Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Helping Others

A friend sent a text today, asking if I'd be willing to advise his friend, who's operating a recovery home in the Midwest.  (I leave names out to protect anonymity.)

I told him to text his number and I'd be happy to talk with him.  Anyway, he did and we talked.

It seems like the biggest obstacle for non-government programs is how to raise operating capital.  And this man's situation is pretty much the same.  He has 42 clients and is supporting them mostly with donations from the small Midwest community where he operates.

When he was at TLC many years ago, we weren't as developed as we are today.  When he was with us we operated one or two businesses.  But today, we have half-a-dozen small businesses that generate about half of our operating capital.  The other half normally comes from service fees we charge our clients.

We are State Licensed general contractors.  We also paint homes, remodel and roof houses, install air conditioning and do other types of home maintenance. We also provide labor for sporting events and festivals.  In November and December we sell Christmas Trees in Central Phoenix.

The one thing I pointed out to the man is that every area is different.  For example, our City of Mesa has over half a million residents.  Where he lives is in a relatively small town in Oklahoma that has 17,000 residents.  So, he naturally has to be quite creative in finding money raising projects for his clients.

He'll likely have to figure out how to raise money working more with agriculture and ranching projects or in other labor intensive businesses related to farming.  I believe there is always work to be done if  a person's willing to do it.  There's always landscaping to be done, trash to be hauled, houses to be cleaned, cars to be detailed.  If one looks long and carefully, there's always someone who needs help with something.

In closing I say that if we're in a business helping others improve their lives somehow, we'll find a way to do it.

Click here to email John

Sunday, January 16, 2022

31 years

During December of 1990 - and the early part of January 1991 - I was full of alcohol and drugs.  At 51, I'd come to a fork in the road where I didn't know what to do with my life.  I was also homeless and shoplifting everyday to survive.

I was strung out on heroin, alcohol and anything else that would change my level of consciousness.  But I also knew that if I didn't make some changes I'd either be back in prison, in a hospital, or dead.  So I decided to make some changes.

January 13, 1991, I went into EVAC , a detox center in Mesa, Arizona and have been sober ever since.  It was the wisest decision I'd ever made.

I stayed in that program for 11 days and was determined to do whatever it took to stay sober.  I followed all their directions and left there for a halfway house, where I stayed for a year.  

After leaving there I went back to work at my old job and worked on the side setting up my own halfway house.  I planned to operate it more as an avocation than a vocation.  But so many people started seeking help that it became my full-time job.

Plus it helped me stay sober for 31 years.

Click here to email John

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Kindness

I read something on the internet the other day that I really believe we should all try and live by.

It was a quote from the oldest World War II veteran who died January 3, at 112.  He was believed to be the oldest living veteran of that war.

He was asked by a reporter on his birthday why did he think he'd lived to be the oldest veteran from World War II?

He replied that he believed one key to his longevity was that he tried to always be "nice to people."  Even though he was black, and the service was segregated while he was enlisted, he said he just ignored the bias and prejudice that confronted minorities during his service.  Nothing stopped him from being nice to others.

And I think there's a lot to what he says. I know that I never get into trouble with anyone if I'm nice to them and kind to them.  My stress level stays down and I'm normally at peace.

I'm a strong believer in the law of Karma; that what we put out into the world is what we get back in one way or the other.

Live in kindness because it works.

Click here to email John

Monday, January 10, 2022

Down with Covid

After two years of living and working in the midst of those suffering from Covid-19, I never contracted the virus.  I did adhere to CDC guidelines and get the first two shots.  Then, when it became available, I got the booster shot.

Periodically during the past two years I would get a rapid test, one that gives quick results.  But my tests were always good.  So, I was going merrily on my way, thinking I was almost immune.  In fact, during the past two years I took three trips out of the country; one to Panama and two to Mexico.

Then, last Wednesday, I came down with a mild cold in the afternoon.  Since I rarely get colds I thought it was kind of unusual and so stayed home from the office the next day.  Just spent last Thursday resting.  I had to go to the office last Friday to sign paperwork but only stayed until noon.   Last Saturday I was planning to go to work but had someone give me a rapid test to make sure my cold wasn't Covid.

