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, March 5, 2020


I'm attending a mindfulness meditation meeting last night when I heard a surprising message: the beloved teacher who has taught the class for several years has come down with a serious illness.

While the disease is potentially fatal, he probably will survive because of modern medical treatments.

Because mindfulness stems from Buddhism, and one of the tenets of Buddhism is that all things are impermanent, it shouldn't surprise me at all that even our teachers become sick. But they do.

We in the Western world view life somewhat differently from those who come from the East, where death is a normal and accepted part of everyday life.  Because of that it's more of a surprise when we lose someone to death or we hear that someone has a potentially fatal illness.

The teacher – a middle-aged man – seems an example of acceptance. And those who've been around him for many years don't treat him any differently. I guess the idea that things are going to change in his life one way or the other was probably a surprise to me more than anyone else.

I've read somewhere that older people are much happier and satisfied with life then are much younger people. And for a long time I couldn't figure that out. But the reality is that those of us who are well past middle-aged do realize that life doesn't go on forever. And because of that we maybe enjoy every moment that we have as long as we can.

Whatever happens, I wish him well, because he has given me any insights into life. And I hope he'll be around to give me many more.

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