Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th 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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

No Anxiety

My wife and I own a Chihuahua that we've had for about ten years - since he was a pup. Someone once told me that a 10-year-old dog is like a 70-year-old human in terms of age and I believe it.

Our dog has always loved to eat. In fact, between meals all he does is search for crumbs on the floor that he might have missed at mealtimes. Usually, he finds what he's looking for. I've heard that dogs are used to search for drugs because they can smell one molecule in 5 million – which should make them able to find most anything anywhere.

I bring this up today because our dog has diabetes. Each morning and evening – 12 hours apart – he gets an insulin shot to keep the disease under control. But I can tell that he seems to be losing the battle. He is getting skinnier and skinnier. Plus it appears that he is losing his vision. Sometimes I will throw him a treat that he used to find and devour in one second. Now he looks all around for it for a while before he locates it.

In one respect it's quite sad to see him like this. But on the other hand, I think this is where animals sometimes have an advantage over humans. Even though he's losing his vision he still seems to find his way around quite well. He never sits around involved in conversations about his illness. As long as he's getting fed and able to sleep all day he seems to be a pretty happy creature.

But us humans, for some reason we seem to make things worse by talking about them. By whining about them. By feeling sorry for ourselves. We might even want to eliminate our anxiety with some pills or alcohol.

In other words I believe that God created animals to be in total acceptance with what ever condition they have. Anxiety doesn't seem to be part of their makeup. They have built-in acceptance – something that we strive for and often don't succeed in achieving.

I know that before long we're going to lose this animal. And while I'll feel bad about his passing, I'll also feel grateful for many years of companionship that he provided us.