Well, much to my surprise I came up positive and have quarantined myself every since.  I remember when Covid first hit and we all were on quarantine for two weeks.  That was pretty boring stuff.  It's kind of like being in a nice prison is the best analogy I can produce.

However, I look at it like an obligation to protect as many people as possible and not spread the disease further.  Fortunately, what I have feels more like a mild cold.  My temperature stays within 1-2 points of normal and I have no body aches.  I do sleep more than usual, but other than that I feel pretty okay.

Other than being quarantined.

Click here to email John


Friday, January 7, 2022

Success isn't Material Things

In the nearly 30 years TLC has been in existence we've had thousands of addicts and alcoholics graduate our program.  And many of them have become quite successful after leaving.

Many of them have married and are raising children.  Others have gone to college and gotten degrees.  In fact, one recently sent me a video of him receiving his Doctorate.   Another graduate has a quality remodeling business in a nearby state that he has operated for several years. He also is married and has teenage children.  I'm proud of their success.

I know of many others who are succeeding in life.  I only mention these two examples, because I periodically am in contact with them.  And they are handling their success quite well and are examples to those around them - especially to other addicts.

I bring this up today because in the thirty years I've stayed sober I have also become financially successful just by saving my money and making long term investments in real estate.  At 82, I work six days a week, stay healthy, and help others have an opportunity to achieve recovery and find a new way of living.

In spite of my success I don't live lavishly.  I live in an average 2200 square foot home.  My one  luxury is a 2021 S Model Tesla that I lease.  I buy most of my clothing at Walmart, Kohl's, or Old Navy.  I don't find much satisfaction in luxury items, though  I can afford them.

I've had associates ask me why I don't buy a bigger house or get this or that model of fancy car.  But to feel good about myself I don't need those things. I tell them that people aren't going to like me any better if I have a 5,000 square foot house, wear expensive watches, and buy my clothes from Nordstrom's. 

I'd rather invest in three or four personal vacations a year.  Plus every summer I take about 25 of my family members to the beach in San Diego.  I invest in good experiences.

And I suggest to those who leave the program and become successful to remember where they came from. I ask them to show gratitude for their success and be generous to others. Because helping others is one of the great satisfactions in life.

Click here to email John


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

More of the Same

few days into the New Year, but somehow it feels kind of like last year.

What reminds me most of the old one is the pandemic.  While it seemed to be slowing down a bit in the last quarter, all of a sudden it’s starting to ramp up again.

Our program hadn’t had more than one or two cases at a time.  And now we’ve had enough cases that we’re asking everyone to mask up.

And of course we have a few hardheaded clients who won’t cooperate without some persuasion.  But over the past two years we’ve learned how to convince them that quarantine is in their best interests.

Our job here is to teach clients to do whatever is best for their recovery.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy 2022

I know that when I walk out my front door tomorrow the world will look pretty much like it did this morning.  Politicians will be fighting over things that don't mean much.  The economy will be going one way or the other, either up or down. Disease or viruses might take more of my friends.  Many people will come to our doors to try to get sober.  And some actually will get on the path.

But on this last day of the year I look back to kind of evaluate what happened or didn't happen during the previous 12 months.  And it seems to me that this past year was one of the strangest of my eight + decades on this planet.  It seems as if most of the world was covered with a blanket of anxiety because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then the Omicron that followed it.

There was a lot of buzz in the media and internet about what was going to happen next in regard to the pandemic and where it was going to happen.  Depending on one's political persuasions it seems that most anything could happen.  After all, when Covid-19 first sprung into view no one was expecting it.

If we had the time to waste we could find all kinds of opinions.  Some thought it was a biological Armageddon that would presage the end of the world.  Others thought - even some of my family - that it was nothing real, that it was a political plot to control every moment of and movement of our lives.  Some even refused to wear a mask.

But, I plan to live in this moment and expect the best out of life no matter what it brings..  I'll soon have 32 years sober.  And will face whatever issues that come along with acceptance, probably the most important word I learned since I got sober January 13, 1991. I learned that with  acceptance the battle is half won - I just have to wait for the solution to present itself.

I wish all my family and friends the best in 2022.  Health.  Prosperity. And Happiness.

Click here to email John