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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Oftentimes I hear people at meetings say things like, "I'm so grateful that I'm an alcoholic because the twelve-step programs have taught me how to deal with issues that I couldn't handle before."

Those of you who don't have a problem with substance abuse might wonder why someone would be happy to be an alcoholic. But if you are conversant with the twelve-step programs you would understand. You'd see that there are benefits for those who are in recovery and working the program.

The steps allow addicts and alcoholics to deal with issues from their past, things they used to cover up with alcohol and drugs.

This came up for me today because a friend of mine, who is in recovery, was telling me about how he'd made amends to an old girlfriend with whom he had a son. The son was getting married and had invited him to the wedding. But the son also said that his mother didn't want to have anything to do with his father, even though she hadn't seen him in 20 years. Even though he'd made amends to her, she was still fostering a resentment that didn't allow her to communicate with him in a civil manner. Had she had the tools that he'd gained from the program, communicating with him wouldn't have posed a problem for her.

My friend told me the wedding went quite well and, even though he didn't attend a pre-wedding dinner because she didn't want him there, everything worked out fine.

It's very healing for us to be able to make amends to people and get rid of our old resentments. Because, as we learned in the rooms, resentments are one of the things that can cause us to relapse.