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.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Flowing with Life

Every once in a while I hear the term "just go with the flow."

And it wasn't until I was in my sobriety for a number of years that I really understand what that saying meant. At first I interpreted it a lot of different ways. I thought that maybe it meant don't get excited about things. Don't worry, everything will work out. Or maybe it was just something that people said so that they would sound

But today I look at it entirely differently. Because after being sober for almost 29 years I've come to realize that life is just made up of a series of small events – some I liked and some I didn't. And before I got sober, if I didn't like those events I would change how I felt about them with drugs or alcohol. And once I did that who knew what would happen?

But today "go with the flow" means simply to accept whatever happens whenever it happens. For we find our unhappiness when we fight with life. One of the things we learn as we move through our years is that life is never going to go exactly the way we want it.

Perhaps we want to obtain a certain job, but the company hired someone more qualified than we were, someone with more experience. So what do we do? I don't know about you, but in my case I go knock on the next door. I'll make the next phone call. And if I continue to have bad luck about finding a job, I simply create my own job. It's much easier to expend our energy doing positive things to obtain what we want out of life, than it is to complain about how unfair the situation is. Or complain about how unlucky we are.

Going with the flow is just another way of saying accept what life brings us. If we are confronted with a situation that we can do nothing about, then we accept it, we flow with it, and we move on to the next thing. Otherwise we end up being a depressed mess.

And I have found that it's a lot easier to get things done in life when I feel positive. Somehow, that attitude opens up a world of possibilities that being negative never opens up for us.

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