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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Learning Step-by Step

In my 81 years on the planet I've never experienced a year like this one.

A worldwide pandemic that so far has killed thousands.  Political infighting that rivals anything I've ever seen in many elections.  Violence in the streets that politicians don't have the courage to deal with. People suffering because they've been out of work, unable to travel, and even unable to socialize with close friends and family without danger of contracting a life-threatening disease.

Yet for some reason I believe that we're all going to come through this – though it may take another year or so – as better people.  As people who faced tough challenges and came out on the other side as stronger and more grateful people.

But it wasn't always that way for me.  At one time, before I got sober almost 30 years ago, this would've been the perfect excuse for me to find enough alcohol and drugs to get out of my mind.  And there's only one thing that I attribute my current state of mind to: and that's because I was able to get sober in 1991.  Once that happened, I was able to face all kinds of challenges, challenges that at one time would have sent me back to the liquor store or the dope house.

One of the things we learn in the 12-step programs is that life is not always a bed of roses.  We know that when times are tough we have a fellowship that we can turn to that will guide us in the right direction.  If we're working the right kind of program we have a sponsor to whom we can relate our anxieties and fears.  We learn that life is kind of like the stock market – sometimes things are up and sometimes they're down. 

And we learn that the important thing is how we react to the ups and downs.

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