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, December 26, 2019


So here we are once more on the cusp of a new year. And it seems like January of 2019 just kicked off yesterday.

I don't know if I accomplished anything this year, though I did complete a divorce. Which was a relief from the anxiety of court appearances and wondering how much my legal bills were going to be for the next month.

I've never made New Year's resolutions. I'm not sure why I don't engage in that tradition. But when I got sober I made one big resolution: to live the best lifestyle I could. And I knew that I didn't have to wait till the beginning of the year to kick it off.

When I got sober almost 29 years ago I made a resolution to live the best life I could. And for me, the best life I could live is one where I was fit and healthy in all ways. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. Spiritually.

So I did things to maintain my sobriety and recovery by going to twelve-step meetings. After I had a year sober I started a side business running a recovery program while working a 9-to-5 job. However, circumstances changed and I ended up having to leave my 9-to-5 job to run the recovery program full-time because it grew so rapidly it required my full-time attention.

But I did more than just go to meetings and build a business. I began reading one to two books a month. I got involved in weightlifting and playing racquetball at the YMCA, a gymnasium I used for nearly 20 years until they sold the building. I also took a course in transcendental meditation, a practice I did for about 15 years until I switched over to mindfulness meditation. Meditation was a practice that was so good for me that I eventually obtained a certificate as a meditation instructor.

The picture I'm trying to paint here is one of being involved in constant improvement. I guess it's all right to set goals or make New Year's resolutions. However, that hasn't been my best way to get things done. I believe that we improve our lives by getting involved in something that we can do one day at a time, bit by bit, inching along with progress and not necessarily hurrying toward a goal where we stop moving when we reach our destination. I believe that a well-lived life is one where we can continue to grow, where we can be a benefit to the community and give others the opportunity to improve their lives.

I'm not saying don't make a resolution because you're not going to listen anyway. For if you're an addict like I am, you'll learn your own lessons as you try different things. But for your sake and the sake of society do something positive – no matter what it is – because whatever you do positive will contribute to us living in a better world.

When we're out there living positive lives other addicts and alcoholics might notice us and want to follow our example. What better gift could you give the world?

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