Sunday, April 28, 2024

My Gratitude

You know, gratitude's like that warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone hands you a freshly baked cookie outta nowhere. It's like, dang, someone thought about me, and that's pretty cool.

I mean, think about it, there's a whole lot of things in life we could whine and complain about. Like, my coffee's too cold, my Wi-Fi's acting up again, or why's the line at the grocery store always so long? But then, smack dab in the middle of all that fuss, there's gratitude, just chillin' there like a breath of fresh air.

It's not about ignoring the bad stuff or pretending everything's perfect. Nah, it's about takin' a sec to appreciate the good stuff, big or small. Like when your friend shoots you a text just to say hi, or when the sun decides to peek out from behind the clouds on a rainy day.

Gratitude's kinda like a muscle, you know? The more you flex it, the stronger it gets. And when you start noticing all the little things to be thankful for, it's like you're puttin' on gratitude goggles. Suddenly, the world looks a whole lot brighter, and you realize, hey, maybe things ain't so bad after all.

So, next time someone holds the door for you or throws you a smile, give 'em a nod of appreciation. And when you're tucking' into bed at night, take a sec to think about three things that made your day awesome. Trust me, gratitude's like the secret sauce of happiness, and it's right there for the taking.

Click here to email John

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Acceptance: the Guiding Light

In our journey of addiction recovery, acceptance emerges as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards healing and redemption. Within the framework of the 12-step program, acceptance is not merely a passive acknowledgment of one's circumstances; it is an active embrace of reality, a surrender to the truths that pave the way to liberation from the chains of addiction.

At its core, addiction thrives in denial, weaving a tapestry of self-delusion that blinds us to the gravity of our condition. However, the first step towards recovery necessitates the courageous act of acceptance—acknowledging our powerlessness over alcohol or drugs and the unmanageability of life.

This pivotal moment marks the genesis of transformation, laying the foundation for profound change. In the crucible of acceptance, we addicts and alcoholics shed the armor of denial, confronting the wreckage of our past and the chaos of our present with unwavering honesty. It is an act of radical self-love, embracing our flaws and vulnerabilities without judgment or condemnation. Through acceptance, we unearth the buried pain and trauma that fuel our addictive behaviors, illuminating the path to healing and reconciliation.

Furthermore, acceptance fosters humility—an essential virtue in the journey of recovery. By relinquishing the illusion of control, we open ourselves to the wisdom and guidance of a higher power, embarking on a spiritual odyssey towards wholeness and serenity. This surrender is not an admission of defeat but a declaration of faith—a profound affirmation of the transformative power of grace and redemption.

Moreover, acceptance cultivates resilience, empowering us to navigate the ebb and flow of cravings, triggers, and setbacks with equanimity and grace. Rather than resisting or suppressing our emotions, we learn to embrace them with compassionate awareness, finding solace in the realization that discomfort is but a temporary bump on the road to recovery.

In conclusion, acceptance serves as a cornerstone of 12-step recovery, illuminating the path from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom. It is a sacred journey of self-discovery and redemption—a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of grace. As we addicts and alcoholics embrace acceptance, we embark on a pilgrimage of healing, reclaiming our lives with courage, humility, and grace.

Click here to email John

Monday, April 22, 2024


I was at a 12-step meeting last Sunday where the topic was responsibility.  And it was the perfect subject.

Because before I entered the program I had no sense of responsibility for my addiction to alcohol and drugs.  It was so easy for me to blame everything and everyone outside of myself.  I was always feeling sorry for poor me.  

If people just understood what I'd been through as a child and a teenager they'd understand why I drank and drugged myself into oblivion on a daily basis.  My mission in life was to stay completely out of my mind and I successfully did that for around 40 years.

I first began to slowly change my thinking when people stopped having anything to do with me.  My family. My friends. Everyone, No one - including myself - understood why my life was on such a downward spiral.

But the one thing that finally changed me was the pain I was living with.  I couldn't get drunk or high enough for it to go away. During my addiction I lost everything over and over.  Marriages. Businesses. Cars. Jobs. My health. The list went on and on. And every time something bad happened it was another reason for me to pick up a drug or a bottle.

