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, November 10, 2020


 Being angry is probably one of the most destructive things we can do to our mind and body.

This comes up as a topic for me today because I met a lot of people who were unhappy about the results of the election. And one of the worst things for an alcoholic or drug addict to do is to carry around anger about things they have no power over.  And even if they do have power over something and get their way, so what?  Even if we get our way or if we are right that's a very small victory in the scheme of things.  While we might feel a small sense of satisfaction because we won an argument or switched someone over to our point of view that doesn't mean that something new is not going to come up tomorrow. And we'll find our self pissed off again.   

So what's the answer when we're upset? Well here again comes that boring old word that we learned in 12 step meetings straight out of the big book: acceptance.  Other than maybe the word gratitude, acceptance is the most powerful word in the book in my opinion.

Because when I can find acceptance with whatever goes on I don't get angry and I don't carry resentments around with me all day. When we accept any person, place, or situation  just as it is then we have no reason to get upset.  Instead, we can be the observer and maybe even learn something from what is going on.

Of course there are some things that happen on this planet that are totally unacceptable and worthy of our anger. But things like that don't come along very often. I'm talking about if we witness someone mistreating a child, abusing an animal, or doing something else that is outside the boundaries of a civilized society. At that point we can use our anger to intervene and do our best to change the situation.

But most things fall in the category – in my experience – of not being worthy of our anger or resentment. And that's when we can exercise our acceptance.

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