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, July 22, 2020

Man vs. Machine

One thing we realize after we are sober for a while is that we don't have to react to everything that goes wrong by picking up a drink or drug. But just because we got sober doesn't mean that we won't have a reaction when things go wrong. Even if we meditate 30 minutes a day, we don't turn into peaceful monks who love everybody, people who can't get frustrated or angry, and who are always at peace with what goes on in the world.

What we do learn when we're sober for a while is that we don't have to react when things don't always go our way. And I bring this up because that's something that I've learned this last month on a deeper level.

It all started when my computer crashed about six weeks ago and I purchased a new one from Best Buy, which I later found out was a serious mistake. The new computer, which cost about $1500 for a desktop, a Hewlett-Packard model, a brand which has always served me well. My laptop is a Hewlett-Packard. My printer is a Hewlett-Packard. And over the years I've had a series of them because they're  basic and functional.  The only reason I ever replace them is because a newer and faster model will come out – one with more features and more storage. So I pass my old one to a member of my family and they usually get a year or more use out of it.

Anyway, this model that I bought has been a nightmare. At this time of year of my paperwork doesn't require a lot of my time. But this year I'm having difficulty getting things done because I keep hiring someone look at it and figure out why it keeps crashing. Best Buy has a repair group called the Geek Squad that supposedly has brilliant youngsters who fix things really quick. So I went down to the store and made an appointment to get my computer to work, but found that they couldn't get to it for at least a week. And my workflow is such that I need to get things done right now. Not later.

They did tell me that I could go on their website and and it would guide me through the problems I was facing.  And I could probably get my problems resolved much faster that way. Well, that didn't work very well either. Because after spending $1500 for a machine I figured that they would be happy to fix it for me with the idea that they would get more business from me in the future. But they were so blasé and indifferent that I made a commitment right then that I would find another retailer who wasn't doing as well as they were who would be motivated to help me solve my problems.

So, I've been working around the problems with the computer but am about to the end of my relationship with it. I've hired a few freelancers to work with it and they keep it running for a while. But even after 30 years of being sober I sometimes get visions of taking the computer to the top of the stairs and drop kicking it over the rail. I know that's immature and that it won't solve my problem. But, it would provide a certain amount of gratification.

But anger is something that I got over with pretty much during the first years of my sobriety and I want to stay that way – living without anger. And frustration? Well I guess that's just part of being a human being - whether I like it or not.

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