But things changed the day I accepted responsibility for what I was doing to myself.  I spent a few hours one day in 1991 and asked myself did I want to live or die.  I chose to live and went to a detox.  After that I went to a halfway house where I spent a year working on myself.

And I look back today at the moment I decided to change, and realize that was when I accepted responsibility. Today I live a blessed life and it all happened when I made that decision 33 years ago and became responsible for my behavior.

Click here to email John

Friday, April 19, 2024

Why get Sober?

 In the 32 years  of TLC's existence literally thousands of clients have passed through our doors.  When they first arrive most of them are enthusiastic about changing ;their lives.  

And while some are brought to us by parole or probation officers - or family members - most of them come of their own volition. They're tired of battling their disease.  Tired of waking up sick and needing a drink or a fix. Tired of being shunned by their loved ones. So they come to us for help because we let them in, even if they're broke and without resources, and we provide food. housing and even medical assistance in many cases. Yet even with all of this support, about half of them leave within a week without paying us a dime.  So that tells us they just aren't ready, they still think they can successfully use their drug of choice.

It's sad to see them leave without taking a chance on a better life. They throw away an opportunity to restore their relationships, their health, their dignity, and self-respect.  And I wonder for a moment why they don't use logic and common sense and take advantage of the opportunity they've been given.

But then I stop and think of my own battles with drugs and alcohol and I had no logic or common sense about any of it.  I was the complete hedonist.  And I only changed when life became too painful.

So all I can do is stay sober and hope that they reach level of pain that drives them to the doors of recovery - either at our program or some other.  We only can know the blessings of recovery by being totally immersed in it.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


 "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today..."  Big Book

Probably the word acceptance is one that we hear most often in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Although one might argue that gratitude's right up there with it.

Whatever the case, acceptance has an important place in the lives of those of us in recovery and especially for me.

Because until I accept what's going on in my life, whatever challenges I'm facing, there's not really a path to a solution.  But bingo, as soon as I accept whatever it is that I'm facing then I can set about resolving it.

My DNA tells me to fight and resist everything until I get my way.  But that old thinking pattern is what used to get me into a lot of trouble.  It took me many years and lots of internal battles before I realized that most of the things I used to think were important weren't such big deals after all.

And as soon as I changed my thinking, my life became much easier and less stressful.  In fact, these days, it's pretty easy for me to analyze whatever I'm facing and decide whether it's worth fighting about in short order.  Once I cross the bridge into acceptance, then potential solutions begin presenting themselves.  Sometimes the answers come to me while I'm sleeping or just daydreaming and not even looking for a solution.

For me, there's almost something magical about acceptance because it's the quickest shortcut to serenity.

Click here to email John

Saturday, April 13, 2024

A reason for Gratitude

 Being grateful that I live in a secure and safe country is on my gratitude list today.

At times like these, when our country is on the brink of another war in the Middle East, I am grateful that I live in a country that is secure and has the power to defend itself.

No matter the political persuasion one follows, at times like this I believe we should rally behind our political leaders and give our military our support. This is no time for us to get involved in partisan bickering.

Governing a country of any size is an overwhelming responsibility. Since this thing with Iran and Israel started I've talked with many who say that we should do this or that and get it over with. Like we should leave let Israel fend for itself. Or we should bomb Iran. But people who talk like this don't understand the immense damage that can be done in a war, of the lives that can be destroyed on both sides when people are going at each other with weapons.

I am by no means a liberal. I believe that everybody should earn their own way and be responsible for themselves. I believe we have a right to bear arms. I believe we have a right to earn as much money as we have the ability to earn. To practice the religion of our choice. I believe we should help the sick. The elderly. The mentally ill. But I don't believe the government should get into our lives and tell us how to live or spend our money or what to believe.

So when I think of what I'm grateful for one of the things that's in the top 10 for me is the fact that I'm an American.

And even though our country is not perfect, I believe that it compares favorably with most of the more advanced countries in the world. And for that I have gratitude.

Click here to email John

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What we Do

 A while back I received an email from a client who was here 15 years ago, maybe longer.

