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.

Friday, July 10, 2020


I found myself in a supermarket line, and doing my part by staying six feet away from the closest person. But I couldn't help but eavesdrop on a conversation between a couple who was standing close together, probably married, in the line ahead of me.

"I'll really be happy when things get back to normal," the man said to the woman. And while I believe his sentiments were genuine, I felt like telling him that there probably would never be anything like the "normal" that he was referring to – a world in which there was no such thing as the coronavirus.

Because the reality is that this so-called pandemic is probably going to change the world forever. At least in terms of how we deal with hygiene, travel, entertainment, education, sports, and everything else you can name. And while there have been other deadly pandemics in the world, reality is probably that none of us have ever dealt with anything like this. Our world has been turned upside down. We can no longer safely go to social events where people are close, like nightclubs and bars, AA meetings, sporting events, and so on.

And I think many people are reaching the end of their patience. I've read in the news that people have assaulted one another because one would be wearing a mask and the other wouldn't. And while I was one of those who said they would never wear a mask, I now find myself with a whole case of them in my bedroom and make sure that I wear one whenever I'm out in public or around others. While I still don't feel like wearing it, reality is that how I feel about it doesn't make a lot of difference. Science is science. And from what I understand from science is that the coronavirus is transmitted when it becomes airborne, as it is when someone coughs close to another person.

So I often go on and on about how the only thing we can expect in life is change. And the change may be positive, and this virus will disappear. Or the change may be negative. And the virus will become worse. Whatever occurs, we are going to stay more emotionally healthy if we accept the idea that all we can expect in life is that things will be different day-by-day. Maybe not radically. But still, things will be different and life will change for all of us.

And the only real way to maintain happiness is to expect change and then we won't be spiraling into depression when things are all of a sudden different.