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, December 12, 2016

Getting the Money

Between the ages of five and seven I lived on a farm in rural Oregon. And because I wasn't lazy I always had a lot of opportunities to make money. I would help harvest the crops. I would weed gardens. I would pick strawberries. I would harvest hazelnuts. Pick beans. And when there wasn't anything else to do I would walk down the highway and look for bottles and cans that I could refund at the local store. In those days Oregon was a very environmentally conscious state and there were laws about refunding bottles and cans that merchants had to adhere to. So by the time I was 12 years old I had set aside quite a good size bank account - particularly for a 12-year-old kid. My rule was to deliver the product or service and always get the money.

And I guess where this came up for me today was I was attempting to activate an expensive electronic watch that was given to me as an anniversary gift. And between my wife and me we spent quite a bit of time on the phone trying to figure out why this thing didn't work. Now it seemed to me that one of the largest companies in the world (I read last year that they had more money in their bank account at Apple than the United States treasury had in its account) could make an expensive item like this watch work right away- right out of the box. Between the two of us we probably spent something like 8 to10 hours trying to contact someone smarter than we were so that we could get the thing to work. In any event, while I still have the watch, it doesn't operate.

And when I think about my rule about "always getting the money," this company will likely not get any more from me. Even though I'm a small time consumer and don't spend big money on electronics, a company that does not deliver the products you pay for eventually gets a bad reputation.

I guess the only real benefit I got out of this experience is that I was able to work on my patience and tolerance - which is always a good thing for an addict or alcoholic to have.

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Click here to email John