I was surprised to hear from him and happy to find that he was doing well.

He wrote to tell me that he had retired from his job with the State of Arizona, probably the one that he went to when he left TLC many years ago.

Actually I was sorry to see him go. He was one of those guys who maintained himself. Kind of like someone who worked for a large corporation. Always well-dressed, neat and clean. Serious about his recovery,

In any event, he wrote to say how he was was grateful for the time he spent with TLC. He said the experience changed his life. He'd been sober for many years. Had a nice home in Scottsdale, good relationships, and was thoroughly enjoying a sober life.

While his email gave us a lot of credit for his recovery, reality is that he did all the work himself. We get letters all the time from people who give us credit for their recovery. But the reality is that all TLC provides is a framework for people to work on sobriety, healthy living habits, and a different outlook on life. If they are motivated we 100% guarantee them that they will stay sober for life. While that may seem to be a brash statement, those who stay sober and follow our guidelines always succeed because we give good them continual good information about recovery.

In any event, it's nice when you return home and hear that the good you did 15 years ago is still bearing fruit today. His message shows that the program works if we're willing to put in the effort.

Click here to email John

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Promise Four

"We will know peace" Promise Four from the big book.

Before we escaped the bonds of alcohol and other substances how many of us truly knew what peace meant?

When we were out there drinking and doing our thing peace was the last thing we expected to encounter. Most of us awoke in the morning and confronted the problem of dealing with our addiction. And that challenge was way on the other end of the spectrum from peace. Until we could get enough of our favorite substance in our system, life was a series of challenges. Going through hell to get the right chemical balance so we could make it through the rest of our day. In fact our lives were so chaotic, that if something like peace did show up we would wonder what was wrong. Was the world coming to an end?

As you will note, Promise Four says "we will know peace." It did not promise that we will have peace. It simply states that we will "know" peace.

I believe that this promise means something more in the nature that we will know peace from time to time. And after years of recovery peace will become more of a way of life as time progresses.

I know that as time goes on, and as I arrive at my 26th year of sobriety in January, peace is with me more often than not. And I believe that the further we go along in sobriety the more often we will experience peace or live in a state of peace. We finally realize that the best place in life we can be is in a state of acceptance. Which in my opinion, is where we find peace.

We come to realize that there are not too many big deals in life. And that if we calmly accept whatever challenges we face we will enter a state of peace.

Click here to email John

Thursday, April 4, 2024


This evening a long-time TLC resident is in a local hospital fighting for his life.  He's connected to a respirator and being fed through tubes.  Reports from a family member are that if he does survive the massive stroke he suffered yesterday morning he'll likely be bedridden for life.  He can't talk.  One side of his body is  paralyzed and he's totally dependent upon the medical staff.

I'm leaving his name out of this blog to protect his anonymity.  But those of us who've known him for  the past 17 years he's been with us are praying that he's not in pain and that he has a full recovery - though the medical staff is not very optimistic about his prospects for recovery.

He's one of many TLC clients who've made TLC their home.  When he came here he found a sanctuary where he could stay sober and practice his recovery with like-minded people.  He's worked around addicts for 17 years and has the support of those of us who want a life of sobriety.

He's been an example for those of us who want to stay sober

Click here to email John

Monday, April 1, 2024

Share the Light

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”  Buddha

The above quote reminds us to carry the message to others - to share the joy of recovery with newcomers who need our help.

Most of you with time in recovery do exactly this. But many in early recovery may think that because they have only a week or two they have nothing to offer. But that’s a fallacy.

If one has only a week, that’s seven times as long as someone just walking in the door, confused and lost. Our duty is share our light with them. Tell them it can be done.

Often newcomers see members who have the wisdom of thousands of days of sobriety and are intimidated by such success. They can’t relate.

In my own case I had just entered detox and heard a speaker who had ten years. Somehow I couldn’t connect. But later a rough character – with only six months – served as an example I could follow.

Never think you have nothing to offer. Your days, weeks, or months of experience will resonate with a newcomer who needs someone to lead them on the path.

Light their candle