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.

Monday, February 3, 2020


When our clients complain about the obstacles in their lives I give them some wisdom I was given a long time ago. And that wisdom is simply this: all we can count on in life is change.

And sometimes change is good.  And sometimes it's not so good. But regardless, it's the one constant in our lives that we can depend on. And, I believe, change is mostly a good thing.

This topic came up for me today because someone was complaining about their iPhone 7, about how poorly it performed compared to the latest models of iPhones. That's when I pulled out a bit of trivia that I use when people have luxury issues like which iPhone or iPad or other gadget is the best.

I tell them about when I was a child back in the nineteen forties when we didn't even have a telephone in the house. In fact, the only thing we had that could be called technology was a radio. And what came out of it was pretty limited and scratchy. Yet that radio was the latest technology. I remember that the family used to listen to boxing matches, ballgames, the Amos and Andy show, fibber McGee and Molly, the Falcon, Family Theater and the news. Of course there were other offerings. But those are the ones I remember.

Television hadn't been invented yet, it didn't come along until around the nineteen fifties and it was the most amazing thing to hit the neighborhood I lived in. The first families to own one were very popular. And it was not uncommon for them to have a living room full of visitors watching a little tiny box with a black and white screen and a very limited program selection. And, of course, today it's not unusual for someone to have a television screen that covers half of the wall.

And change keeps marching on. The other day I was surprised to hear some teenagers talking about Facebook being a site for old people, that they had other types of social media that they preferred over Facebook. And me? I never have had a Facebook page nor am I interested in getting one. I realize that I'm really out of the loop when it comes to social media, because I'm too busy as it is to keep updating information that's read by people that I mostly don't even know.

So how does all this relate to recovery? I think that if we can accept that change is inevitable, then we aren't surprised when bad things happen in our lives. Nor are we surprised when good things occur in our lives. And when we can accept change and wrap our heads around it then we're not so likely to react negatively and revert to using drugs or alcohol.

Change is on the march toward all of us. People will leave our lives unexpectedly. We may get our dream job. We may even hit the lottery, though that's a big maybe. We'll find ourselves growing older every day no matter what kind of exercise we do nor what kind of vitamins we take. But if we can expect change and learn to welcome it, life will run much smoother and our recovery will be much more solid.

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