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, July 13, 2020

Lives do Matter

One thing I know about the twelve-step programs is that I have never run into racism – at least anything that was overt enough to pay attention to. The one positive thing that one picks up on in the drug world is that we deal with people of all races and nationalities. Our priority is not hatred toward others, it's finding enough drugs and alcohol to keep us out of our minds. And I've never heard anyone say I'm not going to buy drugs from that person because they are brown or yellow or black. All we addicts care about is keeping our head full of drugs or other substances that will help us reach the chemical balance we're attempting to achieve. We don't care what color the salesperson is, if we want to get high we will buy it.

I bring this up today because a lot of youngsters – even some in my family – pay a lot of attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. But what they don't understand because of their immaturity is that racism in its many forms has been around for a long time. The stuff that's going on right now, particularly the political aspects where politicians are using black Lives Matter as a way to hopefully win an election. And once they get their vote, they'll probably show them the way back to the ghetto.

While I'm not totally sure about who is responsible for the idea of getting rid of the police we all got to see the disaster that occurred when the police weren't allowed to enforce the law and let the protesters govern themselves. That part of the city turned into an extension of the city dump, and something like three or four people were murdered. I think that is one of the best civics lessons I've ever seen. We can all speculate about what will happen if no police are around.  But when we see this radical social experiment in action, we probably have a pretty good answer as to what will happen if this leftist view comes into effect.

I believe that those who fail in life always look for someone else to blame their failures on. And that includes us white people, brown people, black people, and any other color you want to pick. But I'm also a person who believes that those who have that worldview are not looking for equality in terms of opportunity. Because opportunity exists for everyone if you're open to reaching out and embracing it. I believe that when people use their color as an excuse for their lack of success the thing they really are looking for is not equal opportunity but equal outcomes. And, of course, the radical leftists among us are willing to play that game with them by offering them free everything.

But my belief is that while black lives matter, so does every other life on the planet. A lot of people talk about "institutional" racism. And I'm sure that institutional racism does exist. But it doesn't just exist in our country among white people. I have visited other areas where so-called institutional racism existed. I have been subjected to so-called institutional racism among the Cubans in Miami, the Hawaiians and Japanese in Honolulu, but other than remembering it, I didn't pay a lot of attention. One thing about people of different races is that people tend to live among and socialize with people who are mostly like themselves. And personally, I think that's okay. Because people of different races mostly share the same cultural and religious values, and many other beliefs that a lot of us don't understand.

In closing, I believe that we should bury our hatred toward others and give them the same courtesies we would give people in our own culture. Will that ever happen? Yes, in a while.

After all, some 75,000,000 people voted a black man into office in 2008. While I wasn't one of them, it demonstrates that with the right motivation and opportunities a man of any color can be voted into the highest office in our land.

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