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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Happy 46 years sober, Ralph H.

The longer my sponsor stays sober the more planning I have to put into obtaining a chip for him.

Last year, he celebrated 45 – years. And since TLC sells twelve-step books, chips, and cards, I was able to walk downstairs from my office and get him a 45 – year chip and a card to go along with it. This year, though, I went down and learned that 45 years was as high as our inventory goes.

So, I had to get on the telephone and search around the valley until I could find a 46 – year chip. Luckily, I was able to locate one near the Alano club in Scottsdale. In fact, the clerk told me that he had a range of choices in the 46 – year chip selection. Now, at least, I know where to look when I need to pick up his 47 – year chip.

The bad thing about this year, is that I won't be able to present it to him at a meeting because of the coronavirus. Because both he and I are senior citizens, we do our best to stay out of crowds and to distance ourselves from others. Instead, the day before his birthday on the 24th, he and I are going to go to a Mexican restaurant and have lunch. We figured that that's a compromise that won't be too dangerous.

It was always an honor, though, to present him a chip in front of a large group because he had been sober long before many of the people in the room had even been born. But once again, I realize that we have to practice the principles that we learned in the program – and that is that the only thing we can count on in life is change. And the 12 step programs teach us that if we want to remain emotionally healthy and sober we must understand that change is the only thing in life that we can really count on.

Even if it is sometimes painful.

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