps and guidelines? And the the answer is yes. Of course there is.

But, in my opinion there's nothing like sitting in a meeting and listening to a newcomer tells his or her story. Alcohol may have taken everything. Job. Home. Mate. Career. Health. All of it. Life is a mess.

While it might seem almost sadistic to benefit from another's misfortune, I look at it as a life lesson. No matter how hard an alcoholic tries to successfully drink, it usually doesn't work.

So even though my life is going smoothly right now, I never want to get into an emotional spot where I think I might find the answer in a bottle or can.

And that’s why I still go to meetings. I want to hear how it works - or doesn't - for another person.